“The Last Letter is a haunting, heartbreaking and ultimately inspirational love story.“—InTouch Weekly
If you’re reading this, well, you know the last-letter drill. You made it. I didn’t. Get off the guilt train, because I know if there was any chance you could have saved me, you would have.
I need one thing from you: get out of the army and get to Telluride.
My little sister Ella’s raising the twins alone. She’s too independent and won’t accept help easily, but she has lost our grandmother, our parents, and now me. It’s too much for anyone to endure. It’s not fair.
And here’s the kicker: there’s something else you don’t know that’s tearing her family apart. She’s going to need help.
So if I’m gone, that means I can’t be there for Ella. I can’t help them through this. But you can. So I’m begging you, as my best friend, go take care of my sister, my family.
Please don’t make her go through it alone.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and a lover of all things coffee and chocolate. She is the author of the award-winning Flight&Glory series and The Renegades. She loves military heroes, and has been blissfully married to her Apache pilot for seventeen years.
When she's not writing, she's tying hockey skates for her four sons, sneaking in guitar time, or watching brat-pack movies with her two daughters. She lives in Colorado with her husband, their rambunctious gaggle of kids, and their menagerie of pets. Having adopted their youngest daughter from the foster system, Rebecca is a passionate advocate for children through her nonprofit, One October.
Want to know about Rebecca’s next release? Join her mailing list! Or check her out online at www.rebeccayarros.com.
Read an Excerpt
At least that's what my brother says they call you. I asked him if any of his buddies needed a little extra mail, and yours was the name I was given.
So hi, I'm Ella. I know the whole no-real-names-in-correspondence rule. I've been writing these letters just as long as he's been doing what he does ... which I guess is what you do.
Now, before you put this letter aside and mumble an awkward "Thanks, but no thanks," like guys do, know that this is just as much for me as it is for you. Considering that I'd be able to have a safe place to vent away from the curious eyes of this tiny, nosy town, it would almost be like I'm using you.
So, if you'd like to be my ear, I'd be grateful, and in return, I'd be happy to be yours. Also, I make pretty awesome peanut butter cookies. If cookies didn't come with this letter, then go beat my brother, because he's stolen your cookies.
Where do I start? How do I introduce myself without it sounding like a singles ad? Let me assure you, I'm not looking for anything more than a pen pal — a very faraway pen pal — I promise. Military guys don't do it for me. Guys in general don't. Not that I don't like guys. I just don't have time for them. You know what I do have? Profound regret for writing this letter in pen.
I'm the little sister, but I'm sure my brother already told you that. He's got a pretty big mouth, which means you probably know that I have two kids, too. Yes, I'm a single mom, and no, I don't regret my choices. Man, I get sick of everyone asking me that, or simply giving me the look that implies the question.
I almost erased that last line, but it's true. Also, I'm just too lazy to rewrite the whole thing.
I'm twenty-four and was married to the twins' sperm donor all of about three seconds. Just long enough for the lines to turn pink, the doctor to say there were two heartbeats, and him to pack in the quiet of the night. Kids were never his thing, and honestly, we're probably better for it.
If pen pal kids aren't your thing, I won't take offense. But no cookies. Cookies are for pen pals only.
If you're good with single parenthood in a pen pal, read on.
My twins are five, which, if you did the math correctly, means they were born when I was nineteen. After shocking our little town by deciding to raise them on my own, I just about gave it a coronary when I took over Solitude when my grandmother died. I was only twenty, the twins were still babies, and that B&B was where she'd raised us, so it seemed like a good place to raise my kids. It still is.
Let's see ... Maisie and Colt are pretty much my life. In a good way, of course. I'm ridiculously overprotective of them, but I recognize it. I tend to overreact, to build a fortress around them, which keeps me kind of isolated, but hey, there are worse flaws to have, right? Maisie's the quiet one, and I can usually find her hiding with a book. Colt ... well, he's usually somewhere he isn't supposed to be, doing something he isn't supposed to be doing. Twins can be crazy, but they'll tell you that they're twice the awesome.
Me? I'm always doing what I have to, and never what I really should be, or what I want to. But I think that's the nature of being a mom and running a business. Speaking of which, the place is waking up, so I'd better get this box sealed up and shipped.
Write back if you want. If you don't, I understand. Just know that there's someone in Colorado sending warm thoughts your way.
* * *
Today would have been a perfect time for my second curse word.
Usually, when we were on full-blown deployments, it got really Groundhog Day. Same crap, different day. There was almost a predictable, welcoming pattern to the monotony.
Not going to lie, I was a big fan of monotony.
Routine was predictable. Safe, or as safe as it was going to get out here. We were a month into another undisclosed location in another country we were never in, and routine was about the only thing comfortable about the place.
Today had been anything but routine.
Mission accomplished, as usual, but at a price. There was always a price, and lately, it was getting steep.
I glanced down at my hand, flexing my fingers because I could. Ramirez? He'd lost that ability today. Guy was going to be holding that new baby of his with a prosthetic.
My arm flew, releasing the Kong, and the dog toy streaked across the sky, a flash of red against pristine blue. The sky was the only clean thing about this place. Or maybe today just felt dirty.
Havoc raced across the ground, her strides sure, her focus narrowed to her target until —
"Damn, she's good," Mac said, coming up behind me.
"She's the best." I glanced over my shoulder at him before training my eyes on Havoc as she ran back to me. She had to be the best to get to where we were, on a tier-one team that operated without technically existing. She was a spec op dog, which was about a million miles above any other military working dog.
She was also mine, which automatically made her the best.
My girl was seventy pounds of perfect Labrador retriever. Her black coat stood out against the sand as she stopped just short of my legs. Her rump hit the ground, and she held the Kong out to me, her eyes dancing. "Last time," I said softly as I took it from her mouth.
She was gone before I even retracted my arm to throw.
"Word on Ramirez?" I asked, watching for Havoc to get far enough away.
"Lost his arm. Elbow down."
"Ffffff —" I threw the toy as far as I could.
"You could let it slip. Seems appropriate today." Mac scratched the month of beard he was rocking and adjusted his sunglasses.
"His family?" "Christine will meet him at Landstuhl. They're sending in fresh blood. Forty-eight hours until arrival."
"That soon?" We really were that expendable.
"We're on the move. Meeting is in five."
"Gotcha." Looked like it was on to the next undisclosed location.
Mac glanced down at my arm. "You get that looked at?"
"Doc stitched it up. Just a graze, nothing to get your panties in a twist over." Another scar to add to the dozens that already marked my skin.
"Maybe you need someone to get her panties in a twist over you in general."
I sent a healthy shot of side-eye to my best friend.
"What?" he asked with an exaggerated shrug before nodding toward Havoc, who pulled up again, just as excited as the first time I threw the Kong, or the thirty-sixth time. "She can't be the only woman in your life, Gentry."
"She's loyal, gorgeous, can seek out explosives, or take out someone trying to kill you. What exactly is she missing?" I took the Kong and rubbed Havoc behind her ear.
"If I have to tell you that, you're too far gone for my help."
We headed back into the small compound, which was really nothing more than a few buildings surrounding a courtyard. Everything was brown. The buildings, the vehicles, the ground, even the sky seemed to be taking on that hue.
Great. A dust storm.
"You don't need to worry about me. I've got no trouble when we're in garrison," I told him.
"Oh, I'm well aware, you Chris Pratt-looking asshole. But man" — he put his hand on my arm, stopping us before we could enter the courtyard where the guys had gathered — "you're not ... attached to anyone."
"Neither are you."
"No, I'm not currently in a relationship. That doesn't mean I don't have attachments, people I care about and who care about me."
I knew what he was getting at, and this wasn't the time, the place, or the ever. Before he could take it any deeper, I slapped him on the back.
"Look, we can call in Dr. Phil, or we can get the hell out of here and move on to the next mission." Move on, that was always what came easiest to me. I didn't form attachments because I didn't want to, not because I wasn't capable. Attachments — to people, places, or things — were inconvenient or screwed you over. Because there was only one thing certain, and it was change.
"I'm serious." His eyes narrowed into a look I'd seen too many times in our ten years of friendship.
"Yeah, well I am, too. I'm fine. Besides, I'm attached to you and Havoc. Everyone else is just icing."
"Mac! Gentry!" Williams called from the door on the north building. "Let's go!"
"We're coming!" I yelled back.
"Look, before we go in, I left you something on your bed." Mac rubbed his hand over his beard — his nervous tell.
"Yeah, whatever it is, after this conversation I'm not interested." Havoc and I started walking toward the meeting. Already I felt the itch in my blood for movement, to leave this place behind and see what was waiting for us.
"It's a letter."
"From who? Everyone I know is in that room." I pointed to the door as we crossed the empty courtyard. That's what happened when you grew up bouncing from foster home to foster home and then enlisted the day you turned eighteen. The collection of people you considered worthy of knowing was a group small enough to fit in a Blackhawk, and today we were already missing Ramirez.
Like I said. Attachments were inconvenient.
"I'm sorry?" My hand froze on the rusted-out door handle.
"You heard me. My little sister, Ella."
My brain flipped through its mental Rolodex. Ella. Blond, killer smile, soft, kind eyes that were bluer than any sky I'd ever seen. He'd been waving around pictures of her for the last decade.
"Gentry, come on. Do you need a picture?"
"I know who Ella is. Why the hell is there a letter from her on my bed?"
"Just thought you might need a pen pal." His gaze dropped to his dirty boots.
"A pen pal? Like I'm some fifth-grade project with a sister school?" Havoc slid closer, her body resting against my leg. She was attuned to my every move, even the slightest changes in my mood. That's what made us an unstoppable team.
"No, not ..." He shook his head. "I was just trying to help. She asked if there was anyone who might need a little mail and, since you don't have any family —"
Scoffing, I threw open the door and left his ass standing outside. Maybe some of that sand would fill up his gaping mouth. I hated the F word. People bitched about theirs all the time, constantly, really. But the minute they realized you didn't have one, it was like you were an aberration who had to be fixed, a problem that needed to be solved, or worse — pitied.
I was so far beyond anyone's pity that it was almost funny.
"All right, guys." Captain Donahue called our ten-member team — minus one — around the conference table. "Sorry to tell you that we're not headed home. We've got a new mission."
All those guys groaning — no doubt missing their wives, their kids — just reaffirmed my position on the attachment subject.
* * *
"Seriously, New Kid?" I growled as the newbie scrambled to clean up the crap he'd knocked off the footlocker that served as my nightstand.
"Sorry, Gentry," he mumbled as he gathered up the papers. Typical All-American boy fresh out of operator training with no business being on this team yet. He needed another few years and way steadier hands, which meant he was related to someone with some pull.
Havoc tilted her head at him and then glanced up at me.
"He's new," I said softly, scratching behind her ears.
"Here," the kid said, handing me a stack of stuff, his eyes wide like I was going to kick him out of the unit for being clumsy.
God, I hoped he was better with his weapon than he was with my nightstand.
I put the stack on the spare inches of the bed that Havoc wasn't currently consuming. Sorting it took only a couple of minutes. Journal articles I was in the middle of reading on various topics, and — "Crap."
Ella's letter. I'd had the thing almost two weeks, and I hadn't opened it.
I hadn't thrown it away, either.
"Gonna open that?" Mac asked with the timing of an expert shit-giver.
"Why don't you ever swear?" New Kid asked at the same time.
Glaring at Mac, I slid the letter to the bottom of the stack and grabbed the journal article on top. It was on new techniques in search and rescue.
"Fine. Answer the new kid." Mac rolled his eyes and lay back on his bunk, hands behind his head.
"Yeah, my name is Johnson —"
"No, it's New Kid. Haven't earned a name yet," Mac corrected him.
The kid looked like we'd just kicked his damn puppy, so I relented.
"Someone once told me that swearing is a poor excuse for a crap vocabulary. It makes you look low class and uneducated. So I stopped." God knew I had enough going against me. I didn't need to sound like the shit I'd been through.
"Never?" New Kid asked, leaning forward like we were at a slumber party.
"Only in my head," I said, flipping to a new article in the journal.
"She really a working dog? She looks too ... sweet," New Kid said, reaching toward Havoc.
Her head snapped up, and she bared her teeth in his direction.
"Yeah, she is, and yes, she'll kill you on command. So do us both a favor and don't ever try to touch her again. She's not a pet." I let her growl for a second to make her point.
"Relax," I told Havoc, running my hand down the side of her neck. Tension immediately drained out of her body, and she collapsed on my leg, blinking up at me like it had never happened.
"Damn," he whispered.
"Don't take it personally, New Kid," Mac said. "Havoc's a one-man woman, and you sure as hell aren't the guy."
"Loyal and deadly," I said with a grin, petting her.
"One day," Mac said, pointing to the letter, which had slid onto the bed next to my thigh.
"Today is not that day."
"The day you crack it open, you're going to kick yourself for not doing it sooner." He leaned over his bunk and came back up with a tub of peanut butter cookies, eating one with the sound effects of a porn.
"Seriously," he moaned. "So good."
I laughed and slid the letter back under the pile.
"Get some sleep, New Kid. We're all action tomorrow."
The kid nodded. "This is everything I ever wanted."
Mac and I shared a knowing look.
"Say that tomorrow night. Now get some shut-eye and stop knocking over my stuff or your call sign becomes Butterfinger."
His eyes widened, and he sank into his bunk.
* * *
Three nights later, New Kid was dead.
Johnson. He'd earned his name and lost his life saving Doc's ass.
I lay awake while everyone else slept, my eyes drifting to the empty bunk. He hadn't belonged here, and we'd all known it — expressed our concerns. He hadn't been ready. Not ready for the mission, the pace of our unit, or death.
Not that death cared.
The clock turned over, and I was twenty-eight.
Happy birthday to me.
Deaths always struck me differently when we were out on deployment. They usually fell into two categories. Either I brushed it off and we moved on, or my mortality was a sudden, tangible thing. Maybe it was my birthday, or that New Kid was little more than a baby, but this was the second type.
Hey, Mortality, it's me, Beckett Gentry.
Logically, I knew that with the mission over, we'd head home in the next couple of days, or on to the next hellhole. But in that moment, a raw need for connection gripped me in a way that felt like a physical pressure in my chest.
Not attachment, I told myself. That shit was trouble.
But to be connected to another human in a way that wasn't reserved for the brothers I served with, or even my friendship with Mac, which was the closest I'd ever gotten to family.
In a move of sheer impulsivity, I grabbed my flashlight and the letter from where I'd tucked it into a journal on mountaineering.
Balancing the flashlight on my shoulder, I ripped open the letter and unfolded the lined notebook paper full of neat, feminine scroll.
I read the letter once, twice ... a dozen times, placing her words with the pictures of her face I'd seen over the years. I imagined her sneaking a few moments in the early morning to get the letter written, wondered what her day had been like. What kind of guy walked out on his pregnant wife? An asshole.
What kind of woman took on twins and a business when she was still a kid herself? A really damn strong one.
A strong, capable woman who I needed to know. The yearning that grabbed ahold of me was uncomfortable and undeniable.
Keeping as quiet as possible, I took out a notebook and pen.
A half hour later, I sealed the envelope and then hit Mac in the shoulder with it.
"What the hell?" he snapped at me, rolling over.
"I want my cookies." I enunciated every word with the seriousness I usually reserved for Havoc's commands.
"Ryan, I'm serious." Whipping out the first name meant business.
"Yeah, well, you snooze, you lose your cookies." He smirked and settled back into his bunk, his breathing deep and even a few seconds later.
"Thank you," I said quietly, knowing he couldn't hear me. "Thank you for her."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Last Letter"
Copyright © 2019 Rebecca Yarros.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros will take you on an emotional ride you will not soon forget. Few books will touch your soul like this book will. I unquestionably and completely fell in love with this book and at the same time struggled with it. It will pull at your heart until it is completely shattered and then put it back together. I will remember The Last Letter for a very long time, and it may be one of the few books that I would read more than once. The Last Letter is very well written in such a unique way. The story is told from a dual point of view, but what makes this book stand out is the letters. The two main characters, Beckett and Ella, write letters to each other and those letters are flawlessly woven into the story thus becoming the heart and soul of the book. The Last Letter would be categorized as a romance, but it is so much more than that. Of course, it has an incredibly strong and silent type alpha male, who I completely fell for — and I have a feeling you will too. Beckett is broken, but watching him transform into an amazing man is a sight to behold. The best way I can describe Beckett is, he is a man who fears a life with love and family and longs for it at the same time. Ella, our heroine, is an independent, and beautiful but also broken. She has been dealt with some tough losses in her life, but she is also blessed with her twins, Maisie and Colt. Her whole world revolves around making a life for her twins, keeping the family business afloat, and the letters from Chaos. These letters are just for her. And through these letters, Chaos works his way into her heart, and at the same time, her letters work their way into his heart. Until tragedy strikes. It's best for me to stop there, no spoilers for this review. I found it very hard to review this book, I feel that I just don't have the words to do it justice. The range of emotions I experienced while reading this book went from happy and joyful to sobbing with big fat tears rolling down my face. The author takes us on a journey from the harsh and cruel battlefields of Afghanistan to the beautiful town of Telluride Colorado. The main themes of family, unconditional love and forgiveness are so very beautifully intertwined throughout this book. The incredible pilgrimage the author takes these two lost, broken souls on decimated me to my very soul, but the faith and love they were able to find in each other, in turn, left me with a sense of hope. When I finished this book and stopped sobbing, I felt an overwhelming need to hug both my boys and never let go. Ms. Yarros is an incredible storyteller. I highly recommend this book, but be forewarned you will definitely need a box of tissues, and maybe some comfort food nearby. ***I kindly received this galley by way of NetGalley/publisher/author. I was not contacted, asked or required to leave a review. I received no compensation, financial or otherwise. I have voluntarily read this book, and this review is my honest opinion .**
There are three things you need to know about this novel: 1. It has a major pediatric cancer subplot. (Go to the end of this review for spoilers.) 2. If you like Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult novels, you might like this. 3. This was marketed to me as a contemporary romance and while it technically meets those requirements, I’m not convinced the Happily Ever After is real because of what happens. Additionally, I would not have agreed to an advanced copy if I’d known there was a pediatric cancer storyline in it. I used to be a pediatric oncology/hematology social worker. I have also walked alongside dear loved ones whose children have had cancer. This is a world I know very well and most authors get it so wrong. This was proved true once more with this book. I wish so badly Yarros had given us what I thought I was getting: a military romance with an epistolary literature framing device. That part of the story was strong. The letters Ella and Beckett exchanged while he was deployed were touching, banal, funny, real. We get the letters out of order, which was a nice touch. If the story had simply been Beckett coming to help Ella out after her brother is killed in action, I might have enjoyed this one. Although it’s just as possible I might not have, as Beckett decides to hide his true identity from her and I tend to hate lie of omission plots. But for me the hardest part by far was the misinformation about pediatric cancer and the emotionally manipulative plot. In the acknowledgments, Yarros says she based Maisie’s cancer timeline on her friend’s child’s experience and she also discussed following cancer blogs and forums. If what happened to Maisie is exactly what happened to this other child, their pediatric cancer team failed them. No team is perfect but I can’t imagine any children’s hospital not rising to the occasion. There were so many medical inaccuracies, it’s not worth examining them all. My guess is she heightened and dramatized these experiences because she thought it would make a better story. However, this is why she lost me. I abhor being emotionally manipulated. There’s a world of difference between authors who ask themselves “How can I tell the best story?” and those who ask “How can I make readers cry?” This book is like a Hallmark or Lifetime version of grief. Packaged and in no way approximating reality. SPOILERS BELOW But also infuriating. Maisie, the child with cancer, doesn’t die. But her twin brother Colton dies in a hiking accident. After Colton dies, Ella essentially says, “Maybe it was always supposed to happen this way.” Because somehow her brother and son dying brought Beckett to her. No one who has ever lost a child would ever say this. It’s an insult to grieving parents everywhere. The death of a child is incredibly stressful on even the most committed relationship. Given the ups and downs of Ella and Beckett’s new relationship, I’m not confident they’ll stand the rest of time. Giving them an HEA so soon after the death of a child is insensitive at best, offensive at worst. Additional CW: pediatric cancer, death of a child, death of a loved one, grief, references to war, killing, and violence, past foster care experience, past death of parents, problematic discussion of unexpected pregnancy/abortion, problematic line stating: “I knew he liked his coffee like he liked his women, black and strong.” Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
First I have read this author. It was a great book, very emotional but the characters and storyline was wonderful.
I don’t really have the words to convey how I feel about this book. Heartbreaking beautiful, not your average romance, stab you in the heart yet you will be ok... I could not predict anything that happened in the book. This book is the first book in a couple of years to literally bring me to tears and yet it put me back together, just a bit cracked. So many life lessons, so much love and heart ache. This book makes you think and yet you won’t want to put it down. I literally got angry at parts and messaged friends about how I was mad at a character, but that is the beauty of this writing, how much it makes you FEEL!
I knew that after reading the blur I would cry reading this book and I must say that I did and it broke my heart. This is the book that I will remember as something that touches my heart and in the deepest possible way. I am a mother too and I can not imagine going through all that Ella and Becket went trough. It broke my heart that we see Ella going through all the pain and losing their family members. But the story is not all about sorrow it is also about finding love, the other half that support you and makes pain tolerable. Beckett makes a mistake that Ella can't forgive him very easy and they lose some very special time together. I liked that the story was unpredictable and keeps you on the toes. It is a story that shows you not to give up and that sometimes something bad must happen to make a place for something new, different and make us stronger in process. Really great read, highly recommended. And don't forget tissues! I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
Wow, what an emotional, heart-wrenching, heart breaking read! I enjoyed this book from the beginning and found it very easy to become engrossed in the story. It was very well written and the story was beautiful and tragic at the same time. I absolutely recommend this book, just maybe don't read it in public as I was crying like a baby during several parts. #TheLastLetter
I never leave reviews, but this is a great read, just have tissues handy.
"I'm right here. I never left you. But I did destroy you." Rebecca destroyed me too. LOL The Last Letter was an emotional read full of loss, strength, fate, love and family. Ella is a 24 year mom of 5 year old twins, Maisie and Colt who is owner to a resort. Ella has no family left besides her kids. She is a strong woman and I loved her character. She did have trust issues because every military person who came in her life seemed to eventually leave her. Ella's brother, Ryan, is tragically killed in war and his 'last letter' to his military brother, Beckett, is requesting that Beckett go back to the states and help Ella. Ryan stresses in the letter that Ella will refuse Beckett's help and she does for a while. "You know when you're on an airplane, and they tell you to put the oxygen mask on you first before your kids? This is that. If you only put the oxygen on your kid, then you pass out and can't help them. Every once in a while, you have to take a breath, Ella, or you're going to suffocate." But life throws Ella a curveball and she finally allows Beckett to help and boy is he good with her kids. I loved those kids - they were so honest and wise for their age. They had quite a twin bond too. At times, they brought Beckett to tears with their actions/comments. "Ella was beyond beautiful for what she'd been through. Tragedy hadn't broken her, it had refined her." "I'd always been big, but something about how fragile she seemed made me feel huge, like I could put my body in front of the storm headed her way and protect her...even if the storm was of my own making." Beckett was brought up in the foster system and never had a family to call his own. Beckett felt that any where he went he caused chaos, hence his call name. Ryan was his family and thru letters exchanged between Ella and Beckett while he was serving, he felt like part of her family too. When he arrived at Ella's resort, he omitted a bit of who he was to Ella. That lack of information did lead to some hurt feelings but like all good romance books, they did work thru it. I so loved Beckett along with his dog, Havoc. He was a hard working, devoted guy who felt he wasn't worthy of a family. He was so good for Ella. He knew what she needed and when she needed space. This journey is very angsty so bring your tissues but highly recommend it.
I don't really have the words to say how wonderful and haunting this book is. Once you start reading this book, you are drawn in and are heartbroken when it ends. So very wonderful.
OMG--this book. It absolutely killed me. It's a beautiful story about inner strength, grieving, moving on, second chances, and love in all its forms. This review is going to be light on details--but trust me, you're going to want to find them all out for yourself in real time, and I don't want to take that opportunity away from you. All I'm going to say is I cried almost as much as I laughed out loud, and I swooned just a little more than I sighed in despair. Ms Yarros definitely knows how to tug at your heartstrings, and she does it over and over again here. There were times I had to put the book down for a few minutes--sometimes because my heart was just too full, and other times because I was afraid she was going to go there. (Spoiler: she did, at least once. It's brutal.) The letters--all of them, last or otherwise--are brilliant; perfect complements to each chapter. Do yourself a favor: read this one ASAP...but not until you buy yourself an extra-large box of tissues (or two. Or seven..) Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
This book had me from the first letter to the very last! It broke me and put me back together only to break me again. Read this book, it won't disappoint!!
This book is a tear jerker. But it is a great book and well written. This book is jam packed with so much love and emotions, I didn’t get much else done while I read this! It’s one that’s not going to be forgotten soon. I wish I could give it more then
One of the best books I have ever read! I actually won an e-copy of this book which I received via NetGalley. This is my honest review after choosing to read it. When I finished reading this book I had tears streaming down and a huge grin on my face. My first comment on twitter about it was: 'Just finished the most amazing, emotive book I have ever had the pleasure to read. 5stars just isn’t enough- nor is just one box of tissues! The Last Letter by @RebeccaYarros should be on everyone‘s must read when it’s released Feb 26th. The Last Letter is such an amazing story, a rollercoaster emotional ride, an enthralling read and I’ve never cried so much reading a story! Thank you for writing it and @entangledpub for publishing it.' I'm not normally so effusive on twitter but I was so moved by the whole story . . . . I hope that's enough to make you want to read it, too! For those wanting more info about it, the Last Letter is a letter that someone in the armed services writes in case they are killed in action. In this case the letter is written by Ryan to his friend and comrade, Beckett, telling him to get out of the army and asking him to help look after his sister, Ella, and her twin children. Beckett has been exchanging letters with her for a while but she only knows him by his nickname, Chaos. There's so much going off in their lives, so much heartbreak and drama in the past, present and future that could crush them. Can they survive all that seems to being thrown against them? How will Ella react when she discovers Beckett is also Chaos? I daren't say more about the plot as I'd end up revealing spoilers! The story is told through the alternating points of view of Beckett and Ella interspersed with the letters they'd exchanged before they actually met. The contrast in the openness of the letters and how shuttered they are when meeting face to face is dramatic. There are plenty of diverse threads interwoven throughout the story, creating a superb tapestry, an evocative read that has characters it is so easy to relate to and drama that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is a real page turner and a very memorable book for all the right reasons, one I didn't want to put down until I'd read it all. I hope you get to read it, too, and enjoy it as much as I did!
Ms. Yarros, there are no words that I could say or write that would do justice in regards to this novel. There are books that stay with you once you've close the cover and this is one of those novels. I wish I could award more than 5 stars cause this book truly deserves more. Beautiful, emotional are just a few. Reader beware tissues a must! You will laugh, be angry, and you will be cry brought to tears. A must read!!! Kudos Ms. Yarros kudos!
WOW! What did I just read? What an amazing heartfelt, heartbreaking, beautiful book. All I’m going to say is READ IT! I couldn’t put it down. I fell head over heels for these characters, that were bigger than life. This book is ... a story of life! It was a roller coaster I wasn’t expecting. While I cried my eyes out, I was put back together again before it ended. It is a top favorite of 2019!
One of the best books of 2018. Rebecca Yarro's The Last Letter was a gripping tale of love and war. It is the story of love and loss. Loss of family and friends. Also, a story of trusting others and being vulnerable. The raw emotions in The Last Letter will have your feelings pulled in every direction. This is one of those books you don't want to put down but at the same time you don't want it to end. Great movie material. Fans of Nicholas Sparks will love this book. Worthy of 5 Stars and 5 bonus Stars.
Beautifully written while heart-breakingly, gut wrenching!! So this book will take you a while to get over. This story is so beautiful, but achingly sad as well. Beckett lost his best friend and combat partner; he receives Ryan's last letter (the one you only get to read when someone is gone); and goes to fulfill Ryan's last bequest. Ella is a single mother of twins who is going through tough times. She's lost the rest of her family and is just trying to get by while taking care of her kids, receiving devastating news (besides the death of her brother) and running her own business. Colt and Maisie are such a joy to get to know. They bring sunshine to this story. There are so many facets to this story and the secret that Beckett is keeping is a BIG one. “There were two distinct paths ahead of me: the first, where I told her who I was and what had happened, and she promptly walked out of my life, and the second...where I did everything I could to help her, no matter what the cost.” You may not always agree with Beckett's decisions, but he remains steadfast in his mission to help Ella the only way he knows how. "She'd given me gravity when everything went sideways." Letters make up a big part of this story and they weave a story within the story that will bind you to these characters even more. This is a tough read - my first tears came at 9% and at 75% I was sobbing. But that's the beauty of Rebecca Yarros and her incredible talent to move the reader - especially with her military stories. I think I've cried with every one. This is one of the best books I've read...period. It wasn't easy and I needed time to decompress before posting this review, but in the end - it was worth the journey. I voluntarily requested and reviewed an advance reader copy while pre-ordering the paperback. This is one I want to hold in my hands!
A beautiful, heartfelt story with surprising depth. Grab tissues and settle in for the long haul because you won't be able to put this one down, and I guarantee you'll finish it crying. But please don't let that stop you from reading this beautifully written, emotionally charged story that now sits on my Favorites Shelf. It's truly an experience - a deeply rooted, character-based story that pushed all my buttons. The title, The Last Letter is woven into the storyline in more ways than one. I found myself sitting long after I finished - thinking about this story and its relevance. Please avoid all spoilers and read this book. I don't think it'll be the same if you know how the story plays out when you begin. I'll briefly set up the story by saying that Beckett and Ryan are friends serving in the military - hard-core special ops service men. Ryan suggests to his younger sister Ella that she should write deployment letters to Chaos (Beckett's call name) because he has no one. She begins sharing the highs and lows of her life through letters to Chaos - without ever knowing his real name or seeing a picture of him. Eventually, events lead Chaos to start writing her back, and a life altering connection is gradually forged. As you can tell from the synopsis/blurb, Ryan doesn't make it home, but he leaves a letter for Beckett asking him to take care Ella and her five year old twins, Maisie & Colt. It's complicated as Beckett/Chaos is carrying a lot of guilt and baggage. I'm not going to say more about the story that develops. It has so much more depth and meaning than I first imagined as it explores love, loss, perseverance, survival, heartache, and the trust and courage it takes, in yourself and others, to accept what you can't change and search for a way out of the darkness when your load becomes too heavy. It's a story with great passion exploring the many different connections between people, and the lasting effect they have on their lives - including the rich rewards and high price of loving with everything you've got. I know I'm being vague, but as I said earlier - there's a reason for that. Read the book. I'll share one quote: "I'd forgotten what this feels like." "Being hugged?" My voice was sandpaper-rough. "Being held together." (Quote from The Last Letter) I don't want to leave the impression that The Last Letter is all sadness and tears, it's not. There's so much love and laughter in heart-touching scenes with a broken but strong hero and heroine, adorable, scene-stealing children, a protective but lovable military dog named Havoc, passionate romance, and a support cast that lends so much to the telling of the story. The writing is beautiful and the tie-in of the letters, revealed to readers at the beginning of each chapter, is genius. Souls are bared, hearts are lost, tears are shed . . . and hope springs eternal. In my opinion, Yarros does a brilliant job of handling the difficult subject matter thus bringing awareness to a subject near and dear to many parents' hearts. I highly recommend this book. It is on my Favorites Shelf. An undeniable Must Read!
This book was so hard for me. I loved every painful minute as much as I loved every joyful one. The Last Letter had me fighting tears when I read the blurb. I know it was going to be tough. I knew I needed tissues. I thought I was covered. I was wrong. Falling in love with these people was as easy as turning the page. I fought with them, I clung to them, and I sobbed with them. Rebecca Yarros delivered a family to all her readers. Whether or not you needed one, you now have the best kind in your hands. A loving example of all the best while fighting the worst. I won't tell you to hold onto your heart because you've already lost it when you decided to read this book. But I promise it's in good hands! Ella, Chaos, Havoc, Maisie, and Colt are all going to make you apart of their story. You are going to love them long after you close this book. I say that with a smile on my face and tears pouring down. You are going to love them!
2.5 Stars The Last Letter is well written and emotional, however it just puts too many issues into one book. Ella is a young single mom of twins (aged 5-7 throughout the book), she owns a B&B in Colorado, her parents are deceased, and her brother is in the military overseas. We open to that, which is already a handful for a person, but Ella's problems and tragedies keep growing. Within the first few chapters her brother is killed in action and Maisie, one of her kids, gets diagnosed with a rare cancer, which of course her insurance covers little of the treatment. To top it off, she's developed an intense pen pal relationship with a comrade of her brothers and she believes he died with her brother since his letters abruptly stop around the same time. Enter Beckett. As readers, we know he is Chaos, the same man that Ella has been writing to. But he doesn't tell her that. Instead he shows up at her door with a letter from her brother saying that he is here to take care of her. Of course, they fall for each other, and of course, Ella's biggest peeve/unforgivable curse is lying. Which is exactly what he is doing by not telling her who he really is. While this is going on, they are dealing with Maisie's illness, running the business, and trying to keep involved with Colt, her other kid's, life. Beckett also has a few issues- he grew up in foster care and his time with the elite military team he was on causes nightmares, etc. After Ella and Beckett fall in love, the truth about him being Chaos comes out and Ella ends things. Months pass (in which we are not privy to what goes on) but they reconcile eventually and get back together. But this book is not made for happy moments. Immediately after this happens, tragedy strikes again. (view spoiler) At this point, I can't even conjure up the required emotions for all that has happened. It's too much. It's too unrealistic. How can anyone survive this many tragedies in such a short period of time? I'm too busy trying to calculate the probability of all of these things happening and I'm pretty sure you have a better chance winning the lotto than to have this many, and this rare, of things happen to just one person in this little of time. The problem is, I really liked the writing. I thought (for the most part) that the characters were well-written and developed. Sure the kids seemed older than their age, but maybe circumstances forced that. And while there were times that Ella annoyed me, she felt human. But I just couldn't get over the amount of catastrophic events that happened to her. It's surprising she didn't become catatonic. I would still recommend this to people. I think someone who doesn't need their romances based soundly in reality and those who love tragedy with their romance will like this. It wasn't a bad book, just too much for me.
Yarros has consistently written great stories but The Last Letter is something all together different and stunning. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I read this book. I understood it would be emotional due to the obvious subject matter when I read the synopsis but I never anticipated the raw tragic story that is brimming with hope, love, and pain. This book is not for the faint of heart. It is a roller coaster of every human emotion you could possibly feel. It is a powerful story that digs deep and refuses to let go. When I finished this book I thought about it for days. I thought I knew what to expect, but Yarros threw me for a loop. The characters are deep, the storyline is so well developed and the relationships within the story spark something in the reader. The romance was well paced and realistic. It was hard but worth it. Nothing for these characters was easy and the flaws and mistakes make them more tangible and relatable. I was so engrossed in what was happening that I never saw the plot twist coming. And I broke. Man, I cried. Any author who can coax out an emotional response from me is someone I will always admire and never get enough of. Rebecca Yarros, this was well worth the wait. The Last Latter is a story that will stay with you long after it is over.
The Last Letter broke my heart and then pieced it back together, more than once. What an amazing story of what family means, true love, and putting someone else before yourself. Set mainly in Telluride, Colorado, Beckett goes to help Ella after her brother (also his best friend) dies during their Army Special Forces deployment. I love that in Rebecca's books, I always feel like I really know the characters, rather than just reading a love story. Ella is just the type of character I love, and that I see in many of Rebecca's books - strong female getting things done and moving forward, despite the challenges life has thrown at her. Ella's parents, grandmother, and now her brother have all died. Her daughter has cancer. She doesn't want to accept help, doesn't want to admit to herself that someone needs to help her while she takes care of everything. But Beckett shows up, and she slowly realizes she can still be strong and let others in. The only thing I wish were different were to have more epilogue from additional character's perspectives, but it's probably because I just didn't want this book to end. Reading this, I felt invested in Ella, Beckett, the kids, Solitude. I took my time and savored this.
When I read the blurb of The Last Letter, I knew that it was going to be a good book. A blurb in the form of a last letter? That alone made me go “I need to read this book“. I am so glad that I did because The Last Letter exceeded what I thought about it. I will warn everyone, you will need tissues while reading The Last Letter. I was ugly crying from the scene where Ella found out that Maisie had cancer to the end of the book. I would invest in a few boxes. You will need them. I thought that Ella was one of the strongest people I have read in a book to date. Life kept dropping bombshells on her and she didn’t even flinch. She took no flak from people. She also had a softer side. It wasn’t showcased in the book that much but it was there. When it did peek through, I loved it. I did get annoyed with Ella at several points in the book. Put it this way, she was stubborn and afraid to let someone get close to her. When she did let Beckett in, she did begrudgingly. I did want to smack her upside the head when Beckett had a solution for Maisie’s cancer treatments. If I was in that situation, I would have jumped all over it. I got why she acted that way. Still. I am glad that Ada and Hailey talked some sense into her. I liked Beckett. He arrived when Ella needed him the most. He stayed through Ella freaking out on him about who he was to Ryan. He was the one who came up with the solution about Maisie’s cancer and insurance. He fell heads over heels for Ella when they were writing letters to each other. He was a nice guy. When he opened up about his past, my heart broke for him. Like Ella, I did get annoyed with him at points in the book. Like the whole Chaos storyline. How hard would it have been to tell her that he was Chaos? I didn’t understand how that didn’t come up. Ella did point blank ask him how he knew Ryan. That was the perfect time to say “Well, I’m Chaos“. But no, it comes out later in the book. I would have been pissed at him too. I thought the romance that Beckett and Ella had was a sweet one. Of course, it was bumpy and there was a point where I thought it was over. But it was sweet. I thought that the storyline with Maisie and her aggressive form of cancer was very well written. The author didn’t paint a rosy picture for us. Instead, she showed the stark realities of having a child with cancer. It was a realistic and heartbreaking look into childhood cancer. I will say that the storyline with Ella, her ex and his parents made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. How can someone be so heartless? Not once but twice. I also liked that military dogs are featured in this book. What I liked is that the military let Beckett keep Havoc. Mainly because she only listened to him. I liked how Ella described Havoc and her adjusting to not working. She was being domesticated and learning how to act like a dog. There was a twist at the end of the book that broke my heart. It was surprised that came out of nowhere. I am not going to give anything away but I will stay that Beckett and Havoc’s training were well used. This is a tissue warning. You will be ugly crying until the end of the book. The epilogue at the end had me ugly crying. I loved the insight that it gave into Beckett and Ella’s life 4 years later.
I originally said I wasn't going to review this book because of how it completely devastated me, but then that goes against everything I'm always preaching when it comes to reviews- how it's unfair to other readers if there are only glowing reviews for a book. So this is me, trying to write a review without raging like I did on Goodreads, or spoiling any of the actual story. At least on GR I could rant under the spoiler tag so if no one wanted to be spoiled they could ignore. Another reason I'm posting a review is because I really think I need closure from this book. I'm hoping this will help purge the overwhelming anger I've been feeling. Although every time I see this book pop up the anger starts boiling over again. The Last Letter had the potential to live up to the 5* reviews I read. It had the potential to become a favorite. It was heartwrenching for sure, but I was invested in, and enjoying, the story - Beckett was so, so wonderful, like bbf material wonderful, the kids were darling, and Ella was such a strong character. And no doubt the writing itself was beautiful. But then I got to the most devastating, heartbreaking, shocking, and yes traumatic, scene I have ever read in a book, a scene that I will never be able to unread, a scene that completely and utterly ruined this book for me and literally broke my heart. I honestly will never, EVER, understand why the author felt it necessary to go the route she did, as the story was enough of a roller coaster of emotions as is, without that added heartbreak. I feel utterly manipulated, not only by the author, but by all the 5* reviews that talk about how beautiful this story is, how it's a must-read, how it's a journey not to be missed. This is a journey I wish I had never taken.