Good evening readers, I am so glad it is Friday the weekend really couldn’t come quickly enough. This week has shot by in a flash but despite this, I cannot wait for the weekend to begin. Travelling home is a weekly affair but this weekend because Mumma B is extremely busy it didn’t make sense to make the two and a half hour train ride back to Silverstone so it’s a weekend tidying and sorting which sounds kind of perfect. The only bug bare of this week is my rook piercing has broken; I thought this was down to me playing with it too much but this morning the other half has broken off and I’ve been being really careful with it, so a trip to Hanley and a new piercing place is on the cards. The temptation to get another one is almost too much to bear but we’ll see how I feel in the afternoon. Now this book is one that I bought myself; when we went to Glasgow I got up ridiculously late and forgot to put a book in my bag so on the way home I nipped into a bookstore and picked up this. Jojo Moyes is normally a pretty solid choice when it comes to needing a good book so I put faith into finding this enjoyable; well seeing as I was up until one reading it last night I think she might have written another winner.
I found this book really enjoyable although I must admit it’s potentially because I have taken a break from the romance genre. I have always loved a good chick-flick type of book (I hate the term romantic-comedy) but we’ve had a bit of a break-up. They all seem to follow the same patter, sappy or quirky female is lonely and hurt by a previous relationship, finds brooding man who is also broken but devilishly handsome, they start a blistering relationship together even though they know they both shouldn’t, something both shocking and unrealistic happens ending in a pool of tears, they break up with one of them saying something so clichéd I want to vomit and then in the last chapter they end up back together riding into the sunset on a horse, planning their marriage in Paris together. Okay, maybe not the horse but you get my drift, and for the last couple of months I’ve got to the end of one of these books, sworn loudly then thrown the book at the wall and got into bed pulling a blanket over my head. Please for the sake of us poor book bloggers stop. Just stop.
Starting reading this, a couple of chapters in I was feeling the same feeling of ‘here we go again,’ but keep going because this book revolves more around family than it does about riding into the sunset. The book follows four characters, Jess a cleaner who is barely keeping her head above water and her two children Tanzie, her beloved daughter with a very solid skill in maths and Nicky, her step-son who is a little quirky and going through that odd angsty teenage boy phase. They are contrasted with Ed, who seems to have got himself in a bit of a pickle; after a quick fling with a high-school crush he has given away insider-trading details to get her off of his back and out of his life but it has come back to bite him and his company and lawyer have segregated him from everyone to stop the media circling. As you can imagine he’s having a rough time. Jess his cleaner is also a bit out of sorts; Tanzie’s skill set means that she has got into a top school but the fees are astronomical and when a maths Olympiad in Scotland rears its head she knows she has to get her daughter there as the winnings will pay that all important money. After a brief encounter with the police (driving minus insurance and a license) Jess bumps into Ed; the two are pushed together as they travel up to Scotland, her for her daughter to participate in the Olympiad him to see his sick father who he is terrified of disappointing.
So before you label me a hypocrite, yes it does seem a little unbelievable and there are a few clichés; even I can admit this. But throughout the story the book really doesn’t focus on the relationship that builds between Jess and Ed, but instead the family ties that begin to grow between the four of them. Nicky is going through a particularly bad time with a set of rough bullies who are making his life hell. The bonds that are created between Ed and him feel genuine and real and as their roadtrip continues they begin to feel like a real family. Additionally with this the author really plays with the idea of class and how the rich and the poor live; Tanzie is incredibly quick with numbers and when Ed mentions certain aspects of his life that he thinks of as normal Tanzie quickly points out the differences between how their two lives are different through sums. Each of the characters is very well built up in terms of characterisation; Jess is a typical mother, very loving and warm and she will do anything to protect her children, Tanzie is sweet and gutsy but she panics at times and her vulnerability only helps to show how strong Jess is as a mother. Ed is gentle and dutiful and his calming nature and ‘good guy persona’ helps to create a contrast between the two adults. Nicky is a teenager who hasn’t quite found his way and watching the two adults try and work around his difficult personality added another weaving storyline.
The plot moves with pace and you find yourself gambling through; there is a romantic side to the book but for me it takes a back foot although if you read the blurb you might find it hard to believe. The love story is there but it is in the background waiting to be heard rather than screaming to be read. The love story comes from both Ed and Jess putting themselves back together and realising that the comfort they find in each other is genuine and real and as the storyline continues both of them battle with the ordeals they have had with previous partners. Jess with her partner Marty and Ed with his ex wife who he just can’t shake. They both understand the importance of time and instead of focusing on the blistering heat of falling for one another they understand that their lives are too complicated and they have to live in the moment; it left a warm happy feeling in my belly.
Overall I really needed this book to get me to rethink the romance genre. It’s something that I used to really enjoy reading but clichés and embarrassing erotic scenes have put me off them. This book definitely got me thinking again about the different books that are out there in the genre of romance but that use it lightly like the cherry on the top of a cake. Yes the book does use romance and it takes a bigger part towards the end but it’s definitely worth a look more for the family aspect contrasted with the romantic theme. For the interesting character profiles and the real use of family I would definitely recommend this book!