On the morning of Lily’s twenty-fifth birthday, it’s time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.
Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum’s life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie’s attentions.
Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily’s friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again…
It would have been so incredibly rude of me to go along to her launch party (full report here) and then not review Jill Mansell’s new book, wouldn’t it? I’m saying that as if it was a hardship – I’ve just had the loveliest weekend curled up with (my signed copy of!) You And Me, Always, published in hardback and for kindle on 28th January by Headline Review. The paperback will be out on 16th June – and everyone will really love it.
When I reviewed Three Amazing Things About You last year (you’ll find the review here) – and it was one of my top books of 2015 – I compared it with Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You in its impact. This one is different – this time unmistakably Jill Mansell, but at her sparkling best.
The story is really excellent – three wonderful female leads in Lily, Patsy and Coral (with Lily’s Mum a strong fourth), and full of the twists and turns, dramas and misunderstandings, secrets and revelations, tears, great humour and love that Jill Mansell does so much better than anyone else I know, in her own unique style.
I won’t tell the story – she does it so much better – but there were so many things about this book that I enjoyed. The setting of Stanton Langley is so vividly described – there’s a lovely drawn map in the front of my copy, and the writing brings it to life perfectly. Every story line was enchanting – I particularly enjoyed reading about Coral, but I always do gravitate towards the older characters in Jill’s books because she writes them so well, so real in every way (yes, I’m a fan of the “OAP sex” she talked about at her party!). I did worry a little at the introduction of Eddie – worried about things turning a bit unreal, maybe? – but my worries were totally unnecessary… the whole thing worked wonderfully, and added some lovely glitz to a story firmly grounded in reality. The dialogue, as always in Jill’s books, is quite perfect – realistic, with a perfect touch of humour, speech you can hear so clearly in your head as you read. And this may be her 27th book, but Jill’s ability to make you smile as you read, whatever the characters’ ups and downs, has never wavered.
I’ve loved every book by Jill Mansell that I’ve ever read – and this one really is up there with the very best.
Jill Mansell lives with her partner and children in Bristol, and writes full time. Actually that’s not true; she watches TV, eats fruit gums, admires the rugby players training in the sports field behind her house, and spends hours on the internet Tweeting and marvelling at how many other writers have blogs. Only when she’s completely run out of displacement activities does she actually write.
Jill keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter and through her Facebook author page.