Book Review: Paris For One And Other Short Stories.

 

jojomoyesWith the aid of the excellent Jojo Moyes I’ve discovered that, when it comes to short stories, I’ve been missing a trick.

I’ve always been certain that they were not for me. I like to really get to know characters and absorb myself in the story and I didn’t think that was possible in anything other than a book.

In her collection, Paris For One And Other Short Stories, Jojo has shown me the error of my ways.

Here’s the blurb:

A collection of 11 unmissable short stories from the number one internationally bestselling author of Me Before You and After You.

Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a romantic weekend away-to anywhere-before. Travelling abroad isn’t really her thing. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up, she has the chance to prove to everyone-including herself- that she can be independent and intrepid. Alone in Paris, Nell finds a version of herself she never knew existed . . .

In the ten other stories, Jojo Moyes introduces us to a cast of strong, relatable women in the midst of their everyday lives. In Honeymoon in Paris, featuring characters from her bestselling novel, The Girl You Left Behind, Liv and Sophie – though decades apart – both find that marriage is only the beginning of their love stories.

In Crocodile Shoes, a businesswoman’s blossoming confidence emerges from a fateful changing-room mix-up.

And in both Love in the Afternoon and A Bird in the Hand, two couples dance around the trickiness of long-time marriage.

In this irresistible collection, readers will be whisked from elegant perfume shops to taxis to five-star hotel rooms and more.

I’ve only read two previous books by this author, Me Before You (like most of the rest of the world) and then After You, but I enjoyed them so much that it was enough to convince me to try her short stories.

From the acknowledgements I discovered that several have been published/broadcast on the radio before but they were all new to me – and there wasn’t a single one I disliked.

I really enjoy stories that make the ordinary feel extraordinary, which many of these do.

While her trademark warmth, she brings the characters to life in almost vivid detail.

I see now that it takes proper talent to write short stories – especially as good as these – so I certainly won’t be turning my nose up any more.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £9.49.

My rating: Four stars.

Thank you to Penguin UK Michael Joseph for the ARC in return for an honest review.

My Sunday Photo – February 12th, 2017.

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My poor camera has been neglected this week as, after much effort on her part, Freya finally infected me with her germs.

As a result, this week’s My Sunday Photo is from a recent trip to Banham Zoo. It was pretty cold but otherwise a clear day and we virtually had the place to ourselves. You might remember that last year I fell in love with a ring-tailed lemur (at the sister zoo, Africa Alive) but on this visit it was all about the red-ruffed lemur (I’m so fickle).

I also got to hold a millipede, which I was VERY excited about – probably more excited than Freya who took it in her stride.

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So cute!
I hope you’ve had a happy (and healthy) week.
Photalife

Book Review: If Ever I Fall.

ifieverI was glad I didn’t have anything planned immediately after finishing S D Robertson’s second novel, If Ever I Fall.

Early on it felt like two hands reached out of the pages and hauled me into this powerful, compelling and emotional story – and they didn’t release their grip until the final words had been read.

At that point I felt slightly shell shocked and I definitely needed some time to think about the characters, time to process all of the events that had taken place and, most of all, time to acclimatise back into my own life.

This book is well written, clever and absorbing and it definitely warrants five stars, in my opinion.

Here’s the blurb:

Is holding on harder than letting go?

Dan’s life has fallen apart at the seams. He’s lost his house, his job is on the line, and now he’s going to lose his family too. All he’s ever wanted is to keep them together, but is everything beyond repair?

Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered. Nights are spent trying to hold terrible memories at bay, to escape the pain that threatens to engulf her.

Jack wakes up confused and alone. He doesn’t know who he is, how he got there, or why he finds himself on a deserted clifftop, but will piecing together the past leave him a broken man?

In the face of real tragedy, can these three people find a way to reconcile their past with a new future? And is love enough to carry them through?

I can’t say anything else about the story without giving away the plot but it gradually becomes clear and I think it works really well.

There are changes in tenses that make it easier to keep up and while it is gritty in places, it is packed with emotion throughout.

The fact that it is one of those rare works of fiction that details exactly what it’s like to work for a local newspaper at present is an added bonus – although perhaps that should be expected given that S D Robertson (“feel free to call me Stuart” it says on his website) was a local newspaper editor before leaving to pursue his writing dreams.

His debut novel, Time To Say Goodbye, spent more than six weeks in the Kindle Top 20 and I think he’s got another hit on his hands here.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £2.99

My Rating: Five Stars.