I’m not intrigued by gilded lives at all. I’m curious about what happens to those people struggling to get somewhere in a society that increasingly tells them they can’t succeed, where the odds are stacked against them.' Jojo Moyes told the Guardian in 2015.
This is one of the many reasons why the bestselling author has a legion of fans worldwide who love her books for their humour and warmth, romance and drama, but also their relatable characters.
Then there is her ability and willingness to tackle complex topics, like social mobility, which comes through strongly in her already celebrated new novel
about the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky: a group of women who, in 1930s, delivered books to remote communities in America. The Giver of Stars
To mark that release, and to help newcomers to Moyes’s work, we’ve rounded up our list of the best books to get you hooked on a writer at the top of her game.
(2012) Me Before You There really isn’t a more obvious place to start than the book that sold over 14 million copies worldwide. Me Before You is the story of Lou Clark, a girl who despite having zero ambition has the most optimistic outlook on life. Her wicked sense of humour and quirky dress sense - think charity shop chic - ensured readers rooted for her from page one. When Lou starts a new job caring for Will Traynor - a wealthy, young banker left paralysed from the neck down - she finds her optimism challenged by Will's anger and frustration. As they fall in love, they attempt to find new meaning for their lives. Fortunately for die-hard fans, Moyes continued Lou’s story in two more books After You followed by Still Me.
(2017) Paris for One If, after reading the M e Before You trilogy, you are still suffering from the loss of Lou, this book of short stories might be just the thing to dip in and out of. It is a charming collection exploring troubled relationships, young love and missed opportunities, from Nell, who’s boyfriend abandons her before their romantic trip to Paris, to Beth, who faces a difficult decision when she bumps into her ex at a party with her husband. Each story puts the female voice front and centre making it a book that every woman in - or out of love - will relate to.
(2012) The Girl You Left Behind One of the short stories in Paris for One is a duel-narrative of Sophie and Liv who are both in the early days of their marriages only a century apart. It acts as a prequel for the next book on this list of Moyes' must-reads: The Girl You Left Behind. The story begins in France, 1916 where Sophie Lefevre fights for survival as her husband fights for his life on the front and continues with Liv Halston almost a century later, who is gifted a portrait of Sophie only to discover, by chance, its dark past. It is an exhilarating read as you - alongside Liv - piece the clues together to find out Sophie’s fate.
The Giver of Stars (2019) If you are in the mood for adventure and want to linger in the historical-fiction genre - The Giver of Stars is Moyes’ latest novel and perfect for readers who are looking for a story with plenty of feel-good female friendship who also love talking about books. Set in the wild Appalachian mountains of Kentucky in the 1930s, a band of women enrol to a new library project to deliver books to remote communities on horseback. But when a body is unearthed on a snowy mountainside and their library is accused of distributing inappropriate material the town starts to turn against them.
(2014) The One Plus One To round off our bookshelf tour we finish with a novel which takes us back to a contemporary setting and features a female lead that deserves just as much love as Lou Clark. Jess is a single mum who, against the odds, is somehow keeping it together. Enter Ed - who has his own problems after his company and the millions he’s made are in jeopardy. As their two, polar opposite worlds collide, they discover that together, they might just make it. A story about the fight for survival, and the importance of second chances.