I read eight books by Jojo Moyes this year. That’s a tenth of my reviews.
Windfallen was Moyes second novel; however, like many of her early novels it was not released in the United States until a few years ago. I prefer the UK title of Foreign Fruit.
I think I’m partial to her later work because they’re a little less formulaic, or maybe because I came across her recent novels first.
Windfallen, like most of Moyes novels (particularly her early work), begins in the past and play out in mad-libs fashions. A woman has a life changing event that comes back around when her daughter or grand-daughter comes across the life changing event decades later. There is female bonding and some romantic gestures peppered throughout each times line. It’s not particularly inventive but it works and is always an enjoyable read.
Winfallen begins in the ’50s with Celia and her semi-adoptive sister, Lottie, befriending the Bohemian inhabitants of the Arcadia house on their tiny island home of Merham. After a scandalous event at the beachfront home Celia is sent to England where she meets Guy and becomes engaged. He arrives in Merham to meet Celia’s family and help with wedding plans; Lottie forms a friendship with him that turns romantic.
Flash-forward to present-day and Daisy is commissioned to renovate the Arcadia house for a hotelier named Jones, who purchased the property from Lottie. Daisy was recently left by her partner after giving birth to their daughter. The past and present come to a head at the opening night gala for the Aracadia hotel.
I really enjoyed the “past” portion of Windfallen and sometime wish that Moyes would simply tell the story from start to finish in one timeline. There are a lot of complaints on Goodreads about the lack of clarity on Celia’s story line in particular and I agree. There are several plot points that seemed a bit underdeveloped.