Should I Tell You?

by Jill Mansell

He’d long feared that one day, Lachlan would decide to set his sights on Amber, which would be fine, he could easily accept that, if only Lachlan wasn’t who he was. But he was Lachlan, mercurial and capricious and with all the romantic staying power of a mayfly.

It’s hard to know how to review this book without spoilers. Looking back, I guess everything ended up in a pretty predictable manner, and there were happy endings aplenty. But Ms. Mansell threw enough doubt into the equation that I thought things might take an unexpected turn in at least one of a couple of cases. I wish that the unexpected had happened in one instance. I wasn’t 100% all-in with the outcome of one of the romances. Not enough work was done to convince me of a happy ever after there. There were still too many red flags even at the end despite jumping to a very optimistic final chapter, where we revisit the ensemble cast 3 years later. Plus, one of the heroines, though nice and likable, was kind of a non-entity. Since I felt her story was the main focus, it had a detrimental effect on my enjoyment of the book. There were two other couples whose journey ended up being more satisfying and entertaining. In one, I wasn’t sure if one of the partners was good or evil, and in the other, I felt like the relationship was a lost cause for sure, until it wasn’t. The latter story included an explanation of a character’s behavior that came as a surprise, yet made perfect sense. The former was a delight and I enjoyed it very much. The fourth of the stories had some troubling aspects and was borderline creepy and I didn’t enjoy it at all at the end. I liked it at first.

The plots were well constructed and everything was closed out satisfactorily except the doubts as to one person’s character which I’ve already stated. There was a lot going on and a lot of characters to engage my interest, which I like. The overall tone was light and amusing, though some serious and scary things were touched on, as with most women’s fiction. Despite my quibbles, I felt I was in good hands with Ms. Mansell.

Thank-You to Net Galley and Sourcebooks for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

April 19, 2022

Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay

by Jill Mansell

This was a perfectly fine romance/chick-lit novel. It was well-written and kept me interested. It just lacked that special spark. It was amusing, not funny. I liked the characters but didn’t love them. The one character I hated came straight out of the Milly Johnson bad-guy playbook. I wasn’t tortured with him for long, thank goodness. The super-nice character he was threatening saw right through him and was strong enough to dispatch him fairly quickly. Another badly behaved character was at her worst during a confrontation with our main heroine, and then she turned around within minutes. She just changed her mind, apparently. While this was easy on my stress level, it prevented a strong catharsis that is so enjoyable in my favorite novels. Another storyline resolved itself too easily as well. There’s a fine line between torturing the reader with our protagonists’ cluelessness and bad decisions and building up to a “stand up and cheer” break-through. This was a pleasant read, but a little too pleasant to make it memorable. No real lows, but no real highs either. No more Jill Mansell for a while, I guess. This was the second chance book. Never say never, though

Rating: 3 out of 5.

March 5, 2020

This Could Change Everything

By Jill Mansell

Every day, we do things that are capable of changing everything, and that’s what makes life exciting. When I was busking last summer, I used to fantasize that Steven Spielberg would come to Bath and catch sight of me and be completely enthralled, and then he’d beg me to appear in his next film.” “And did he?” “No, but it could happen. That’s the point. 

I enjoyed this book and will probably try another Jill Mansell in the future. She’s a good writer. I liked the characters and was entertained throughout. In fact, I do have to give her extra kudos because at the 60 or 70% mark it was obvious who two of the main characters needed to end up with, and I couldn’t see how that was going to be accomplished without pain or injustice to the other involved parties. She handled it very neatly in one case. Not so much in the other.

There wasn’t a lot of tension or suspense or hilarity. Or highs or lows. I liked the characters but wasn’t really invested in them. It was pleasant, amusing, and I read every word. Not skipping ahead is usually worth at least 3 stars! Will definitely be putting another one on my TBR list, but not going to rush to read another because I can’t wait. 3 1/2 stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

February 4, 2019