Master of cheerful uplift Moyes brings her British Everygirl heroine, Louisa Clark, back for a third go-round, this time sending her on an adventurous year in New York City.
After the death of Will, the wealthy paraplegic with whom she fell in love while working as his caretaker in Me Before You (2012), Lou found the promise of new love with paramedic Sam in After You (2015). Now she's ready to take on the kind of adventure Will always encouraged and Sam agrees she needs to experience, even if it means they have a trans-Atlantic relationship for a year. Her friend Nathan has found her a job as an assistant to the wife of his New York employer, Leonard Gopnik. Lou moves into the Gopniks' huge apartment at a prestigious Fifth Avenue address, and the novel’s strong early pages record her dizzy fascination with Manhattan. But the job is harder and New York lonelier than expected. Agnes Gopnik, who's recently arrived from Poland and was Leonard’s masseuse before becoming his second wife, finds navigating Upper East Side society a strain, to say the least. She leans on Lou as a purported friend, but Lou will learn to her dismay that a friendship between employer and servant can be slippery to maintain. So can long-distance romance. She suspects Sam’s relationship with his new partner at work might be growing more than professional, while she herself is pursued by an up-and-coming businessman who is not only charming, but bears a disconcerting resemblance to Will. Unfortunately, Lou no longer seems as fresh or endearing as she did in the earlier books. Her wit feels strained. Even her eccentric fashion sense has grown a bit annoying. Secondary characters—like the Gopniks’ elderly neighbor Mrs. DeWitt, devoted to her dog and not as mean as she seems; or Ashok, the doorman whose chaotically happy marriage provides contrast to the Gopniks’—end up more engaging than the protagonists.
There is something lackadaisical about the writing here that makes getting through all the plot twists a slog.