When Millie Brady saves Orla Hart's life she doesn't realise how drastically it will change her own – not least because the boyfriend who was asking her to move in with him at the time stormed off in a huff. Actually, Millie's relieved. She's quite happy to enjoy a man-free summer in Cornwall. But bestselling novelist Orla has other ideas. She's determined - for her own reasons - that Millie should meet the man of her dreams. Dropped wallets, roller-skating gorillagrams, the world's most flirtatious boss and a helicopter in the back garden all conspire to produce a summer neither Millie - nor Orla - will ever forget.
Years and years ago, I was given two Jill Mansell books as a present. One was Good at Games and the other was this book.
It has been a sufficiently long time so that I couldn't remember too much about what happened in this book, all except for one scene. If anyone ever talked to me about a Jill Mansell book, I would always talk about the very last scene in this book, or more precisely, the very last line. It is not that it is a perfect ending,, although all the loose ends are tidied up nicely, and it is not that the line would be particularly funny taken out of context, but the last line finishes off this book in such a perfect tone and was so memorable to me that I could still remember it six or seven years after I originally read it. The closer I got to the end of the book, the more I was looking for the clues of how we would get to that last line. I guess it is kind of strange to begin a review talking about the last line of a book though!
Our main character is Millie. She works for a very uptight travel agency in Cornwall, and shares a house with her friend Hester. Her boyfriend is about to ask her to move in with him when she notices a woman standing on the edge of a cliff. Regardless of what her boyfriend thinks Millie talks the woman away from the edge, and so in the process saves the life of well known novelist, Orla Hart. Orla is in an unhappy marriage, and her latest book has just been completely savaged in a review and so she is feeling quite desperate.
When Orla crosses paths with Millie again, Millie finds herself out of a job, as well as minus her boyfriend (no great loss there) and so Orla decides that she is going to try something completely different for her next book - she is going to write about Millie's life. Now Millie and her housemate have just vowed to have a summer free of the complications that having sex brings, so that isn't necessarily going to provide the novelist with a lot of fodder, so she steers several good looking young men her way. Her new job as a gorilla gram also provides many ideas, as does Hester's long standing crush on Millie's new boss, even though she has a loving boyfriend who is currently working at the other end of the country.
Millie tries to navigate her way through her love life, all the while falling for a man who is emotionally unavailable, Hester finds out that she doesn't necessarily want what she thinks she wants, and Orla finds more out about herself.
One of the highlights for me is the dialogue between the characters, especially between Millie and the major male character. What starts off as a very awkward introduction blossoms nicely and their dialogue is sometimes light and entertaining, and at other times much deeper, and the author has a deft touch in knowing when to include each type of dialogue.
At around 560 pages long, this is not a short book by any means, but it reads as a much shorter book than it really is. I find myself getting lost in Mansell's books, and I am looking forward to reading another from her.
For a reader who doesn't normally do rereads, I think the fact that I can see myself reading this book for a third time at some time in the future speaks volumes.
If you are looking for good chick-lit, you can do yourself a favour and pick up one of Jill Mansell's books. Luckily Sourcebooks is currently releasing some of this author's books which were previously not easily available everywhere.
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