Click here to read reviewer Rashmi Srinivas' take on Sam's Letters to Jennifer.
Okay, let me preface this review with this one fact: I love James Pattersonís mysteries, especially his Alex Cross novels and his Womenís Murder Club novels. So when I read and loved Suzanneís Diary for Nicholas, which was so different from his other books, I felt that this had to be an aberration, a fluke, a one-time thing that he got very lucky with. And then I read his newest, Samís Letters to Jennifer, and I am totally amazed that he has done it again. Now Iím thinking that Nicholas Sparks better watch his back; James Patterson has now proved twice that he can write the same kind of touching, emotional, love stories that Sparks is known for.
Jennifer writes a daily column for a Chicago newspaper, a column that is harder and harder to write since she her beloved husband Danny drowned in Hawaii and she subsequently lost the baby she was carrying. But there is still one person whom she loves very much who has always been there for her, always been her rock Ė her grandmother, Sam. When Jennifer gets a telephone call from an old family friend saying that Sam has taken a fall and things are not looking good, Jennifer leaves immediately to be at her grandmotherís side.
When she arrives, Sam is in a coma and the doctors are unsure about when she will wake up. So Jennifer moves in to Samís house on Lake Geneva, where Jennifer spent wonderful times growing up playing on the lake. As she enters ďherĒ bedroom, she notices that the top of the vanity table is covered Ė in letters. Jennifer soon realizes that all of these letters have been written to her from her grandmother, and that they were placed there so she would be sure to find them. For Sam has a story to tell, a story about her life that will both surprise and intrigue Jennifer as she realizes that this is Samís own love story, but the other person starring in it is not her grandfather.
After settling in, Jennifer is reintroduced to Brendan, a childhood playmate who is also revisiting Lake Geneva to capture some of the past and to reflect on his future. He is a doctor now, and gorgeous to boot. Jennifer tries to stay away from Brendan but finds herself drawn to his free-spirited ways. As Jennifer reads Samís letters, she and Brendan grow closer, and Jennifer discovers that Brendan has his own secret - but is it a secret that Jennifer can deal with after losing so much?
I love the short, quick chapters that Patterson uses to keep the story flowing. I love the fact that scenes change quickly so that the reader never gets bored. And I love the characters that he has created: Jennifer, who needs love again so badly and is so scared to look for it again; Brendan, who loves so freely and completely with so much to lose; and Sam, who accepted what she could not change and found the strength to accept love when it was offered and never regret it. Sam's Letters to Jennifer is two beautiful love stories wrapped into one. And for me, that is money well-spent.