I absolutely love the characters from the 1960’s and the plot twist of who was really who when it fast-forwarded to 2003 was the best part. This author did me proud! I am not one who loves to read romantic novels, but I am hooked on this author after Me Before You and this book. You become immersed in the world of the 1960’s love affair between Jenny and Tony “Boot” following their heartbreaking story until you are thrust forward to 2003 and meet Ellie. I was not found of Ellie at first, but grew to feel for her and then want her to have a happy ending after all that she does to find Jenny and Tony in 2003. The trouble Jenny and “Boot” have between them makes your heartache as they struggle so many time with missed chances of happiness, but they find their way despite this. Ellie is the other woman, where “Boot” was the other man, and is confronted by the woman whose husband she is having an affair with. That was the turning point for me, when Ellie realized what she was doing and got herself back together. The characters were so real and faced realistic problems both in the 1960’s and in 2003 and that made it such a great love story to read. I am still relishing in the world that was created in the 1960’s, because you grew to love those characters flaws and all. The fast-forward to 2003 didn’t give much chance to flesh out the side characters, and that was the only downfall. You had feelings about the side characters in the 1960’s because the world was created for them and that love story. Ellie’s friends are not fleshed out in the same depth, because they don’t need to be, she is just there to help the story finish playing out.
Characters (more book summary):
Jennifer “Jenny” Stirling = married 4 years and no children at the time of her car accident, has amnesia from the car accident. Has a daughter, Esme, and tries to change her life to fit in and then to be her after the accident.
Laurence “Larry” Stirling = Jenny’s husband, big wig in mining, has mines in Africa, values appearances, aware of Jenny’s affair but keeps it from her after the accident until she confronts him about it.
Dr. Hargreaves = Jenny’s physician after the accident, tells Larry that Jenny has no brain injury from the accident but may not be herself, prescribes pills for Jenny to get through daily life after the accident when she has a hard time fitting in
Mrs. Cordoza = Stirlings’ maid, becomes a friend to Jenny after the accident, had a mean husband and can sympathize with Jenny’s feelings, helped to her pack when before she had the car accident
Moira Parker = Larry’s secretary, keeps secrets for Larry, has feelings for Larry, was Larry’s mistress for a brief period of time, and betrays him when he demotes her to take on a new secretary and mistress
Yvonne Moncrieff = Jenny’s friend, dry/sardonic manner, married to Francis, has kids after Jenny’s accident, keen on appearances, shows how 1960’s women valued appearances and were willing to let certain things slide to stay in a comfortable lifestyle
Violet Fairclough = Jenny’s friend, married to Bill, has several children, and is not a fan of Bill flirting with Jenny but puts up with it since it will not go anywhere
Dominic = high up in the horse guard, married to Anne, both attend social functions that the Stirlings, Moncrieffs, and Faircloughs attend
Anthony “Tony” O’Hare = had been an overseas correspondent, got Yellow Fever, interviewed Laurence Stirling before Jenny’s accident, Jenny calls him “Boots”, has a son named Phillip, goes to cover the United Nations, and potentially the Congo during the 1960’s. Works for The Nation
Reggie “Bear” = Yvonne’s cousin, dating Maureen, flirts with Jenny after the car accident, nicknamed
Felipe = singer, worked at Alberto’s, dies in a car accident, Jenny knew him before she got amnesia, a friend to Tony
Don Franklin = Tony’s boss at The Nation, takes him in after a heartbreak from Jenny
Ellie Haworth = having a relationship with a married man, works at The Nation, finds “B’s” letter and contacts Jenny and searches to find “B” and plans to use it as a feature on how love letters have changed through out the course of time
John Armore = having an affair with Ellie, married to Jess, author, going to Barbados for holiday with his wife and kids. This relationship causes Ellie problems personally and professionally until she sorts it out in her head.
Nicky = Ellie’s friend, gives her a voucher for a facial as a birthday present, and tells her that John will not leave his wife and it is not a good relationship for Ellie to be in.
Corinne = Ellie’s friend, got her cashmere socks for her birthday
Melissa = Head of Feature, Ellie’s boss, and has Ellie in her sights as moving down due to Ellie being distracted and not having good stories lately
Rory = a librarian at The Nation, helping Ellie, becomes her friend, does not want complicated in his life, is going backpacking in Peru for six months after they finish moving The Nation to the new office spaces