Louisa is just trying to make it through her days, which feels like an uphill battle. Still reeling from having played a supporting role in her charge/boyfriend, Will’s assisted suicide drama, she feels judged and she continues to judge herself. And while she’s struggled to live up to the standard she’d promised Will, having travelled and lived in foreign countries, and is living in a new apartment (barely decorated as it is), she hasn’t really moved on. One night, after coming home from her dead-end job as a bartender, she has a sudden, terrible accident. This and a visit from a truly unexpected guest send her life into a whirlwind of change that may finally put her on a path to healing.
I believe the key to Jojo Moyes’ success is the warmth that permeates her characters. She depicts this with such care, such as in descriptions of subtle movement: a nod here, a touch there, and the reader can intuit the emotions communicated in these tiny gestures. Once you fall in love with the characters, you of course need to know what happens. That is the key to being pulled in.
And then there is the layering of the plot, which she also does so well. There is Louisa’s struggle to cope with her loss. There is her parents’ issues with their marriage, given her mother’s awakened awareness of her stifled role in the family. There is a love interest for Louisa that emerges from a support group that Louisa joins – and then the support group itself. And her job struggle, which is very slightly comical, but really not. And there is the surprise guest, who comprises a huge sub-plot of the story and who tortures Louisa in some ways but who also helps Louisa in many others. And all of these plots are so smoothly woven together that the flow is natural and easy and sometimes utterly gripping.
So yes, once again, this second in the trilogy is great. I can’t wait to read number three!
(For those of you who aren’t aware, the first in the trilogy is Me Before You. The 3rd is Still Me.)