Thursday, 17 September 2015

After You by Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark has lots of questions.
Like how it is she's ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.
Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home.
Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.
And will she ever get over the love of her life.
What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.
Then, one night, it does.
But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions?
Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.
Open it and she risks everything.
But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in . . .

After You by Jojo Moyes is published by Michael Joseph (Penguin) on 24 September 2015 in hardback and ebook. After You is the long awaited sequel to the worldwide phenomenon Me Before You.

I have been a huge fan of Jojo Moyes for many years. Ten years ago I read The Peacock Emporium whilst on holiday in Kefalonia and was hooked from there on. Since then, I have eagerly awaited every one of her books, I've enjoyed all of them and recommended them to my friends. It wasn't until Me Before You was published in 2012 that Jojo Moyes really became a huge name. Me Before You has sold over 6 million copies worldwide and went to the top of the charts in nine countries, including Germany where it held the number one slot for 46 weeks.

A major film adaptation of Me Before You, starring Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), has just wrapped and will be on the screens in 2016.

After You, the sequel to Me Before You has to be one of the most anticipated books in recent years, when I saw the announcement that Jojo Moyes was going to write a sequel I was delighted, everyone who read about Lou and Will must have wondered what happened next ....... here it is .....

The most important thing to remember when picking up After You is that it is a sequel, and whilst you could probably get away with reading it as a standalone novel, I'd personally recommend that if you haven't read Me Before You yet, then you really should. Knowing Lou and Will's story will enhance this story, it will mean more to you, and you'll also be catching up on a damn fine book.

Lou Clark, or just Clark has she is affectionately known has struggled to move on for the past eighteen months. The end of her relationship with Will has left a huge hole in her life and she's lonely and isolated. The gap between her and her family widens daily, her flat is almost bare, the colourful wacky vintage clothes she used to love are consigned to boxes and she spends her days serving drinks to passengers at an airport.

Oh, she's traveled, she spent time in Europe, drifting through different countries, but her heart and her head are still filled by Will. Lou watches the planes take off and touch down, the passengers forging ahead with their lives and wonders how she will ever move on. The pain is overwhelming, it doesn't seem to change, she grasps at things that remind her of Will, yet at same time hides herself away from the world.

Lou's life changes one night, with a bang, literally. She has a nasty accident and suddenly a whole host of new people enter her life, and change it considerably. Moving on, she begins to allow herself some freedom from the grip of her memories of Will, but also learning some surprising and quite shocking truths about him.

After You is a story of grief and love and could be depressing and gloomy, but Jojo Moyes deals with the subject with her trademark warmth and beautifully developed characters.  Lou becomes involved with a group of people who all have issues of their own to cope with, and the scenes set within this group are quite beautiful, bringing a gentle humour to this special special story. There is a real feel of being British in After You; the stiff upper lip compounded with the morbid and black humour that only the Brits can do so well.

I was delighted to be re-introduced to Lou's fabulous family, her parents often steal the scene from the accompanying characters, they are ordinary people, yet extraordinary too; funny and witty, infuriating and daft, yet fragile and gentle and very lovable.

Lou herself is still that same headstrong colourful character that we fell in love with in Me Before You. She's a little blurred around the edges, but as the story unfolds and she begins to open her heart again, that honesty and loyalty reappears. Her special relationship with young Lily is a joy to behold, their interaction is real and charming, they spark off one another, bringing out the worst and the best in each other.

So, I haven't told you anything about the plot of After You, or even what happened in Me Before You, that's not for me to do, and why would I when Jojo Moyes has done it so brilliantly? Fans of the first book shouldn't worry, the author hasn't done anything awful to Lou, or to the memory of her relationship with Will. She has, however, carried on that beautiful story with ease, she's dealt with some pretty serious issues, but dealt with them extremely well, incorporating some dark themes into an uplifting and quite joyous book.

It is clear that Jojo Moyes loves and cares for her characters as much as the readers do, and although there are scenes that will have you reaching for the tissues, and times when the characters really do hurt, on the whole, this is a compelling story of hope and positivity.

Writing After You was a brave move for Jojo Moyes, but I am delighted that she did. It has been an absolute pleasure to read about Lou and her family once more, and to meet the new characters in her life. After You is a triumphant return for Lou Clark, for Jojo Moyes and for her readers. I loved every page, it is thought-provoking, totally absorbing and extremely satisfying.

Huge thanks to the author and publisher who arranged my copy for review.

Jojo Moyes is a novelist and journalist. She worked at the Independent for ten years before leaving to write full-time. 
Her previous novels have all been critically acclaimed and include Me Before You, The Girl You Left Behind and the Sunday Times number one bestseller The One Plus One.

Jojo lives in Essex with her husband and their three children.

For more information, visit the Jojo Moyes website
Find her author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @jojomoyes

Check out the Book Trailer for After You


1 comment:

  1. I looked forward to this but also dreaded it Anne as sometimes its like how can you follow up on brilliance. Looking forward to it after your review!