This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
British novelist Jojo Moyes (Me Before You) examines the different shapes of families and the widening gap between rich people and those who toe the poverty line in One Plus One.
Jess is a single mom and house cleaner for Ed, a tech whiz with his own company and two homes and cars. Suspended from his job while he awaits possible prosecution for insider trading, Ed decides to drive Jess, her two kids and “cow-sized” dog from England to Scotland so Jess’s daughter can participate in the Math Olympiad. Tanzie is a 10-year-old math prodigy and if she wins the competition, the prize money would enable her to attend a top private school.
Due to Tanzie’s carsickness, Ed has to drive below 40 mph, so the road trip takes several days and includes many mishaps. But the group starts developing deep feelings for one another, and their lives change in a variety of ways.
One Plus One contains a recurring element from Moyes’s previous three novels published in the US: a spirited woman with little money (or assets that actually belong to her spouse) meets a rich, successful, or powerful man and ends up thawing his cynical heart. While it’s admirable that Moyes gives voice to the have-nots, it’d be a nice departure for her next book to feature a female lead who doesn’t need a man to provide or buy anything for her. That said, Moyes’s characters are always multifaceted and sympathetic, and her plotlines unpredictable. One Plus One will induce chuckles and tears.
Nerd verdict: Affecting One
I’m giving away a copy of this book, courtesy of Pamela Dorman Books/Viking. To enter, leave a comment answering the question: Which fictional character(s) would you like to accompany you on a road trip?
Giveaway ends next Thursday, July 24, 9 p.m. PST. US addresses only. Winner will be randomly chosen and have 48 hours after notification to claim prize before an alternate winner is chosen.