A review of His Last Letter by Jeane Westin

His Last Letter by Jeane Westin is a captivating and powerful love story set against the backdrop of a perilous time in Elizabeth’s reign.

Westin brings Elizabeth and Dudley’s tempestuous relationship vividly to life. Their relationship spanned more than 30 years and, although set in the last three years of the Earl of Leicester’s life, offers us insight into pivotal events in their past that helped forge their undying bond.

The characters grow as the story progresses and so does our connection with them. At various points during the story I found myself responding to events out loud, a testament to how entwined my life had become with the lives of the characters – I felt a part of the story.

The raw human emotions of joy, lust, longing, passion, anger and jealousy are forever present as Elizabeth’s head and heart rage in battle. She wants all to know that she is her father’s daughter, a woman with a king’s heart and does everything to hide a more fragile side.

The story moves back and forth through time, small brushstrokes that, when viewed from afar, paint a vivid and detailed picture of Elizabeth and Dudley’s relationship.

At various points we are privy to Elizabeth and Dudley’s most private thoughts. These moments help to strengthen our connection with the characters and develop our understanding of their lives.

By the end, I was reading the novel through my tears, which surprised me, but was a genuine outpouring of emotion for the characters I felt I ‘knew’ so well.

I felt Elizabeth’s pain at the news of Dudley’s death. I felt her emptiness and found myself wondering how she managed to live the last 15 years of her life without him.
This heartbreaking scene haunts my thoughts, “All love was dead to her. Love was a face inside her head, a hundred –nay, thousand pictured memories. Without Robin, there was no other love in her.”

Westin’s portrayal of Elizabeth and Dudley is authentic and believable. I closed the book and immediately felt a need to ‘see’ them again. I too, had fallen for Dudley…

I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

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  1. This is the second highly praised review that i have read.
    Im obsessing over it now. I can not wait to read this ..lol . Thx

  2. I really liked this one as well – great review!

  3. Natalie, I can’t tell you how thrilling it is for an author to read a reviewer who so thoroughly “gets” her story and what she hoped to do with it. Thank you for your insights and praise for my work.

    Jeane Westin

  4. Karen Specht says:

    Thank you , you put my thoughts into words. I truly felt her pain at his death and sobbed like a baby. This book is wonderful !!

    • Thank you Karen! I wrote the review straight after finishing the book (after i’d stopped crying…) because I wanted to try and capture how powerful it is. I hope I did it justice!

  5. Wow! What a review! I’m definitely adding this to my “must read” list!

  6. Carol Dennis says:

    Natalie, I absolutely loved this book. I too was reading it through my tears in the end
    and I had also fallen for Dudley! I have always been fascinated by the Dudley family. Another book I can recommend is the factual book Uncrowned Kings of England by Derek Wilson, which charts the story of three generations of the family and the role that they played in serving the Tudor Monarchy.

  7. I am already feeling the tears! 🙂 I have to read this!

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