The One Plus One – Jojo Moyes

18186807“One single mum… One chaotic family… One handsome stranger… One unexpected love story. The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.”

Life isn’t easy for the Thomases. Jess is a single mum of two – her biological daughter Tanzie, and her stepson Nicky – who works every hour God sends to pay the bills. With no sign of forthcoming child support from her ex Marty, she can barely make ends meet. But life isn’t easy for her children, either; Tanzie is a talented maths genius who longs to go to a specialist school that Jess has no hopes of affording. Nicky is a make-up-wearing misfit who is being relentlessly bullied by the local thugs; their latest spat put him in hospital.

Jess’ hopes are raised when she’s told about a maths competition that Tanzie has a chance of winning – and the prize money can fund the entrance to her dream school. But the competition is all the way in Scotland, and they have no hope of affording train fees. Jess decides to take a risk and drive her ex Marty’s old car – uninsured and untaxed – but things hit rock bottom when she’s caught by the police. The car is immediately impounded, she’s warned she’ll be fined, and now they have no way of making the journey.

Enter Ed Nicholls… Ed’s an ambitious financial hotshot who’s in somewhat of a pickle himself. Offering the girl he’s been hooking up with an insider tip to innocently help her earn some money has completely backfired. The girl informed her brother, who made money off of the transaction, and Ed’s now being threatened with indictment for his insider trading.

When Ed sees Jess and the kids at the side of the road, the police taking their car away, he offers to help by driving them all the next day. And so the four – and the kids’ smelly dog, Norman – embark on a journey that will change their lives forever. Ed is running from his family, who he doesn’t want to disappoint, and Jess is trying to hold everything together for their kids. But she’s hiding a secret from Ed – a secret that is about to destroy their slowly-developing relationship…

The One Plus One is a heartwarming story that initially starts with so much despair and pessimism that I couldn’t wait for the fates to turn for this lovely, down-to-earth mismatched group. It’s a slightly tamer novel than Moyes’ previous offerings – Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind both had me in absolute tears – but it’s a lovely, bittersweet tale with a real, feel-good ending.

Many thanks to Penguin for the review copy.

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