Silver Bay by JoJo Moyes

9780143126485_p0_v2_s192x300Although first published in 2006, Silver Bay only recently made it to American shores. I found it sitting on the “new adult fiction” shelf at my library and snatched it up. JoJo Moyes is among my favorite storytellers.

A small coastal town in Australia, reminiscent of those old beach towns before the developers moved in to modernize and attract hordes of tourists, provides the setting for this mix of romance and adventure.  The town survives through its tours of migrating whales, and its inhabitants have all lived there happily – until those developers discover it.

Kathleen, the 76 year old owner of the only hotel in town, has the deserved reputation of being the hard-crusted, soft-hearted matron.  Her niece, Liza, with her eleven year old daughter Hannah, have escaped from London to live with her.  Liza’s secret unravels as she connects with the young handsome Londoner who has come to town to secretly scout the possibilities for a new resort.

In addition to the romance, Moyes provides information on whales – not enough to rival Melville but adding an informative note to the narrative. The story evolved quickly and the book left me as satisfied as watching an old romantic movie on television.

Silver Bay is Moyes’ fourth novel, before The Last Letter from Your Lover (8th) and One Plus One (9th), her more popular books. Here’s a list with my reviews in red, if you’d like to look for more:

One Plus One by JoJo Moyes

9780698152007_p0_v2_s260x420JoJo Moyes’s latest novel  – One Plus One – reminds me of a favorite old movie with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert – “It Happened One Night.”  Two lives intersecting, at first sparring with one another, later joining forces, and eventually romantically intertwined – with a road trip to cement their attraction.  Of course, modern day demands that the sex is more obvious, and the obstacles in Moyes’ book include more than the difference in class.  The tale plummets into despair several times when misfortune seems to keep thwarting the two main characters.  But JoJo Moyes knows how to weave a tale like a roller coaster, and land happily and safely back on the landing.  She has become my go-to author for a satisfying romance adventure that I know will turn out well eventually.

This story has a cast of characters worthy of a soap opera: Jess (Claudette), the feisty housekeeper with a penchant for plumbing, with a sunny disposition despite a litany of woes including a recalcitrant ex-husband who has left her with no money and two children; Ed (Clark Gable), the handsome newly rich geek with a beach house and an expensive flat in London, who inadvertently whispers inside information to a pandering lover to buy her off, and finds himself arrested for insider trading; Tanzie, the little girl math whiz who would rather solve math problems that watch TV; Nicky, the Gothic teenager who wears mascara, does drugs, and begins a blog to find his “tribe.”   Moyes alternates the chapters with the voice of each, as the plot steadily climbs into assorted issues that resolve and dissolve into a happy ending.

“…in a little more than five days…illness, distraught children, sick relatives, unexpected acts of violence, busted feet, police, and car accidents.  I’d say that was quite enough real life for anyone…”

Lots of fun – a great quick read for summer.