Tag Archives: Jojo Moyes

STILL ME by Jojo Moyes

Most people have heard of (seen? read?) Me Before You (reviewed here), Jojo Moyes’ wrenching novel about Louisa Clarke and Will Traynor, the paraplegic whom she served as a personal companion and who opted for assisted suicide at the end of the book. Moyes followed up her bestselling novel with After You (reviewed here), about Lou’s life in England after Will’s death. And the third book in the trilogy, Still Me, takes Lou to New York City, where she is hired to be a companion to a rich woman on the Upper East Side.

So here’s the deal with Still Me. It’s not nearly as good as Me Before You, and not as good as After You, but it’s still dependably entertaining Jojo Moyes. She knows how to tell a good story. In this installment, Lou faces her share of challenges and issues, but overall the book punches a much weaker emotional wallop than its predecessors. It’s nice to see Lou gain more confidence and navigate some moral quandaries, and still come through on top in the end. The characters, from enigmatic Agnes to MBA pretty boy Sam, are memorable and occasionally surprising. But you pretty much know that things will end up OK for Lou, and they do.

If you’ve read the other two books and you want to see what happens next to Lou, then pick up Still Me. But don’t start off with Still Me – you’ll be missing out on the emotional core of her story.

I listened to Still Me on audio, which I recommend. It was narrated by Anna Acton, who narrated After You, and to me, she IS Lou Clarke. She had a slightly hard time with the American accents, but I loved her precise English delivery of the rest of the novel. The story kept me interested throughout, which made for an engaging audiobook.

AFTER YOU by Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You was a big hit when it came out a few years ago, and I really liked it too. It’s the story of Louisa Clark, a working-class young woman in England who is hired to take care of a wealthy paraplegic named Will. Louisa and Will develop an improbable friendship that deepens into something romantic, but Louisa loses him when he goes through with his plan to take his own life. (Incidentally, Me Before You is being turned into a movie – watch the trailer here).

Presumably at her fans’ urging, Moyes decided to revisit Louisa and wrote a sequel to Me Before You called After You, which picks up about a year and a half after Will’s death. Louisa has used the money Will left her to travel through Europe and buy a flat in London. But she’s still adrift, grieving his loss and toiling at a dead-end job as a bartender at an airport restaurant. One night, she returns home after a long night at work, and, while standing on her roof terrace, loses her footing and falls down one story to the balcony below. Louisa’s fall brings on the next stage of her life: a reconciliation with her family (after an estrangement due to her role in Will’s death), the introduction of someone from Will’s past, and a grief recovery group that leads Louisa to a possible love interest.

I enjoyed After You. The pacing is perfect (has this book been optioned yet?) and the characters are fresh and real. Sure, the writing and characters are sometimes cliched – Louisa’s family and her grief support group are textbook “quirky” – but Louisa is a compelling character to follow. She is relatable and self-deprecating, and you want good things to happen for her. Her romance has some ups and downs, and the emotional core of the book – Louisa’s relationship with the figure from Will’s past – is similarly bumpy. So while things don’t just sail along, this is classic Moyes territory – you have a general sense that everything will mostly turn out OK.

Is After You as good as Me Before You? No. It doesn’t pack the emotional punch of its predecessor. But it does take a look at grief from a number of perspectives, showing how the loss of someone you love can impact many facets of your life, with reverberations extending years past their death. And again, it’s classic Moyes – a satisfying page-turner.

I listened to After You on audio. The narrator, Anna Acton, was just perfect. Her precise British accent and her ability to moderate her voice to cover all of Louisa’s emotional states (insecurity, sadness, anger, lust) – they added up to a really good audio experience. Her voice was vaguely familiar to me, but I can’t find anything that she narrated that I’ve listened to before. I found myself eager to get back in the car so that I could resume listening to the audiobook – always the sign of a good book AND performance.

 

ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes

That Jojo Moyes knows how to tell a story.

read Moyes’ runaway hit, Me Before You, last year and really enjoyed it. It had surprising heft to it, yet was readable and entertaining. I’ve gotten a few of her subsequent books, and decided to give her latest, One Plus One, a try this month. I was concerned from the description that it was going to be like “Little Miss Sunshine”, which I didn’t love, but was pleasantly surprised to learn that it wasn’t at all.


In One Plus One, Moyes creates another down-on-her luck heroine, Jess, who is trying to support herself and her two offbeat kids with low paying jobs that never let her make ends meet. Her son (who is not even really her son) dresses Goth and doesn’t fit in, and has just gotten beaten up by the bullies at school. Her 9 year-old daughter Tanzie is a math genius who also doesn’t fit in. Tanzie has been offered a generous scholarship to a fancy private school, but Jess can’t afford the fees. When the school encourages her to take Tanzie to a Math Olympiad taking place in Scotland (many hours away), she’s desperate enough to try to get there in the hopes of Tanzie winning the contest and putting her winnings toward tuition.

Enter the love interest. Ed, a wealthy software entrepreneur facing an insider trading charge, owns a beach home that Jess cleans. Ed and Jess cross paths a few times, and each time he makes a terrible impression on her. Then he comes across Jess and her kids broken down on the road en route to Scotland. He impulsively agrees to drive them himself… and the subsequent road trip that forms the heart of One Plus One kicks off.

I loved the characters in One Plus One. Each chapter alternates with a different narrator so the reader gets to know each of them. Like Me Before You, the pacing is perfect. There are some unexpected twists (though there are also some Hollywood screenplay predictable moments). The relationships evolve at a natural pace and never feel forced or rushed. No one is perfect, but you can’t help rooting for them to get their happy ending.

One Plus One is an entertaining, satisfying read. I experienced it on audio, which was perfect. Narrators were spot on, accents were delightfully British, and I loved the shifting perspectives. I recommend the audio.

Winners of Recent Giveaways

Congratulations to the winners of recent giveaways on EDIWTB:

The winner of A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner is Kelly S.!

And the winner of The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes is Amy M.!

Thanks to everyone for entering.  More giveaways to come in March.

Giveaway: THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER by Jojo Moyes

Happy Valentine’s Day, EDIWTB readers! I hope you have a romantic and relaxing holiday.

As I mentioned yesterday, I am currently surrounded by upcoming releases that look very promising.

Last year, I read and loved Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes, a book that swept the blogosphere and deservedly landed on a lot of best-of-2013 lists. In Will and Louisa, Moyes created one of the more enduring couples that I’ve come across in recent fiction.

It seems fitting to feature Jojo Moyes on Valentine’s Day. Before Me Before You, she wrote a novel called The Last Letter From Your Lover. From Amazon:

A Brief Encounter for our time, The Last Letter from Your Lover is a sophisticated, spellbinding double love story that spans decades and thrillingly evokes a bygone era. In 1960, Jennifer Stirling wakes in the hospital and remembers nothing—not the car accident that put her there, not her wealthy husband, not even her own name. Searching for clues, she finds an impassioned letter, signed simply “B,” from a man for whom she seemed willing to risk everything. In 2003, journalist Ellie Haworth stumbles upon the letter and becomes obsessed with learning the unknown lovers’ fate—hoping it will inspire her own happy ending. Remarkably moving, this is a novel for romantics of every age.

I have one copy of The Last Letter From Your Lover to read and review, and one to give away to an EDIWTB reader. If you’d like to win a copy of this romantic book, leave me a comment below. I will pick a winner next Friday, February 21.

Good luck!

Jojo Moyes AUDIOBOOK Giveway

Some updates on my Jojo Moyes giveaway. The winner of the paperback of Me Before You and the hardcover of Moyes’ new novel, The Girl You Left Behind, was Anne. Congratulations, Anne!

If you didn’t win… I received a copy of the audiobook of Me Before You yesterday. I’ve already read the book so I’d like to give away the audiobook. If you’re interested in winning the audio of Me Before You, please leave me a comment here. I will pick a winner on Friday August 16 (I am traveling between now and then).

And in other news, Publishers Weekly has a fall 2013 preview article out. There are SO MANY promising books coming out this fall! Check out the list and let me know what you’re excited for.

Jojo Moyes Giveaway!

If you were reading EDITWB in the spring, you know that I read and reviewed Me Before You, Jojo Moyes’ novel about euthanasia told through the lens of Lou and Will, two of the more memorable characters I have come across in fiction. Me Before You got a lot of buzz last spring, and a lot of people have told me that they read it based on my review or others they read online.

Well, I have some some exciting Jojo Moyes news to report…

First, she has a new book out – The Girl You Left Behind – and second, Me Before You just came out in paperback!

Here’s what The Girl You Left Behind is about:


France, 1916:  Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer’s dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything—her family, her reputation, and her life—to see her husband again.

Almost a century later, Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the painting’s true worth, and a battle begins for who its legitimate owner is—putting Liv’s belief in what is right to the ultimate test.

The Girl You Left Behind is a breathtaking story of love, loss, and sacrifice told with Moyes’s signature ability to capture our hearts with every turn of the page.

I have copies of Me Before You (in paperback) and The Girl You Left Behind to give away to an EDIWTB reader. If you’d like to win these books, leave me a comment here and I will let Random.org do its magic next Friday, August 9.

Good luck!