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Jojo Moyes (The Last Letter from Your Lover) spins a wistful modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast with an ethical conundrum at its core in Me Before You.
When Louisa Clark loses her job waiting tables at a local café, she's desperate to find another placement: her mother cannot work because she has to care for Louisa's ailing grandfather, her father is about to be made redundant and her older sister is barely scraping by as a single mother. With no education and the economy in the tank, Louisa narrowly avoids pole dancing by taking a position as caretaker to a quadriplegic man. Given her lack of health care experience, Louisa initially can't understand why the family would hire her. Then she meets the patient.
Will Traynor lived a fast-paced life of big business, international travel and daredevil hobbies until a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed below the shoulders. No longer able to live life on his terms, Will is caustic, withdrawn and nearly unbearable. When Louisa finds out he's also planning to commit assisted suicide in six months, her first instinct is to quit, but her growing connection with Will inspires her to try changing his mind instead. As she attempts to revitalize his spirit with a hit-and-miss series of adventures, Louisa is surprised to find that Will is bringing her out of her own shell; before she knows it, saving his life is intimately connected to saving herself from heartbreak.
With her chirpy personality, quirky sense of humor and enormous capacity for compassion, Louisa is absolutely adorable--think Bridget Jones with a selfless streak. Readers will fall for her heart and pluck so quickly that they won't be at all surprised that even moody, sarcastic Will finds her irresistible. While he never completely loses his edge, once Will lets his guard down, he's as charming and eloquent a hero as any romance reader could wish for. However, this is no ordinary romance novel. The love story only intensifies the novel's core question: at what point should a disabled person's friends and family acknowledge that if he can no longer control his life, he should be allowed to end it?
While the story contains several "pass the Kleenex" moments, readers will fall in love with these two irrepressible souls brought together by the very conflict that may tear them apart.
***This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness. Sign up for this free and awesome newsletter at http://www.shelf-awareness.com for the latest news and reviews! This review refers to an ARC provided by Shelf Awareness.***