Monday, April 23, 2018

Still me, by JoJo Moyes

After reading a couple of books of Serious Literary Fiction in a row where death was a main subject, I was delighted to discover that JoJo Moyes had written a third book about the irrepressible Louisa Clark.  Yes, death is very much present in her books too – the first in the series dealt with the assisted suicide of the disabled man Louisa had come to deeply love – but her wit, humor, and wonderful characters leaven the solemnity.  By the end of the second book, Louisa had forged a new relationship with Ambulance Sam, the paramedic who saved her life after a fall.  But the course of true love never runs smooth, and they are now in a long-distance romance since Louisa decides to take a dream job in New York City while Sam remains in London.  She has been hired as an assistant to the young second wife, Agnes, of Leonard Gopnik.  The couple live, with staff of course, in an elegant old apartment overlooking Central Park.  While he works, Agnes maintains her perfect hair, nails, wardrobe, and body, which is really her job.  At least once or twice a week, they attend charity events where the young Mrs. Gopnik is exposed to the stares and gossip of the society matrons around her.  She clings to Louisa as a friend, but one learns that the word has a different meaning for the rich.  Agnes, from Poland, reminded me so much of Melania Trump, that I couldn’t help but picture her in the role in a movie.  At one of these charity dinners, Louisa bumps into Joshua Ryan, who is a doppelganger of her lost love, Will.  He seems smitten.  Will Louisa be swept up by her new glamorous life and this up-and-coming New Yorker, or remain true to Sam?  For those who have read the previous books, you will be happy to learn that Louisa’s eccentric family remains a bulwark for her, and her grumpy sister finally finds happiness.  A frothy treat.  388 pp.

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