Note: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. The Last Valentine was selected as an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day. You can check out both the novel and other reviews here!
Mystery entwined with romance and deception, heartbreak and a love that stands the test of time, The Last Valentine has a little bit of something for everyone. And there’s no question that this novel has some incredibly strong, moving moments. But this book has its downfalls, too.
Olivia Villalobos, the daughter of the town’s infamous drunkard/police investigator, lives a relatively normal life in a town filled with intrigue, betrayal, and deception. But when she finds a missing blood-stained love letter at the heart of a murder inquiry, her life quickly changes. With her friend Isaac, she begins the search for the Labyrinth of Love Letters, a mysterious place said to exist as a safe haven for all victims of forbidden love. But what the two find themselves caught up in is greater and more dangerous than they could ever imagine. Lives will be changed, but will it be for the better? Or should some secrets remain in the dark?
What I was perhaps most impressed with was the author’s talent for understanding love, and further, his ability to describe it. He delves into the idea that there are many kinds of love, and this is truly what the story focuses on. Alexander manages to capture each as if he has lived through them himself. Forbidden, young, endless, you name it. One is not better or more powerful than another, Alexander suggests, they are merely different.
The idea of a place made specifically for those under the spell of forbidden love is one that intrigued me greatly. As a self-professed romantic, it’s an idea that’s easy to fall in love with. The Labyrinth becomes something that you need to find as desperately as Olivia does. When it comes to the idea, there’s no question that Alexander hit upon something special. Unfortunately, not every book is perfect, and this one has a few flaws that particularly stand out.
Though Alexander has a knack for writing inspiring and insightful passages, he also has a habit of slipping into modern tongue. This is a historical romance and in this genre it is imperative that your language remains consistent. The slightest misstep brings the reader back into reality and out of the world that the author creates. Perhaps this is merely personal preference, but there were certain passages that just felt too out of place for me.
Though the idea was more than sound, Alexander places too much importance on the concept alone. I had difficulty connecting with many of the characters and felt that not enough development when into them. The plot itself was rather straightforward. Still enjoyable, in many chapters, but others tended to drag. As a whole, the pace of the novel feels rather inconsistent. It would be useful, I think, for Alexander to spend more time really diving into his characters. The more connection the reader has to them, the more powerful the story will be.
Other than that, I would strongly advise Alexander to pay more attention to detail. I found quite a few grammatical and formatting errors that could have easily been fixed. Along with mixing tenses, the errors alone bring this rating down one star. Combined with the lack of depth in the characters, and the slips into modern language, I rate this book 3/5 stars. The Last Valentine most definitely has some wonderful chapters, and any romantics out there will certainly find some moments of enjoyment in it. Romance and historical fiction readers, I think, would also enjoy this story.
Remember that this is just my opinion! A lot of people gave it 5/5 stars! To see other reviews, along with the book itself, head on over to OnlineBookClub.org!