I love books. I love that feeling of being completely swept up in a story, of lying in the bath, or my bed and being utterly transported to a different world. That addictive escapist feeling is ultimately why I always wanted to become a writer myself.
Annoyingly, though, now that I am a writer one of the down sides is that I find it very difficult to indulge myself in my love of commercial fiction when I’m writing. I still read, of course, but I’m picky, choosy and impatient. Consequently, our house is full of towering piles of half-read paperbacks.
It doesn’t help that Emlyn often reads over my shoulder in bed and makes comments about the book I’ve chosen. Or, he’ll predict the end. God, it’s annoying when he’s right!
There are, however, a few authors who stop me in my tracks and make me guard their book preciously. I start reading whilst cooking the kids tea, slope off for a bath for a few more chapters, go to bed early and devour the pages late into the night, or – the ultimate accolade – choose an extra big handbag so that I can take it to London on the train.
One of these authors is JoJo Moyes, whose new book, ‘The One Plus One’ had me gripped from cover to cover. At two o’clock this morning, I did that weepy sigh thing when I finished the last page and then fell into a deep, satisfied sleep.
JoJo is an accomplished writer who sets her stall out in such a way that you feel like you’re in a very safe pair of hands from page one – not an easy thing to do, believe me. She creates a convincing and totally plausible world for her characters, all of whom have, at their heart, a wonderful conflict to be resolved. She creates fabulous dramatic tension and has that knack of tugging on your heartstrings when it comes to romance.
Having tackled big themes in her books before – like voluntary suicide in ‘Me Before You’, ‘The One Plus One’ is about family, money and ultimately, the quest for a sense of home. Her characters are quirky, but utterly believable and it’s a satisfying love story of redemption and second chances.
It’s a tough act to follow. I’m really not sure what I’ll be reading next, but in the meantime, I must get some work of my own done…