“He was younger than I had thought, and had dropped his faint air of haughtiness. Perhaps Parisian waiters were trained to be kind to weeping women in their cafés.”
Lou Clark, breadwinner for her family before her time, lover of bumblebee-striped tights and expert tea maker, loses her job in the tea shop and has to take on a job caring for Will Traynor, who very definitely lives on the other side of the tracks. Will is the victim of a motorcycle accident and has lost the will to continue (assisted) living. Can Lou give him a reason to keep trying?
I wasn’t completely convinced by Moyes’ previous effort, The Last Letter from Your Lover, but this has received absolutely rave reviews (including from one of my managers, who claims she was bawling for most of the book…) so home from the library it came, and off to France. I have to admit it didn’t move me to tears, but it was certainly a moving look at life as a carer and one cared for, and at its heart a simple love story in a complex setting.
Lou and Will are both not overly complicated but sympathetic characters, and most of the supporting characters are also not richly developed (there are lots of them so probably for the best) – I didn’t have all that much time for either of the families or the dreadful boyfriend; all the innate goodness seemed to be in our three key characters, which is a bit wrong. Nathan, the physical therapist, is a spectacular supporting character and without doubt based on a real-life deadpan New Zealander.
The ending is a little drawn out but I think that the characters all make decisions consistent with their personalities; Moyes milks the heart-string-tugging for all it’s worth right up to the last page (the source of the quote at the top of this review).