The One Plus One – JoJo Moyes

The One Plus One


To be published 27 February 2014 by Penguin

From Goodreads:

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.

My thoughts:

Single mum Jess is struggling. Since her husband Marty upped and left she has tried to provide for their young daughter Tanzie (Constanza) and teenage stepson Nicky (Marty’s son from a previous relationship). She has to do two jobs but the debts are mounting and despite her positive outlook and cheerfulness, she can’t see life getting better any time soon. When maths prodigy Tanzie is offered the chance of a partly paid scholarship to go to an exclusive and very expensive school more suited to her incredible talent, Jess is desperate to find the funds.

Ed Nicholls is a computer whizz. He and his friend Ronan have built up their own software company and having sold it, are now very rich. However he was happiest when he was just the ideas man, before the “suits” came in and ran everything.

JoJo Moyes has long been a favourite author and when I was given the opportunity to review this book, I was overjoyed. She just writes a wonderful story with such believable characters that you can engage with and feel that you could be friends with.

Jess and Ed have completely different lifestyles but when Ed comes to Jess’ aid following a road accident, all four (plus Norman the dog) end up travelling to Scotland together to a maths Olympiad competition. This is Tanzie’s only chance to get out of the local school where people that are clever or different, like her brother Nicky, are teased and bullied. Nicky has been attacked several times by the local bullies and Jess does not want that to happen to Tanzie.

Due to an error of judgement, Ed is now facing a police investigation. He has nowhere to be for the moment and since he recognises Jess as his cleaner, he decides to help. However he hadn’t reckoned on sharing the car with Norman, a smelly, flatulent, drooling, enormous mass of fur. Neither had he considered that he wouldn’t be able to drive above 40 miles an hour because of Tanzie’s car sickness. Hence a journey from the south coast to Scotland would take several days.

I fell in love with Jess and her family (…and also with Norman). None of them are perfect, but they try to be good people and to do the right thing but time and time again life just slaps them in the face. Whilst during the journey, Jess discovers a secret about her husband, you can’t help but feel for her. Ed too has his own demons to deal with, particularly when it comes to his family. Can Jess be the one to bring some meaning to his life or are they just too different?

All the characters are wonderfully written with emotion and humour. You just find yourself rooting for them and willing them to overcome the obstacles constantly thrown their way. I laughed with them and shed tears for them and felt quite sad when I came to the end of their journey. I really didn’t want to say goodbye.

My thanks to Real Readers for the copy to review

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