Jojo Moyes

All posts tagged Jojo Moyes

Sheltering Rain – Jojo Moyes

Published May 24, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Joy is estranged from her only daughter, Kate, and knows little of her sixteen-year-old granddaughter Sabine. But all that is about to change when Sabine arrives, seeking shelter at her grandparents’ house in Ireland — the very place from which her mother, Kate, ran years before.

Suddenly, with an impetuous and inquisitive young woman in the house, Joy finds herself facing long-buried secrets of her past. And Kate, too, must bridge the painful chasm between herself, her daughter, and ultimately, her mother. Coming together, these three generations discover fundamental truths about love, duty, and the unbreakable bond that unites them as mother, daughters, and women.

What did I think?:

I have become a huge fan of Jojo Moyes work ever since reading her fantastic novel Me Before You and have made it my mission to read her back catalogue. This is why I was particularly excited to read her debut novel Sheltering Rain which was first published in 2002. This is a novel about three generations of women – Joy who spent many of her formative years in Hong Kong in the 1950’s which is also where she met and married her soldier husband Edward. They had perhaps what could be called a whirlwind romance with Edward proposing within days of meeting Joy and marrying her when he next returned to the country. Their marriage appears to be idyllic especially when Joy compares her life to that of her friends, and to be honest I’m not a big believer or fan of what they now call “insta-love,” so I was a teeny bit sceptical of their entire relationship. However, I should not have doubted the author, as years later certain events are uncovered that show the darker side of their marriage, proving that nothing can always be perfect.

In the modern day setting, Joy and Edward own a successful horse farm in Kilcarrion, Ireland. They have a daughter Kate who is estranged from them and ran away from Ireland to London at a young age to escape the tensions and problems in the household. Kate also has a daughter called Sabine and history seems to be repeating itself as their relationship as mother/daughter is also quite fraught. Kate does not have the best luck romantically, and Sabine is getting a bit fed up with a succession of relationships that bring a father figure into her life for it to not work out and them being removed from her life. When Joy calls Kate from Ireland to tell her that her father Edward is very ill, Kate jumps at the chance for Sabine to go to the farm and get to know her grandmother and grandfather properly, whilst also giving her a break from Kate’s latest romantic disaster.

Sabine hates Ireland. She hates the farm and horses, and finds her iron-willed grandmother Joy very difficult to get to know, understand and get on with. Sabine also finds it very difficult to communicate with her old grandfather, misses all her friends and life in London and is still bitter and exasperated with her mother. Over time however, as we learn about all three generations of women and understand them all a bit better, the fragile relationships between the three appear to be slowly mending themselves. Before that happens there is still a lot of heart-ache to go through for all three, secrets to be unearthed and bridges to be built.

One of the things I loved about this book as with many of the authors novels is that you get a perspective from all three lead characters and a switch in time-lines from the past to the present day. This is such an effective tool in getting to know the characters as a reader and provides explanations for things that have happened which make them the person they are in modern times. I think I loved and got irritated by all three women in equal measures due to the consequences of certain actions in their pasts but I think one of the signs of a good story is that the characters should bring out some raw emotion in the reader. By the end of the novel, we have seen a change in Joy, Kate and Sabine for the better due to their experiences, but I also enjoyed that the author did not try and sugar-coat their lives in that it will be a “happy ever after” for them all, and that there would still be challenges ahead.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

NEXT JOJO MOYES READ: The Ship of Brides coming soon!

WWW Wednesday #40

Published May 7, 2014 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

 

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, and thanks as ever to MizB for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?:

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I’m in the middle of reading all of Jojo Moyes past works and this is her debut novel which I’m about halfway through and really enjoying, as expected!

What did you recently finish reading?:

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I have finally managed to finish this excellent series by Veronica Roth. What did I think of the ending? You’ll have to come back and read my review to find out! (teehee)

What do you think you’ll read next?:

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Next up I’m reading Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld as part of a “Talking about” feature I do with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads. It’s part of the Richard and Judy Spring Book Club here in the UK and I’m looking forward to checking it out.

 

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come pay you a visit! Happy Reading Everyone!

 

The One Plus One – Jojo Moyes

Published April 28, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

One single mum
With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it’s hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t. Because you have to . . .

One chaotic family
Jess’s gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she’ll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess’s teenage stepson, can’t fight the bullies alone. 
Sometimes Jess feels like they’re sinking . . .

One handsome stranger
Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it’s like to be lonely. And he wants to help . . .

One unexpected love story
The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.

What did I think?:

I was really excited to read this latest Jojo Moyes book having loved her previous books that I have managed to read and am in the process of working through her back catalogue. I knew I was going to enjoy it when I realised that each chapter is voiced by a different character in the story, and they are all such interesting, intriguing voices that it manages to stay fresh and bring something new to each segment. Our heroine is Jess Thomas, a single mother with two children to look after who is managing to hold down two jobs – cleaning and working in a pub to try and make ends meet. Her daughter, Tanzie is incredibly bright and gifted mathematically and is presented with an amazing opportunity to attend an exclusive school where her gift can be nurtured and developed in the right hands. However, the fees are astronomical – even with a scholarship she would still have to pay a large amount and Jess has no idea where she is meant to find that kind of money from. Meanwhile, Nicky who is actually her stepson, is being tormented by bullies at school to the point where he is being physically attacked just for being a bit different, and Jess does not know how to help him or what to do for the best.

Then we have Ed Nicholls, a man who has made it big in the software business but has made the huge mistake of telling a woman he was dating that the stocks on his company were going to rise considerably in the next few days (so she can make some money and he can get rid of her!) Unfortunately there is now a police investigation going on and Ed now faces prosecution for insider trading and he is unable to return to work until the matter is resolved. He decides getting drunk would be a brilliant plan of action and chooses the pub that Jess works in to drown his sorrows. She recognises him as she is also his cleaner, and manages to get him home safe and sound after he becomes completely obliterated with drink.

Switching back to Jess and her children, Jess has found out that they are running a Maths Olympiad in Scotland and with the prize, there is a chance Tanzie would be able to attend the school of her dreams. Jess is becoming increasingly worried about the attacks on Nicky, and doesn’t want Tanzie to suffer because she is seen as different from the “norm.” They set out to drive to Scotland but end up breaking down by the side of the road and who should come swooping into the rescue but Ed who happens to be driving past, recognises Jess from the previous embarrassing night of drunkenness, and when he hears her predicament, offers to drive them all the whole way to Scotland. Yup, Jess, her two children and a slobbering, smelly but loveable dog called Norman (who I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention!) on the road trip of a life time. During the very long trip as they have to travel at 40 MPH to prevent Tanzie getting car-sick, we find out a lot more about all the characters, love begins to blossom and a dysfunctional but happy family begins to develop.

I can’t give Jojo Moyes enough praise as an incredible author who knows just how to get the reader falling in love with her creations and rooting for them right until the end. What I loved most about this book was that it was about normal people, some with extraordinary talents, that are just trying to catch a break, and you just want things to start going right for them in their lives. My own family can possibly be described as a bit er…..(I want to say crazy, but I mean it in the best way!), and it was lovely and quite comforting to read about another chaotic family who work through hardships and get on with life but love each other very much. My family have a sign up that says “REMEMBER, AS FAR AS ANYONE KNOWS, WE ARE A NORMAL FAMILY.” which I think sums us up quite well! The characters were all fantastic and instantly easy to relate to – yes, even Norman the smelly, farting hound and I was actually sad when the story ended and I had to leave them behind. Of course I’m not going to give away anything about the ending but it did make me well up with tears at one point… oh, you’ll just have to read it!!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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NEXT JOJO MOYES NOVEL: Her debut novel, Sheltering Rain – coming soon!

WWW Wednesday #36

Published April 9, 2014 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

 

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, and thanks as ever to MizB for hosting. I’ve got a great batch of books this week and can’t wait to tell you all about them!

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?:

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My sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads has been begging me to read this one for a while, she said that it “totally messed with her head” and that she needed to talk to me about it. So, here we go!

What did you recently finish reading?

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Philippa Gregory is one of my all-time favourite authors and I’ve just finished reading the latest in her Cousins War series which follows the royal family before the Tudors – the Plantagenets. I loved it, as expected so look out for my review coming soon!

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m making my way through all of Jojo Moyes books after loving Me Before You so much that I just had to read her back catalogue. This is her latest novel and I’m super excited to start it.

 

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come pay you a visit! Happy Reading Everyone!

Confessions of Two Bibliophiles #5

Published April 5, 2014 by bibliobeth

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CHAPTER FIVE – CHICK LIT: For or Against?

Beth,

I’ve been analysing my reading recently and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t enjoy chick-lit as much as I used to. As you know, it used to be pretty much all that I read. I’m not knocking it, I have read so many good chick-lit books, but I’m wondering why I don’t enjoy it much anymore. I’ve only found one author that I continue to adore. My old favourites are no longer favourites anymore! Do you think it’s because I’m reading more widely and opening my mind to new genres?

Now, I know that you really detest chick-lit! I want to know what it is that puts you off it so much? I know I don’t read it as much as I used to, but have you ever given chick-lit a chance?

Chrissi 
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Chrissi,
Oh dear, I just knew this chick-lit question was going to come up sooner or later! For anyone that doesn’t know my sister is slightly more of a fan than me of this particular genre and we enjoy teasing each other about it. I am quite surprised that you aren’t enjoying chick-lit as much as you used to but I have just a teensy tiny smile on my face as I hope that I have opened your eyes up to some exciting new genres! I think this is probably why you aren’t enjoying it as much as you did, that used to be the only thing you would really read – were you scared of trying something new and did you prefer to stick with your comfortable chick-lit that you knew you would always enjoy?
For me, chick-lit just doesn’t float my boat. I have no problems with people who do read it as I think people should be encouraged to read whatever they like. As long as people are actually reading books who cares what the subject is? Why do I have a problem with chick-lit. Well…. (braces herself)…. I just don’t think it has much “substance?” It always seems to be the same old story, and I just don’t think there’s enough excitement or thrills in there to get me going. I have read some Cecilia Ahern and enjoyed it, and one of my favourite authors is Jojo Moyes, do you think they are classed as chick-lit? What does the word chick-lit mean to you?
I would certainly always give a book a chance (even if you see me screw up my face at a particularly slushy cover), do you think there’s a chick-lit book out there you could recommend that I could possibly enjoy?
Beth 
x
Beth,

I think you’re right, it is because I’m reading more genres. It just feels a bit sad to not enjoy it as much as I used to. I definitely need to find a good recommendation for you out of the many chick-lit authors I’ve enjoyed. You need to try one! I’ve tried Stephen King… it’s your turn now… Mwahahahaha!

I think some chick-lit can be a bit samey and happily ever after. But there are some exceptions to the rule.

I define chick-lit as something that is aimed towards females. I definitely think Cecelia Ahern fits into that mould. I’m not so sure about Jojo Moyes. I know Goodreads defines her as ‘women’s fiction’… well isn’t that chick-lit? Maybe there should be a new sub-genre…chick-lit-with-depth. She’d fit into there nicely.

Chrissi 
 x

Chrissi,
I now set you a challenge! You must recommend to me a chick-lit book that I promise faithfully that I will read and then let you know my opinion. Do you accept this challenge? I may have proved you wrong with Stephen King maybe you will prove me wrong with chick-lit?
I agree that chick-lit is something that is aimed towards women, although don’t you think that’s such a sexist category? Like we could only read those types of books otherwise our brains may implode?! And what’s the difference between women’s fiction and chick-lit anyway? Maybe the former appeals to women but isn’t necessarily as easy to read as chick-lit?
Beth
x
Beth,
 
I totally accept your challenge. I must now think hard about the book that I’m going to recommend you.

I’ve never really thought about it before, but you’re right, it is a sexist category. I’m sure both sexes would enjoy a lighter read.

I always assumed that woman’s fiction and chick-lit were the same thing, but I’ve recently seen it categorised as two different things. Maybe woman’s fiction might be more directed towards those that don’t fit into that Young Adult age range and as you say it’s not as easy to read as chick-lit. I kind of have a problem with putting an age limit on books though. Adults enjoy young adult and i’m sure some Young Adult fans like chick-lit. Again, why should it be easier to read if you’re a ‘chick’? We’re not stupid, and it feels like that term is dumbing down our reading choices.

So I don’t know the official distinction between woman’s fiction and chick-lit, but our chat has given me lots to think about.

Chrissi 

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So now it’s over to you! We’d love to hear some of your comments and ideas about chick-lit, are you in my camp or Chrissi’s? Am I totally wrong about chick-lit and if so why? Please feel free to join in our little debate.

The Peacock Emporium – Jojo Moyes

Published March 25, 2014 by bibliobeth

Peacock Emporium

What’s it all about?:

In the Sixties, Athene Forster is the most glamorous girl of her generation. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she is also beautiful, spoilt and out of control. When she agrees to marry dashing young heir Douglas Fairley-Hulme her parents breathe a sigh of relief. But within two years rumours have begun to circulate about Athene’s affair with a young salesman. Thirty five years on, Suzanna Peacock is struggling with her glamorous mother’s legacy. At odds with her father and his second wife, struggling in a stalled marriage, she returns to the place of her birth to find that the ghost of her mother, in differing ways, still haunts them all. The only place she finds comfort is in her shop, The Peacock Emporium, a coffee shop-cum-curio store, decorated in her own image, which provides a haven for other misfits in the town. There she makes perhaps the first real friends of her life, including Alejandro, a male midwife, escaping his own ghosts in Argentina. But the spectre of Athene and the shop itself combine to set in place a chain of tragic events, forcing Suzanna to confront the feelings she has disguised for so long – and her family, in their varying ways, finally to deal with the events of the past. And Suzanna discovers the key to her history, and her happiness, may have been in front of her all along.

What did I think?:

After finding a new favourite author in the form of Jojo Moyes, I’m now on a mission to read everything she ever wrote and today’s review is on The Peacock Emporium, published in 2004. Similar to the previous book I read – Foreign Fruit, the story is set in two time frames, the first is in the 1960’s and deals mainly with the fortunes of the aristocratic Fairley-Hulmes family, when the young heir Douglas falls madly in love with a woman he meets at one of their famed parties. Always one to stand out in a crowd, Athene Forster is beautiful and glamorous but also selfish and slightly wild according to the standards of the times. Blinded by her vivacity and spirit Douglas marries her but soon repents as Athene suddenly leaves him to have an affair with a salesman much to her families embarrassment and horror.

Cut to the present day and our protagonist is Suzanna Peacock, daughter of Athene, who hasn’t had an easy life under the shadow of her notorious mother. Her father Douglas re-married again and his second wife has raised Suzanna as if she were her own yet Suzanna has always felt like she did not belong in the family, and that her father preferred her half-siblings as she was a painful reminder of his first wife. On top of this she is also having problems in her own marriage, and does not know what to do for the best. For a bit of a distraction from her problems she puts into action one of her dreams, opening a store called The Peacock Emporium, selling beautiful and unique goods with a little help from some new friends, Jessie and Alejandro who both have skeletons in the closet themselves. When tragedy strikes, Suzanna realises the true meaning of family love and friendship and begins to put into place the jigsaw puzzle of her own life.

As with Foreign Fruit, I loved that part of this novel was set over two time frames. The author does a fantastic job of setting the scene and explaining the history behind the characters whilst knitting together a multi-layered and intriguing plot. Not only did I fall head over heels in love with the story but I thought some of the characters were truly wonderful. Among my favourites were wild-child Athene, the dependable Alejandro, and the troubled but vibrant Jessie. There are so many different strands to this story but I loved how past experiences of each character was blended together perfectly to form a tale with so many important messages about family and looking after the ones you love. You would think that a novel with so many layers may over-complicate things and hinder the reading process but I can honestly say that this was never a factor for me – I just enjoyed immersing myself in the lives of the fascinating people that Jojo Moyes created. Another Jojo Moyes book read, another thumbs up from me!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

NEXT JOJO MOYES READ: Her new novel The One Plus One – coming soon!

Foreign Fruit – Jojo Moyes

Published February 27, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Merham is a well-ordered 1950s seaside town – the kind of town in which everyone knows their place (and those who don’t are promptly put in it). Lottie Swift, an evacuee who has grown up with the respectable Holden family, loves Merham, while the Holdens’ daughter Celia chafes against the constraints of the town. When a group of bohemians takes over Arcadia, a stark Art Deco house on the seafront, the girls are as drawn to its temptations as Merham’s citizens are appalled by them. They set in place a chain of events both within the Holden family and Merham itself which will have longstanding and tragic consequences for all concerned. Now, almost fifty years on, Arcadia is returning to life, and its inhabitants stirring up strong feelings again. And prompting more than one person to look into their own romantic history and ask: Can you ever leave your past behind?

What did I think?:

Regular visitors to my blog will probably know that I’m a big fan of Jojo Moyes ever since she came to my awareness with books like Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind, but recently I have decided to read her back catalogue of work, this book being the first. Foreign Fruit was first published in 2003 and is set in two time periods, contemporary and the 1950’s but inter-links seamlessly to form a fascinating and compelling story. We start off in the 1950’s, in the sleepy seaside town of Merham, where everybody seems to know each others business, and keeping any kind of secret is practically impossible. We meet two girls, Lottie, who loves the town, is steady and reliable and has grown up with the Holden family as an evacuee during the war, and Celia, the Holden’s flighty and slightly rebellious daughter, who feels restricted by the holds of the town and her family and longs to break away.

This opportunity comes sooner than expected when a little excitement comes to the town in the form of a group of bohemians including an actress (shock horror!) who take over a property called Arcadia in the town and proceed to shake things up a little in the town, much to the horror of its inhabitants. In the end, after a slight scandal, Celia escapes to London, and Lottie remains with the Holden family. Fast forward a little while and Celia returns from London to visit the family with her new fiance Guy, which creates a host of problems for Lottie, and changes everything for both families and for Lottie in particular forever.

We then get a switch in the story to contemporary times, where the author introduces us to a woman called Daisy who has a young child and is having a terrible time. Her long-term boyfriend and father of her child has disappeared unable to cope with the demands of a baby, and Daisy is left alone literally holding the baby. To distract her from her personal issues, she has taken on a commission to re-decorate and re-design a house called Arcadia (yep, the same one in the 50’s story, glad you’re keeping up!) as a top class hotel, for a shrewd businessman who has taken over ownership of it. But when the old house comes back to life, some old problems start to rear their ugly heads along with it, and Daisy also finds herself re-evaluating her life and her choices.

Jojo Moyes as always pulls the reader in with a beautiful and convoluted plot that keeps the pages turning without ever becoming dull. I loved the array of characters that were presented and how the author made me feel part of the story rather than an outsider looking in. If I had to choose I would probably say that I preferred the 1950’s element of the story more than the contemporary as the time period just seemed to come alive on the pages, but I loved our contemporary character Daisy and felt sorry for her struggles as a single working mother, which feels very current and relevant by today’s standards! I also enjoyed the authors representation of some characters in a sleepy seaside town, where idle gossip and sticking your nose into everyone else’s business is standard, to get a bit of entertainment and to relieve the dullness and monotony of life. It did take a little while for the story to get a bit of momentum, but as soon as it did, I was hooked and had to read on to see how it would all play out. While I still prefer Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind by this author, this is a great read and one I would recommend for any fans of her work.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

NEXT JOJO MOYES READ: The Peacock Emporium – coming soon!