Usually I eschew short stories, because I don’t like the fact that the stories end just when I’m getting to figure out who the characters are. But Moyes has a knack for making her characters come to life instantly, whether in story form or novel. Her dialogue rings so true, and the emotions of her characters are so clear, that I always feel like I “know” them right away.
“Paris for One” is the longest story, and it is also my favorite. Nell Simmons is set for a disastrous weekend in Paris that turns out to be the romantic getaway of a lifetime. The endings of all of the stories, though, except perhaps “Between the Tweets,” are wonderful. “Between the Tweets,” while not necessarily a “happy” ending, is a delight for the reader in any event. And most stories seemed like they could be developed at a later time into full length books, such as “The Christmas List.” This was not because they didn’t “end,” but because the characters and plots were so appealing, one wanted to hear more about them.
In an interview with The Irish Times, Jojo Moyes said:
“The more books I write, the more I realise that those that work do so because something in the characters is compelling or universal, and that’s what people tend to remember long after they’ve finished the book. Plot is really important (one of my big complaints about a lot of ‘literary’ novels is that often the plot tails away) but for me, it’s not more important than character. However, it’s vital to have a few twists – there’s nothing worse than a plot that meanders from A to B or which is entirely predictable.”
This small collection shows how much she has mastered those qualities.
Evaluation: This collection of stories is quite entertaining, and just the thing for those who only have short windows of time in which to read.
Published by Penguin, 2015