I’m thrilled today to be joining the blog tour and sharing my review of Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell, published for kindle and in hardcover on 24th January by Headline Review, with the paperback to follow in June. My thanks to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the tour. When I reviewed (and so enjoyed) This Could Change Everything last year (you’ll find my review here), it reminded me how much I’ve always loved Jill’s writing: it might have been a while since I’d reviewed one of her books, but I’m now firmly hooked again. And this book was just so lovely…
When Mimi first visits her dad’s new home in the Cotswolds, she falls in love with Goosebrook and the people who live there. (Well, maybe not snooty Henrietta, who lets Mimi walk miles in the rain rather than give her a lift.)
There’s Paddy, with his flashing eyes and seductive charm. Friendly and funny Lois makes Mimi laugh. And seriously gorgeous Cal is welcoming and charismatic. Though Mimi loves her city life and her career, she’d be very happy to return to Goosebrook if it means seeing more of him.
Life is about to take some unexpected and shocking twists and turns. And Mimi’s path and Cal’s are set to cross again and again – but will it ever be the right time for both of them?
Goodness, when whoever it was said that the path to true love isn’t always easy must have read an early draft of this book – there’s never any real doubt that Cal and Mimi are made for each other, but there are so many obstacles and complications, not the least being that they’re hardly ever in the same place for any length of time. But “place” is also one thing I particularly enjoyed about this lovely book. There are few authors who build a setting as well as Jill Mansell, where it really becomes part of the story rather than a mere backdrop – I just loved Goosebrook, the village pub at its centre, the cottages, all those wonderful (and really awful) characters who know everything about everyone’s lives, and the many small storylines where others take their turn in the spotlight with their various issues and dramas.
But although Goosebrook becomes the home where the heart is, I liked the Majorcan scenes too – although that was perhaps more about the interaction between the characters than the location, however well-drawn. I seem to have a bit of a “thing” about secondary characters at the moment, and must say that I thought CJ, the thriller writer who’s undoubtedly a composite of many such characters the author will know personally, was an absolute tour-de-force – his heart and sensitive side are deeply hidden, but the thrusts and parries as Mimi wrestles to keep him under control also help underline and develop the strength of her own character.
I could really talk about the secondary characters all day. I thought Paddy was just wonderful (he thinks he’s pretty wonderful too) and I particularly liked the rather unexpected sense of right and wrong he showed at one critical moment. Snooty Henrietta was so well-drawn too (and I particularly liked her side-kick cat…), and the way her true character slowly unfolds was just perfectly done.
A lovely romance (or several), wonderful characters, lightness and depth, a perfect emotional touch, the vivid setting – every book Jill Mansell writes is an absolute joy.
About the author
Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty-five Sunday Times bestsellers including The One You Really Want, To The Moon and Back, You and Me, Always and Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay. Take A Chance On Me won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.
Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is Three Amazing Things About You, which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.
Jill started writing fiction while working in the NHS, after she read a magazine article that inspired her to join a local creative writing class. Her first book was published in 1991 and she is now a full-time novelist. She is one of the few who still write their books by hand, like a leftover from the dark ages. She lives in Bristol with her family.