Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tipping the Scales Slightly to the Good Read Side

Sometimes, I eagerly await the publication of an author's next book, checking the library website daily so I can put it on hold.  Sometimes I'm less vigilant, but still excited when I see the book has gotten in.  And sometimes.... sometimes I'm just me, and keep on reading for no very good reason.  I'd say Jill Mansell falls into the third category, but I suppose I do have some reason.  She is one of the last writers I know who still brings forth a prolific stream of chic lit.  Maybe there are others, but my browsing days seem to be mostly over so it's hard for me to discover them.   But Jill Mansell has come out with, I think, her third book in a year - certainly the third one I've read in a year.  No surprises here, it's the same airy mix of boy-meets-girl stories, same drama, drama, drama, same happy ending.  But that's not a bad thing, especially since I'm coming out of a more serious reading curve. (Actually I've literally been on a trajectory up to chic lit - encyclopedia, non-fiction, mystery romance, and, finally, the real junk :))

I have to say, with the caveat that this could (as it always could) be the result of my mood, or my reading choices immediately prior to the book, I found this latest a little less trying than Jill Mansell's other recent offerings.  I had remarked previously (I'm not sure in the blog or if I was just thinking it) that all the books have the same plot - girl likes guy, guy likes girl, but girl doesn't trust guy - not my favorite type of chic lit since the suspense of the romance just isn't there.  But guess what - she changed it up! Ok, she changed it up by making the main character a widow who isn't interested in romance... with which angsty drama (and not in the good angst sense :)) I could live without, but at least it's something different.  I was disappointed at first because I was rooting for her to get together with the best friend - I still maintain that would have been a better story.  But the one chosen, while a little far-fetched, was plenty fun - handsome, down-to-earth, successful guy falls in love with our Ellie at first sight, while she remains oblivious.  And we get plenty from his point of view - I think more than usual.

So the primary romance was pretty decent.  The requisite secondary romances (friend and older couple) were not overly interesting, but I think took up less space than usual, so that was a plus.  The characters themselves were... I don't know if they more interesting, more realistic, or just more London than the two previous books, but I think I liked them better.  The plot was, I think, even more implausible than usual - but the good side to that is that the implausibility was in keeping the couples apart for so long - and I'll take that over the alternative, which is a boring ending because everyone is already together.  Even the writing seemed not quite as cringeworthy, though I concede that is almost definitely a product of my greater willingness to go in for a bit of chic lit than last time.  In short, I had more fun reading this book than I expected,  even up till the ending.  Which is why Jill Mansell will remain an author whom I check out, if not one who gets on-holded a month in advance :)

Verdict: 2.9/5

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