The irrepressible Louisa Clark from Me Before You and After You arrives in New York to start a new life and a long-distance relationship with Ambulance Sam while working for the super-wealthy Gopniks, a job that introduces her to New York high society and a secretive man who reminds her of her own past.
Jojo Moyes is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Still Me, After You, Me Before You, The Horse Dancer, Paris for One and Other Stories, One Plus One, The Girl You Left Behind, The Last Letter from Your Lover, Silver Bay, and The Ship of Brides. She lives with her husband and three children in Essex, England.
*Starred Review* As promised at the end of After You (2015), Louisa is pursuing adventure in New York City even though it means leaving her current love, the gorgeous Ambulance Sam, behind in England. In a closet-sized room on the Upper West Side, she takes a job as assistant to the mercurial Agatha Gopnik, a rich man's second wife who needs a friend almost as much as she needs the approval of the ladies' philanthropic circuit. Louisa finds she can either manage Agatha's life or her relationship with Sam, especially when Sam gets a cute new paramedic partner and Louisa meets a New Yorker who is the spitting image of Will Traynor, her former charge. An elderly neighbor with a vicious pug and a hoard of vintage clothing becomes an unexpected ally when things inevitably go wrong. This installment won't quite rip your heart out the way Me Before You (2012) did, but an over-the-top cinematic finale may elicit some happy tears. Louisa is the perfect mix of daffy and brilliant, a sartorial risk-taker with a knack for solving other people's problems. It is utterly satisfying to watch her tackle her own. Readers of Sophie Kinsella and Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project (2013) will want to start at the beginning.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A big marketing campaign-and a cliffhanger ending in After You-will ensure that Moyes fans will be clamoring for the return of Louisa Clark. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Master of cheerful uplift Moyes brings her British Everygirl heroine, Louisa Clark, back for a third go-round, this time sending her on an adventurous year in New York City.After the death of Will, the wealthy paraplegic with whom she fell in love while working as his caretaker in Me Before You (2012), Lou found the promise of new love with paramedic Sam in After You (2015). Now she's ready to take on the kind of adventure Will always encouraged and Sam agrees she needs to experience, even if it means they have a trans-Atlantic relationship for a year. Her friend Nathan has found her a job as an assistant to the wife of his New York employer, Leonard Gopnik. Lou moves into the Gopniks' huge apartment at a prestigious Fifth Avenue address, and the novel's strong early pages record her dizzy fascination with Manhattan. But the job is harder and New York lonelier than expected. Agnes Gopnik, who's recently arrived from Poland and was Leonard's masseuse before becoming his second wife, finds navigating Upper East Side society a strain, to say the least. She leans on Lou as a purported friend, but Lou will learn to her dismay that a friendship between employer and servant can be slippery to maintain. So can long-distance romance. She suspects Sam's relationship with his new partner at work might be growing more than professional, while she herself is pursued by an up-and-coming businessman who is not only charming, but bears a disconcerting resemblance to Will. Unfortunately, Lou no longer seems as fresh or endearing as she did in the earlier books. Her wit feels strained. Even her eccentric fashion sense has grown a bit annoying. Secondary characters—like the Gopniks' elderly neighbor Mrs. DeWitt, devoted to her dog and not as mean as she seems; or Ashok, the doorman whose chaotically happy marriage provides contrast to the Gopniks'—end up more engaging than the protagonists. There is something lackadaisical about the writing here that m a kes getting through all the plot twists a slog. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
It was the mustache that reminded me I was no longer in England: a solid, gray millipede firmly obscuring the man’s upper lip; a Village People mustache, a cowboy mustache, the miniature head of a broom that meant business. You just didn’t get that kind of mustache at home.
I couldn’t tear my eyes from it. “Ma’am?”
The only person I had ever seen with a mustache like that at home was Mr. Naylor, our maths teacher, and he collected Digestive crumbs in his—we used to count them during algebra.
The man in the uniform motioned me forward with a flick of his stubby finger. He did not look up from his screen. I waited at the booth, long‑haul sweat drying gently into my dress. He held up his hand, waggling four fat fingers. This, I grasped after several seconds, was a demand for my passport.
“It’s there,” I said.
“Your name, ma’am.”
“Louisa Elizabeth Clark.” I peered over the counter. “Though I never use the Elizabeth bit. Because my mum realized after they named me that that would make me Lou Lizzy. And if you say that really fast it sounds like lunacy. Though my dad says that’s kind of fitting. Not that I’m a lunatic. I mean, you wouldn’t want lunatics in your country. Hah!” My voice bounced nervously off the Plexiglas screen.
The man looked at me for the first time. He had solid shoulders and a gaze that could pin you like a Tazer. He did not smile. He waited until my own faded.
“Sorry,” I said. “People in uniform make me nervous.”
I glanced behind me at the immigration hall, at the snaking queue that had doubled back on itself so many times it had become an impenetrable, restless sea of people. “I think I’m feeling a bit odd from standing in that queue. That is honestly the longest queue I’ve ever stood in. I’d begun to wonder whether to start my Christmas list.”
“Put your hand on the scanner.”
“Is it always that size?”
“The scanner?” He frowned.
But he was no longer listening. He was studying something on his screen. I put my fingers on the little pad. And then my phone dinged.
Mum: Have you landed?
I went to tap an answer with my free hand but he turned sharply toward me. “Ma’am, you are not permitted to use cell phones in this area.”
“It’s just my mum. She wants to know if I’m here.” I surreptitiously tried to press the thumbs‑up emoji as I slid the phone out of view.
“Reason for travel?”
What is that? came Mum’s immediate reply. She had taken to texting like a duck to water and could now do it faster than she could speak. Which was basically warp speed.
—You know my phone doesn’t do the little pictures. Is that an SOS? Louisa tell me you’re okay.
“Reasons for travel, ma’am?” The mustache twitched with irritation.
He added, slowly: “What are you doing here in the United States?”
“I have a new job.”
“I’m going to work for a family in New York. Central Park.”
Just briefly, the man’s eyebrows might have raised a millimeter. He checked the address on my form, confirming it. “What kind of job?”
“It’s a bit complicated. But I’m sort of a paid companion.”
“A paid companion.”
“It’s like this. I used to work for this man. I was his companion, but I would also give him his meds and take him out and feed him. That’s not as weird as it sounds, by the way—he had no use of his hands. It wasn’t like something pervy. Actually my last job ended up as more than that, because it’s hard not to get close to people you look after and Will—the man—was amazing and we . . . Well, we fell in love.” Too late, I felt the familiar welling of tears. I wiped at my eyes briskly. “So I think it’ll be sort of like that. Except for the love bit. And the feeding.”
The immigration officer was staring at me. I tried to smile. “Actually, I don’t normally cry talking about jobs. I’m not like an actual lunatic, despite my name. Hah! But I loved him. And he loved me. And then he . . . Well, he chose to end his life. So this is sort of my attempt to start over.” The tears were now leaking relentlessly, embarrassingly, from the corners of my eyes. I couldn’t seem to stop them. I couldn’t seem to stop anything. “Sorry. Must be the jet lag. It’s something like two o’clock in the morning in normal time, right? Plus I don’t really talk about him anymore. I mean, I have a new boyfriend. And he’s great! He’s a paramedic! And hot! That’s like winning the boyfriend lottery, right? A hot paramedic?”
I scrabbled around in my handbag for a tissue. When I looked up the man was holding out a box. I took one. “Thank you. So, anyway, my friend Nathan—he’s from New Zealand—works here and he helped me get this job and I don’t really know what it involves yet, apart from looking after this rich man’s wife who gets depressed. But I’ve decided this time I’m going to live up to what Will wanted for me, because before I didn’t get it right. I just ended up working in an airport.”
I froze. “Not—uh—that there’s anything wrong with working at an airport! I’m sure immigration is a very important job. Really important. But I have a plan. I’m going to do something new every week that I’m here and I’m going to say yes.”
“To new things. Will always said I shut myself off from new experiences. So this is my plan.”
The officer studied my paperwork. “You didn’t fill the address section out properly. I need a zip code.”
He pushed the form toward me. I checked the number on the sheet that I had printed out and filled it in with trembling fingers. I glanced to my left, where the queue at my section was growing restive. At the front of the next queue a Chinese family was being questioned by two officials. As the woman protested, they were led into a side room. I felt suddenly very alone.
The immigration officer peered at the people waiting. And then, abruptly, he stamped my passport. “Good luck, Louisa Clark,” he said.
I stared at him. “That’s it?”
I smiled. “Oh, thank you! That’s really kind. I mean, it’s quite weird being on the other side of the world by yourself for the first time, and now I feel a bit like I just met my first nice new person and—”
“You need to move along now, ma’am.”
“Of course. Sorry.”
I gathered up my belongings and pushed a sweaty frond of hair from my face.
“And, ma’am . . .”
“Yes?” I wondered what I had got wrong now.
He didn’t look up from his screen. “Be careful what you say yes to.”