What do you do when life thrusts you in the middle of living and dying? The story focuses on a young woman named Lou Clark who lives in the corner of complacency. When her job at the Buttered Bun tea shop ends, she is forced to shift outside of the lines of comfort. She lands a job as a caretaker for a quadriplegic and it is here where her world is veered. She looks after Will Traynor-a successful business man who had a thirst for adventure until a motorcycle accident took away his knack for life. Will loses all joy and motivation in life, which adds to his laconic mood. Lou must find a way to inspire Will to not only be more spirited but also give him a reason to not end his own life. The two characters learn about each other, what life gives, and also to rely on those who help you. Lou grows just as much as Will does, and the inter-webbing and slow romance of the two characters are just as intricate as the novel itself.
Moyes did a fantastic job at creating a love story that is special and slow moving, yet keeps you turning the pages rapidly to see how the story pans out. I liked how she incorporated modern ideals of what love is, yet kept a hint of classic boy-meets girl/tragic love story. The novel was definitely a page turner, and I found myself really enjoying it. The language is simple and concise, and it was difficult to pinpoint any elements I didn’t like. The story is a bit predictable and the ending was exactly how I imagined. However it didn’t take away from the chemistry between Lou and Will which was great. The romance in the novel was natural and not overly contrived. While there are bits of the book that seem a tad cheesy and reminded me of a Lifetime movie, it wasn’t an overt push to be sentimental and idealistic.
The book deals with life choices, and the reality of being terminally ill. The characters are given choices of life vs. death, much like the reader is given the same choices. Moyes raises the question of what do we do with life? Do we remain in our comfort zones, afraid to explore the unknown, or do we dive into life head first ready for all that awaits us? There is an underlying lugubrious setting in the novel, and Moyes doesn’t sugar coat it or cover it with false sentimentality, there is an honesty that the author pours out which makes the novel even more worthwhile.
Closing this novel, I am happy to say it was satiable and I enjoyed reading my first Jojo Moyes book. I didn’t cry at all, as many people have said to have done. But that is not uncommon for me as very few books have made me elicit a tear. Overall I gave this novel four stars. I would recommended this book to those who like a bit of melancholy with their plate of romance. Happy reading!