Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: July 1, 2014
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever."
Jess Thomas has had some bad luck. Her husband left her and she is now alone to support her two children. She dropped out of high school when she got pregnant and never went back to school, so supporting her family on her own is tough. Jess works two jobs and can barely get by. She was hoping to hear from Marty, her ex-husband, but he claims to be getting his life together back home with his mom. Their daughter, Tanzie, is a brilliant little girl. She has been offered a scholarship to a private school, but Jess is having a hard time coming up with the rest of the money and Marty says he doesn't have it. To top it off, Tanzie has been invited to a math competition in Scotland. The money she could win from it would help pay for the private school, but how on earth can they get there? They don't own a reliable car and Scotland isn't exactly around the corner. Jess also worries about her stepson, Nicky, who is a little different. The boys in the neighborhood bully him and one day he returns home beaten up pretty badly. There's a lot on her plate. One of her cleaning clients, Ed Nicholls, gets pretty drunk at the pub she works at. Jess makes sure he gets home safely and in turn, he offers to drive her, her kids and her dog to Scotland for the math competition. What ensues will make you laugh out loud, cry and frustrate you to no end. One thing is for sure: Jojo Moyes knows how to tell a tale; I thoroughly enjoyed One Plus One.
How could you not root for Jess in One Plus One? She works two jobs; plus, she takes care of her daughter and her stepson without any financial support from her husband. She busts her butt to give them a good life, but sometimes it's hard to remain optimistic when faced with the problems they have. For example, Tanzie definitely would benefit from private school, but how can Jess afford it? Marty surely won't help and she can't afford private school on a cleaner's salary. Nicky seems depressed and can't really find his niche. The local boys pick on him and of course, this would worry any mother. However, things change for her when she embarks on the road trip to Scotland with wealthy Ed Nicholls.
Ed Nicholls is a complex character in One Plus One. At first I didn't really like him, but once we learned more about him, I forgave him for some of his misteps. He finds himself in serious trouble at work (insider trading!) and his career is ready to go down the train. He is escaping to his beach house, which is cleaned by Jess, and encounters her at the local pub. He is smashed and thankfully, she helps him get home. Knowing she helped him out, he offers to help her out by taking them to the math competition; however, I don't think he knows what is in store for him with this ride. They get lost, there's food poisioning, deadly dog farts, a carsick child, and even more.
The unlikely romance that ensues between Ed and Jess was pretty easy to predict, but I liked it. I thought it worked and I liked the whole opposites attract vibe. Of course, their romance isn't easy though; there are many uphill battles in store in One Plus One.
This is my first Jojo Moyes novel and I was impressed. I can't wait to read more of her work. She knows how to write relatable characters and stories that will tug on your heartstrings. I plan on checking out more of her books in the future. Also, this book would be great to read with a book club. If interested, check out the book club kit, which includes recipes, a conversation with Jojo Moyes and even a playlist.
Thanks to Penguin, I am hosting a giveaway for a paperback copy of One Plus One. The paperback edition just came out March 31st and it would fit perfectly in your beach bag this summer. Please refer to my giveaway rules. The deadline is April 13th and this giveaway is open to US readers only.a Rafflecopter giveaway