Imagine yourself in a car, with your daughter, your step son, a rather large slobbering dog and a man you hardly know. What would it be like? Then drive from the south of Britain to Scotland. Avoiding all motorways and not exceeding a speed limit of 40 miles of hour, it all sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Actually it turns out to be the turning point for Jess Thomas.
Jess is trying to hold her life together, she has two jobs and two children who are frightened of life, step son Nicky is being bullied and is trying to be different in a world that wants you to fit in with a stereotype. Tanzie, is a young maths whizz and has the opportunity to better her future by going to a private school. Trouble all of this needs money. Jess sees an opportunity and makes a decision.
Ed Nicholls has money, in fact he has quite a lot of money. But Ed has made a mistake and any decisions that he once made are taken away from him, he has nothing now.
Thrown together in this car, they discover who they are and also a lot about each other and what is important in life and it seems the answer might not necessarily be money.
Trouble is, money is what Ed has and Jess is in need of it. Can they both look past this?
This is the first Moyes that I have read, and was the choice of my book club. The main part of the story is the car journey and for me, I found this both moving and funny. I admit to laughing out loud to some of the things that Tanzie says. Her maths brain never seemingly being able to switch off. However outside of this car journey, it did rather slow down for me and sort of lost its momentum in moving the story on. It is at these points I felt the book could have been a lot shorter than it actually was and I could not really believe that Jess could let her husband walk away for two years without actively trying to do something about it. She was determined to do right for her kids why not her husband? That was probably the only part where I felt that actually maybe this was not quite believable, but this is only a small point and my opinion.
What I can say about this book, is how it is very much a book of its time, the main characters are human they have strengths and weakness and Moyes shows how all these things shape a person and how they can ultimately help you change and find out who you really are and want to be. That was certainly the case with Nicky. We see how social media and technology is playing a dangerous part in our lives, Nicky seems to be the victim of such behaviour. Families are no longer the two point four children they are an amalgamation of the various parts of our lives and somehow it works, even for Jess in the end. Even the slobbering dog has a part to play is the new family life.
Yes this is a book about romance at its core and sometimes that is all a book needs, but not in this case it gives you more and shows you that togetherness is important and the people around you who you love. Money can only enhance it, it cannot bring it. A book of 2014 and if you want to know about social culture then this would be a good example.
As I say in my review, this is the first Jojo Moyes I have read. I am aware of Me Before You but have never read it, I think perhaps I need to, so I can compare to this latest work. Have you read Me Before You?