Do you have a pulse? Yes? Then there is a pretty good chance you have read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. There is also a really good chance that you went through a pack of tissues. With nearly a million ratings on GoodReads and with an average rating 4.26 stars, it’s safe to say that this book was a hit for Moyes. The book was made into a movie in 2016 starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Clafin, which was true to the story and brought this beloved story to life. Moyes has been publishing novels since the early 2000s, but none of her books have risen to the level of fame of Me Before You (published in 2012). Me Before You was such an interesting and heart-felt approach to some very difficult and complex issues. Lou, the main character, was quirky and completely lovable. Will was brooding, mysterious, and a bit of a crank who was softened up over time by Lou’s bubbling energy. This book really just had a lot going for it (can’t say the same for the sequels…). Keeping all of this success in mind, it’s exciting to know that Moyes has 10 other books in publication, and one more that is set to be released in October of this year, which has already been optioned for a movie! I have read several other books by Moyes and I would fully recommend giving her backlist a try. She writes female characters so well, whether in a contemporary setting or historical, what you love about Me Before You is bound to make an appearance. Below is a list of lesser-known books I would recommend by this well-known author.
One Plus One
Think Little Miss Sunshine meets As Good As It Gets, but set in the UK and being a little more normed out from the extreme characters in both of those movies. This story follows a single mom, Jess, who is a newly single mom of two. Her step-son is struggling with being bullied and her daughter is extremely advanced in mathematics. Jess is trying to hold it together and make ends meet with her house cleaning job when her daughter gets an amazing opportunity to compete in a Math Olympiad with a life-changing prize. Unsure of how to get there, Jess stumbles into an unlikely knight in shining armor while cleaning a vacation home. The geeky and socially awkward Ed finds himself driving this chaotic family across the country trying to make it to the competition. A heartwarming book that kept me turning the pages!
The Last Letter From Your Lover
This part historical fiction, part contemporary-ish fiction novel starts circa 1960 with a bang when you meet Jennifer as she is awaking from a coma unsure of who she is or how she got there. She quickly is placed back into her beautiful home with her husband who is now a stranger to her when she discovers a letter from “B” professing love and asking her to leave her husband. She is unsure of who this “B” is, but she tries to uncover his identity as well as herself from the bits and pieces of the trail she left behind. This story also follows Ellie in early 2000s who is working at a newspaper when she discovers the same letter that begins Jennifer’s search in the 1960s. Ellie, while also dealing with her own romantic woes, takes it upon herself to find out what happened to the lovers and discover their identities. This was a solid read that kept me guessing and wondering through to the very end. A very satisfying read with a sprinkle of mystery! You can see my full review here.
The Ship of Brides
Although this book took me a minute to get into, once I was in I was hooked. This story takes place right after WWII and follows a few women as they journey from their homes in Australia to the United Kingdom to reunite with their soldier husbands or betrothed who were stationed in their port throughout the war. This was based on a very unusual piece of history that I was not familiar with, which is always exciting to find amongst the ever popular historic setting of WWII. The women in the story that are the lead characters are very well-developed (part of the reason the start was a touch slow for me). The last half of the book has some unexpectedly heart-pounding action and kept me reaching to turn the page to see what would happen next. Taking me by complete surprise, this was one of my favorite books of 2016, one that I was recommending left and right and the least popular book (based on Goodreads ratings) on this list. You can see my full review here.