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Merham is a well-ordered 1950s seaside town: the kind of town in which everyone knows their place (and those who don't are promptly put in it). Lottie Swift, an evacuee who has grown up with the respectable Holden family, loves Merham, while the Holdens' daughter Celia chafes against the constraints of the town.
When a group of bohemians takes over Arcadia, a stark Art Deco house on the seafront, the girls are as drawn to its temptations as Merham's citizens are appalled by them. They set in place a chain of events both within the Holden family and Merham itself which will have longstanding and tragic consequences for all concerned.
Now, almost fifty years on, Arcadia is returning to life, and its inhabitants stirring up strong feelings again. And prompting more than one person to look into their own romantic history and ask: Can you ever leave your past behind?
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If you like books that leave you feeling a little weepy once you've turned the final page then you'll love Jojo Moyes' second novel Foreign Fruit (her debut, Sheltering Sky, is equally appealing.) Set in Merham, a very English seaside town, it tells the stories of Lottie Swift and Daisy Parsons whose lives, upon arrival at the unremarkable town, are transformed.
The book opens in the 1950s with Lottie, an evacuee who's staying with the respectable Holden family and their daughter Celia, where "noise and suppressed hysteria" are the norm. Their small town ways are dramatically disrupted when Arcadia, the Art Deco house overlooking the sea, is taken over by a fast and Bohemian set where "nude painting and uncertain domestic situations" are the order of the day. Adeline, the Queen Bee in the set-up, declares that Lottie needs "to learn to dream". Good advice, except that her dream comes in the shape of Guy, the handsome son of a melon and banana importer. Lottie is instantly smitten, but Guy is engaged to Celia. Forbidden fruit, indeed.
Fast forward to the present and the perils of Daisy Parker. She's has been abandoned by her partner, is the new mother of a little baby, and has taken on the all-consuming project of renovating Arcadia for a businessman called Jones. The owner of the "ocean liner" house, has, up until recently been Lottie Swift. In a series of emotionally rewarding and devastating encounters secrets from the past and present are tantalisingly revealed. --Eithne FarryReview:
Moyes evokes the strictures of time beautifully, as well as the enervating charms of a sleepy resort. (Good Housekeeping)
If you liked Chocolat by Joanne Harris, you'll love Foreign Fruit by Jojo Moyes . . . blissful, romantic reading (Company)
Sheltering Rain made her a new star of the women's market; her second novel, about love lost and found, will not disappoint.
Moyes again proves herself a worthy successor to Maeve Binchy and Rosamund Pilcher with her second novel. (Publishers Weekly)
Even if the sun isn't shining, this book will make you feel like it is . . . (Good Housekeeping)
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Book Description Hodder & Stoughton, 2004. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. New. Seller Inventory # A74850
Book Description Hodder & Stoughton, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB0340834145
Book Description Hodder & Stoughton, 2004. Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # Q-0340834145