|(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
Jojo Moyes' latest, Paris For One & Other Stories (consists of one novella and eight short stories) was just what I needed to perk me right up and out of my 'lack of reading' doldrums. The variety of stories to choose from and the lovely cover just seemed to call out to me suddenly. So, I picked it up and settled down on a comfy chair with a huge cuppa next to me and dove right in. I found myself following Nell as she navigated her way through a weekend trip to Paris in the title story, Paris For One. She reminded me so much of an old friend of mine from college. Careful, reliable, predictable, and constantly making 'pros and cons' lists. Someone who you could depend on. Except in this story, Nell is starting to get tired of being so reliable. On a whim she makes plans for a romantic weekend away for her and Pete. As the date for their getaway draws closer, she can't help but make little comments to remind everyone that she is going away. And then the day is here and she's waiting for her boyfriend at the train station. She texts him over and over. The clock is ticking and the train is about to leave. Her phone dings with a message from Pete - he's not going to make it. Nell is upset, but texts him that she'll wait for him at the hotel. Once in Paris, she finds herself stressing out over being all alone in a city where she doesn't speak the language. She finds some courage and gets a taxi to take her to the hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel has double booked her room and she is now sharing it with an loud, brash American woman. Oh, and Nell has just found out that Pete won't be showing up at all - apparently, he can't get away from his job at a surf and scuba wear shop in November. Hmm...this trip is not turning out as she had expected. She decides she will get something to eat, go to bed and leave early in the morning for England. She can't stay in Paris alone...or can she? Maybe, Nell isn't so predictable after all. Let's just say that Paris brings out another side to Nell - a more adventurous one. I just loved reading all about it. I loved walking the streets of Paris with her, shopping with her, dining with her, and meeting Fabien with her. Oh, Fabien. Seems that romance is in the air, just not with Pete. And that is all I will say about Nell's story - which I LOVED.
As for the eight short stories - talk about a fun bunch. They were all so different and yet some weren't all that different. I'm not sure that makes sense, but when you read them you'll see what I mean. I enjoyed each one and loved that they captured Moyes' signature style of romance, drama, witty banter, a little mischief, and relatable situations. Her short stories captivate and entertain. They make for such delightful reading. I truly enjoyed devouring them all in one go. They were just so good! Some of my favorites are Crocodile Shoes, Last Year's Coat, and The Christmas List:
In Crocodile Shoes a woman learns that a fancy pair of shoes really can make a difference in your life. Sam is at the gym, using up her membership that she can no longer afford. Somehow her kitbag gets taken by mistake and the one she left with holds a pair of "red, crocodile-skin Christian Louboutin sling-backs." Not exactly shoes Sam would wear. Especially on a day when she has four meetings back-to-back. Ugh! What's she going to do? She can't show up in her gym shoes - ack! Hmm...Louboutins to the rescue? Apparently so. Seems these shoes do more than add style to your appearance, they also speak volumes and wind up netting Sam three new accounts - Hurrah! Maybe fancy shoes do belong in her wardrobe after all.
Last Year's Coat is about Evie and her desire for a new coat. Well, she actually really needs one as her old one no longer has a lining and its freezing outside. Except, the coat she is dying to purchase costs 185 pounds - yikes! That is more than she can afford at the moment. Once upon a time, she would have easily bought the coat without a second thought. Nowadays, her family's finances are budgeted down to the pence. So, instead she makes do with her old coat and homemade cheese sandwiches for lunch, while all the women in Marketing plan mini-breaks, brag about new handbags and head out to lunch every day. Evie tries to ignore it all, but can't help but feel frustrated that she can't even buy one new coat for herself. Her husband tries to cheer her up and goes shopping with her to look for an affordable coat. However, all Evie can think about is the 185 pound coat that screams "Buy me" every time she walks past it. And then one day she sees a SALE sign in the window. Running into the store, she asks what the sale is. Her coat is now half-price!! Asking for a size 12, Evie is beyond excited. And then she finds out that they sold their last size 12. Deflated, she heads home in her old coat. Seems that Evie isn't meant to get her dream coat...or is she?
The Christmas List is the last story in the book and my absolute favorite. Chrissie is stressed out. Its December 23rd and she's out finishing up her Christmas shopping. The list is long, but she is determined to get it all done. Of course, it doesn't help that her mother-in-law who hates her demands an expensive and hard-to-get perfume. Or that her husband keeps texting her to remind her to buy the cheese that his mother loves from the only store she will eat it from. Chrissie is exhausted and anxious. So, when she sees a taxi, she jumps at the chance to put down her bags and take a few minutes break from walking and shopping. The taxi driver soon becomes Chrissie's confidant as she shares her misery with him about her awful family who don't seem to even like her. He listens as she stresses out over everything. And then he offers to take her all over to finish up her shopping for free. As the two continue chatting, Chrissie cheers up a little. When her husband berates her over text for picking up the wrong dessert, she's had it with him and all the fussiness involved with planning their Christmas dinner. The idea of spending 10 days with her mother-in-law is just too much to handle. The taxi driver asks her, "So what's keeping up?" From that question on, Chrissie's mind is set on what she wants to do for Christmas. And let me just say it doesn't involve her family.
Talk about feel-good short stories! These are simply the best! They are fun, engaging, and entertaining. I absolutely loved spending the morning with them. They made me laugh, smile, and tear up a bit. And they cured my reading rut - hurrah!! Thank you, Jojo Moyes!!
I would happily recommend Paris For One & Other Stories to fans of Jojo Moyes, fans of women's fiction, fans of short stories, and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!