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Reviewed by Caitlin Lyle Farley for Readers' Favorite
The Last Valentine is just one of many secrets in the Puerto Rican city of Old Sienna. When Olivia finds a bloodstained love letter in her father’s coat, she becomes entranced by the poetic longing scribed on the page. She resolves to place the letter in the legendary Labyrinth of Love Letters. Even the discovery that the letter is a stolen piece of evidence in the unsolved murder of an unidentified man does not deter her from her goal. Olivia convinces her close friend, Isaac, to help her. Little does the pair know that some of the Labyrinth’s secrets are deeper and darker than the letters exchanged between forbidden lovers. One of those secrets would mean death for Olivia if she were ever to discover it.
The Last Valentine is a novel of romantic love in all its forms, from happy ever afters and the loneliness of unrequited love, to the tragedy of impossible, secret romances confined to whispers and the cover of darkness. There were times when I thought it was glorifying the unhealthy side of romance a bit much, but it works in the context and fits the theme. Felix Alexander’s writing is poetic and evokes a great sense of mood throughout. This is accentuated and refined by its '30s setting and the classicist attitudes of this era. The characters all intertwine and connect with each other, often in ways I didn’t anticipate, and their motives direct the plot down a path littered with deep, dark secrets.