Archive for the ‘C+’ Category

Copyright: 2006

Pages: 448 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Romance

Grade: C+

When Millie saves bestselling novelist Orla Hart’s life and loses her boyfriend in the process, one wonders if the rest of the book can be as entertaining and eventful as this dramatic opening but for Millie Brady the fun has only just begun

Millie decides that a man-free summer is just what she needs but Orla, who wants Millie to be the heroine of her next novel, is determined to find her the man of her dreams. As far as Millie is concerned, the only man worth thinking about is Hugh Emerson but for Hugh, whose wife tragically died in a horse-riding accident, “dating is not on the agenda”. Millie’s determination not to fall in love with the young widower forms the centrepiece of the novel but Jill Mansell also delves into the shenanigans of Millie’s best friend Hester and her eventful love life; Orla and her cheating husband; Millie’s man-eating mother; and the leather-clad, sex-mad Lucas Kemp who runs a kiss-a-gram service.

There’s at least one person out there who understands my dilemma LOL, namely that I borrowed this book from my library because of it’s cover. Jill Mansell’s covers are very similar and when you walk through the aisles and always see those gorgeous editions you submit sooner or later… (I caved after 15 min.)

This is a rather long novel with a strong development of secondary characters and romances. After the first chapter I already knew that this author’s voice clicks for me. Jill Mansel has an incredible talent to draw real characters with flaws and quirks, humour and heart and with a sound talent to to endear themselves to you.

What I liked about the heroine Millie is that she’s so normal, so true. Instead of being a virgin or a woman scorned, she loves sex and men and takes life in big strikes with a healthy carpe diem mentality. Hugh, the hero, is totally different from Millie and a true original compared to some typical clich├ęs. After the loss of his wife he has changed drastically and decided to never let himself become vulnerable again. His portrayal from emotionally cold, back into the world of the living is simply heart-warming.

Another reason why I am fond of this book is Mansell’s unique talent for humourous and funny situations. Their number is countless but they are never stupid or over the top but real and fresh.

So why, you might ask, did I give this book an average C+? I am honestly not sure and it’s damn hard to put my finger on the reason. The best I can come up with is that the book is simply too long. It may be a mixture between too little plot extended between too many pages, too many secondary characters (though everyone of them is well drawn and entertaining) and too little tension to keep my full attention until the happy end. In the end it didn’t add up to a better grade and I am truly sorry about that.


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