Let me get a couple little quibbles out of the way, because I really, truly liked this book.
First, and I know I keep harping on this, but James Patterson is not a great writer of dialog. Some of the lines he gives these characters, especially toward the beginning of the book, are full-on hack writing.
Secondly. You know the thing in the movies, product placement, where the film company gets money from a company for showing its product in the film? Like Bruce Willis is fighting the bad guys in a Die Hard movie, and he stops to pop open a delicious frosty can of Coke? I swear Patterson has a similar kind of deal going. He not only tells us that Jennifer drives a Jaguar, he tells us it's a midnight blue '96 Jaguar Vanden Plas (whatever that means), with dual gas tanks. Jennifer smokes Newport Lights, drinks Uncommon Ground takeout coffee, and listens to Ella Fitzgerald, not just on her stereo, but on her Bose. Patterson tells us all this in the space of 2-3 pages, most of it in 2-3 lines of the first chapter of the book. Luckily, he cools it with the product placement later in the story, because the blatant product name-dropping would have been soooo annoying right in the middle of what turns out to be a beautiful love story. Actually, a pair of love stories, because (as the title suggests), Jennifer's grandmother Sam has written her a series of letters (that are interspersed among the regular chapters) telling her own tale of true love.
I know, "telling her own tale of true love" - sounds pretty sappy and saccharine sweet. Luckily, and a little surprisingly, the two love stories shared by Patterson are not sappy and saccharine sweet; they're beautifully written, a little funny at times, with moments that made me smile and moments that (almost) made me cry.
As with most books I've read over the last coupla years, this was part of our Reading with Karen project, where we're reading the to-read list of my late sister. Would Karen have liked this? No. She would have loved this! It would have left her (to use her own expression) bawl-bagging, crying big
tears and sad tears both.