Jojo Moyes is an automatic buy author for me. Foreign Fruit has been sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time, so I was happy to finally get around to reading it. Set in the 1950s and present day (early 2000s), Foreign Fruit takes place in the seaside town of Merham. It’s a place where people don’t like change — even when it’s greatly needed.
In the 1950s section of the book we meet two friends: Lottie Swift and Celia Holden. Lottie came to live with the respectable Holden family when London was evacuated during the war and then never went back to live with her mother.
Lottie and Celia are as close as sisters, but all that changes when a group of bohemians move into a beach side Art Deco house named Arcadia. Their artistic and unconventional ways scandalise the townspeople. Lottie and Celia are warned not to socialise with them. However, they can’t help but be drawn to Arcadia and its colourful inhabitants. But then something happens that will change Lottie and Celia’s friendship and their lives forever.
Fifty years later an interior designer named Daisy moves into Arcadia with her newborn baby. She’s leading a renovation for a London-based hotel owner and trying to deal with the fact that her partner Daniel left her and his child because he is having some sort of breakdown. Merham has changed little in fifty years and there are many people in town who oppose the redevelopment of Arcadia. Lottie is not one of them, but the work on Arcadia will bring up a lot of memories from the past that she wants to keep buried.
Jojo Moyes is great at writing historical fiction novels with dual storylines: one occurring in the past and one in the future. I found Foreign Fruit, one of her earlier books, to be a great read. It was full of memorable characters and had an interesting plot. Lottie wasn’t the most likeable protagonist, but her prickly personality made her seem more real. I thought the merging together of past and present plots was handled very well. Foreign Fruit is not one of my favourite Jojo Moyes reads, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Verdict: A great read for lovers of Jojo Moyes and historical fiction.