The One plus One by Jojo Moyes (Penguin Michael Joseph)
Jess Thomas is a single mom with a singular mission – to make it through the day.

But with a teen stepson who comes home cowed by bullies every day, and a mathematically gifted daughter who seems doomed never to be given a chance to shine, Jo feels that the line between coping and drowning gets thinner every day.

When Ed, a bad-tempered but helpful stranger, comes into their lives, the family grasps at the opportunity to rise up above it all, just this once.

They set off on an uncomfortable car journey to a maths competition where 10-year-old Tanzie may find an opportunity to change her life – and by extension those of her fellow travellers.

As Ed finds himself ever more embroiled in the needs of Jo and her children, his own legal and personal troubles fade into the background.

Jojo Moyes writes funny, likeable prose that is deceptively easy to read, but still touches on deep themes that make you, as the reader, really care about the fate of this carful of misfits.

Yes, the love story is to be predicted, yet dark twists in the plot turn a budding romance into the last chance to make life matter.

Jojo Moyes is an author who has become much loved, and reading this – my first of her novels – gave me a sweet taste of why.

Read more Adele’s reviews on her blog.

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