While reading Jojo Moyes Paris for One and Other Stories, I could not help thinking of William Sidney Porter’s short stories. Better know as O. Henry, Porter’s romantic tales always ended with a surprise, whether in the selfless romance of The Gift of the Magi or in the story of a sick woman hanging on with The Last Leaf. In this collection, Moyes offers her wry outlook and, like O.Henry, ends each with a jolt.
The title story, “Paris for One,” is the longest – all 150 pages – and could easily be an hour long Christmas special. When Nell’s boyfriend is not at the London station, she gets on the train anyway, hoping he is just late for their romantic weekend in Paris. Feeling alone in a strange city, Nell receives his message that he is not coming and decides to return to London. In a series of serendipitous occurrences, the story evolves into Nell’s emergence as a determined woman who finds true love in Paris. Only Moyes could transform a melodramatic interlude into a funny and heart-warming story, leaving the reader satisfied and smiling at the ending.
The “Other Stories” include brief tales, peeking into the windows of familiar lives: the has-been actor who is being tortured with racy tweets, the frumpy mother who finds a pair of expensive shoes that change her outlook, the taxi driver who gives a harried woman the courage to live her own life, the jewelry store clerk who saves a burglar, the husband who buys his wife a coat they cannot afford, the couple who find their afternoon delight again after years of marriage, the woman who meets her old lover at a party, and the secret communication of a woman with a stranger’s phone.
If you enjoyed Moyes’ novels (see my reviews below), you will be delighted with this collection. Not all the stories have happy endings but each has the author’s trademark wit and charm.
Reviews of Other Moyes Books: