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