Just a little bit about me before I tell you about the book. I haven’t mentioned before that I have a degree in English Language and Literature – a 2:2 (a drinker’s degree, as Jeremy Vine called it last week…!) from Hull in 1977. I’ve always loved reading, and could show you notebooks from the early 60s and early 70s where I made notes on all the books I read and wrote my first reviews. Sadly, when I’d finished my degree I totally lost my mojo – I didn’t read a book for years, I just couldn’t enjoy the experience any more after all the reading to deadlines and appraising content (and I’d started work and discovered men and nightclubs by then…).
Then I picked up my first book by Jill Mansell while on holiday on a Greek island– I can’t even remember which book it was, but I suspect it might have been Fast Friends back in 1991 (and the island might have been the then unspoilt Kos…). And at long last I was reading again and enjoying it. Then I moved on, and read anything and everything I could get my hands on again, and left Jill Mansell behind for a while. I’ve really only rediscovered my love for chick lit in the last few years – I’m older and wiser now and know there’s such a tremendous range of writing that comes under that broad banner, that it’s where you can find some of the best writing around these days and I’m so glad to be really enjoying it again. And I have to say that Jill Mansell is still one of the very, very best – I have so many more of her books I’ve missed out on now sitting on my shelves, and I’m really looking forward to catching up.
Her latest – Don’t Want To Miss A Thing – is a thoroughly excellent read. Dex is a man about town, fast car, women fighting over him – first reaction is that he’s a bit of a prat really, the sort of guy you’d warn your daughter about – whose life is turned upside down when his sister dies and he becomes the guardian of her baby daughter Delphi. He moves to Briarwood in the Cotswolds, where he finds himself living next door to Molly, a comic strip writer with her own history of wrong choices in love. Add into the mix Frankie and her cafe with its memorabilia from a TV series, goat tethered in the garden and her complicated married life, her wayward teenage daughter Amber, Amanda the straight talking village doctor, handsome Vince and his feisty grandmother, gorgeous shy Henry, Lois the good time girl landlady with a softer side, the ex-actress from the TV series mourning her lost love and lost youth.
It all makes for a really perfect read, with plot twists and turns, misunderstandings, humour and sadness, with the most delectable baby at its centre and punctuating every scene. These are characters you really care about, and it’s the perfect book to disappear into on a sunny afternoon. Jill Mansell, I’m so thrilled I’ve found you again.
Catch up with Jill Mansell’s wonderful books through her website.