Wish You Were Here is Jo's third book and - as an observer from afar - I can see the growth in her writing and character development with each new release. The thing that draws me to her blog (and her I guess) is a sense of familiarity in her writing: an informality that engages me and draws me in. And her books offer that same level of intimacy.
Jo's books are loosely linked - through minor characters becoming the focus in each new outing. I love the continuity it offers and forethought it shows; giving readers the opportunity to piece together the timeframes and relationships.
Jo's characters are always her strong point and this was no different. Maxine (Max / Maxi) was a delight and readers are there for her 'awakening' if you like. I loved that Jo puts us firmly in Max's head as she ponders her relationships with James and best male friend, Richie. She's prone to a bit of over-analysis... so I could very much relate.
I found James to be a bit of a cliché - something I recall about an ex-boyfriend from one of Jo's previous novels. I'm not sure if it's a romance / chick lit novel thing - the stereotypical / extreme characters (like Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones' Diary). You can kinda see what's coming and it's obvious they're a bit of a prick and things aren't gonna end well...
Again Jo's surrounded her leads with a great cast of characters and these were probably the strongest yet - perhaps because we're offered such an array via Max and Richie's families and friends.
Surprisingly one of my favourite elements of this novel was the inclusion of Max's blog posts on a 'foodie' blog. Max's (and Jo's) voice came through with strong familiarity and her / their passion for cooking and fresh produce were evident through the use of the first person posts.
Again I cried. It wasn't until it happened I was reminded that I had done so in both of Jo's other books and she's great at building that emotion to that point of 'conflict' and exploring that vulnerability we so often avoid.
And finally, Jo again shares her love of travel throughout this book. On her blog she'd talked about the fact she was using a UK holiday last year to inspire this novel as well as her love for New Zealand.
Despite my usual antipathy towards romance and chick lit, I very much enjoyed this book. I initially thought t it was going to be a tad predictable as we can guess where it's heading, but that's when the real-life stuff kicks in and things get complicated.
Read the full review on my site: [...]
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 646 KB
- Print Length: 336 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01MG5IC14
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 4 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #475,770 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)