Here’s a novel that I feel fits right into the ‘chick-lit’ genre (although I hate that term!). I don’t read a lot of this quite wide genre but I do love certain authors of this style, including Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and JoJo Moyes! I’ve never read any Jo Thomas though, so thought I’d give The Oyster Catcher a go!
This is a feel-good, easy to read novel with likeable characters and a fun, light-hearted storyline that centers around Fi, who’s in Ireland for her honeymoon but is now suddenly single, having been dumped on her wedding day, as she lands herself a job with Oyster-farmer Sean. She somehow manages to get the job despite hating the sea and disliking the taste of oysters! Fi quickly makes both friends and enemies in the little village of Dooleybridge, Ireland, and the story dips between light-hearted fun and parts that seem, to be honest, a little ridiculous!
As the novel went on though I warmed more and more to the characters, particularly the protagonist Fi – though at times Fi irritated me a bit with her (bad) choices, and seemed to be a little stupid at times, overall she was quite an amiable character. Sean, Margaret and some of the other villagers were also likeable characters, and I thought it was good that they all had their quirks. Sean particularly was well developed as a character and was quite attractive, despite his moodiness – he was obviously the strong, silent type that so often appears in these types of books. The characters mostly seemed like people you might actually meet in a village in Ireland from the sounds of it! The only characters I really disliked, and not just because of their intended horribleness, were Nancy and the Johnny – they both seemed excessively clichéd, over-the-top ‘baddies’, and when you read the novel you’ll see why!
The Oyster Catcher is easy to read and there’s more going on than just the usual love story which I appreciated. I enjoyed learning more about oysters, something I hadn’t previously read about – that was something a little different! From the beginning of the novel it is clear what is ultimately going to happen and it’s very predictable in this way but the storyline is entertaining with enough happening that it remains enjoyable to read. I did, however, find some parts of the novel a little too hard to believe and some characters seemed a little undeveloped.
The descriptions of the sea and people throughout the novel were quite vivid and I could really picture the location in my mind, despite never having visited Ireland. I think Jo Thomas is a good storyteller and it shows through – by the end of the novel I wanted to run away to Ireland and live a carefree life like Fi does! I felt that, although she had a horrible time with her fiancé, she was quite lucky to be able to start afresh, even just temporarily, in a place where no one knew her, and this caught my imagination as I read, and will no doubt do the same to other readers.
Overall: This would be a good book to take on holiday; nothing too deep or thrilling, it just ambles along at a good pace. It’s not ground-breaking in terms of originality and is predictable but I enjoyed it nonetheless, and feel it’s worth giving a go if you fancy a simple, easy read that will leave you feeling warm inside. I’d be interested to read some of Jo Thomas’ other novels too.
It also really made me want to try oysters!
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.