Pub. Date: October 18, 2016
Source: e-ARC via publisher (Thank you, Pamela Dorman Books!)
Summary: Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a weekend away—to anywhere, and certainly not with her boyfriend. Everyone knows traveling abroad isn’t really her thing. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up for their romantic mini-vacation, she has the opportunity to prove everyone—including herself—wrong. Alone and in Paris, Nell uncovers a version of herself she never knew existed: independent and intrepid. Adventurous, funny, and charming, Paris for One is vintage Moyes—as are the eight stories that round out the collection.
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Short Story Collection
I love Jojo. Love. Her. I came to her a little late in the game, only having discovered her in 2013 when I fell hard for The Girl You Left Behind. Since then, I’ve been slowly making my way through her other novels and to date I’ve read three more: One Plus One, Silver Bay, and The Last Letter From Your Lover. Now, with the release of a short story collection, I’m thrilled to say I have a fifth Jojo novel under my belt.
Unfortunately – and I hate to say this since I adore Jojo – but I’m just not a big fan of short stories. Or maybe I’m just not a fan of spending such a little amount of time with Jojo’s characters. Instead, I want to live and breathe her worlds over the course of several hundred pages, not a handful.
Paris for One was originally released as a novella and it’s by far the longest story in this collection. Quiet, careful Nell makes a rash decision to take a Parisian holiday with her boyfriend to disastrous effects. Not only does the boyfriend completely stand her up (leaving Nell to fend for herself in a foreign country where she doesn’t speak the language) but there’s a mix-up with the hotel room and it had been double-booked: neither Nell nor the brash American want to back down, resulting in a very awkward arrangement. Fabien is stuck in a rut: still pining after his ex and slowly losing hope of ever becoming a writer. When a nervous woman accidentally spills her glass of wine on his shoes, he has no idea how the next few days will change his life. There are no surprises with this story – it’s short and sweet and pure Jojo.
The other stories in this collection were all just okay. Clocking in at a handful of pages each, I never really got a feel for the characters; instead it was just the bare bones of what could be. There’s a story about an affair; a mix-up at the gym that results in a woman discovering a pair of Louboutin heels; a Christmas story that reminded me of The Gift of the Magi; a bank robbery. Sadly, none of these stories are memorable.
As much as I love Jojo Moyes, I’m sad to say I wasn’t overly thrilled with this short story collection. When I read her work, I want to become immersed in the tale she’s created. Unfortunately that never happened here. While Paris for One was enjoyable enough, the following stories were so short that I never became fully invested and found them to be entirely forgettable. I am admittedly a book collector, particularly when it comes to authors I love, and Jojo’s covers are all so beautiful. That said, I’d still have reservations about buying a copy. I honestly can’t see myself ever rereading this one as I have her previous novels.