This book was published in February 2017 by Felix Alexander
Set in Puerto Rico before the dust had settled from the Spanish-American War, The Last Valentine begins with Olivia Villalobos discovering a bloodstained love letter in a coat belonging to her father, Chief Inspector, Sedenoa. Intrigued about why her father is apparently hiding the letter from the police station, Olivia suspects it is related to an unsolved murder that recently occurred in the community.
After discussing the letter with her best friend, Isaac, Olivia decides that the two of them must get the letter to its intended recipient, which means finding the Labyrinth of Love Letters. Believed by many locals to be merely an urban legend, other older citizens claimed the Labyrinth was a real series of secret tunnels created beneath the historic district of Old Sienna so that forbidden lovers could keep their love alive through the exchange of love letters.
Determined to locate the secret Labyrinth of Love Letters, Olivia and Isaac set out on a journey that leads to the opening of the metaphorical “Pandora’s Box,” where forbidden love, lies, greed, corruption, and murder are all revealed. Surprisingly, Olivia and Isaac also learn secrets about their parents and family history that could change everything they know about love.
Throughout their search for the Labyrinth of Love Letters, both Olivia and Isaac must make hard choices about who they truly love, and how it will affect their timeless friendship.
A combination of history, mystery, and romance, The Last Valentine hooks you from the beginning with its intriguing, unique plot and holds you spellbound until the end. With a writing style likened to popular authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabella Allende, Felix Alexander’s lyrical and poetic and prose emphasizes the romanticism of The Last Valentine. Beautiful place description and word usage take the reader back in time to Old Sienna, Puerto Rico, amid the Spanish architecture and foggy cemetery scenes.
The only critical comment I can make about this book is that it sometimes chronicles the history of several minor characters. Before long, I found myself wondering who was who, and how are they relate to the plot–so, this novel could use better development. Moreover, there are some grammatical and punctuation errors here and there that should be edited, although they did not take anything away from the story for me. The conclusion is predictable–not necessarily a happy ending—but an immensely satisfying one.
The Last Valentine is one of those books that stays with you long after you have read the last page. Its unique plot, romantic mystique, and esthetic prose leave a lasting mark upon you, and for this reason, I gladly give it a 5/5 stars rating.