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I have found myself reading a lot of books by Carole Matthews recently. I find them all easy reads which is the kind of book I like to read in between more in depth books. All You Need is Love was calling me from the shelf in Asda with a bright red £1 sticker! Now please tell me how could I walk over such a great authors book as new for £1? That is how I come to lay my hands on All you Need Is Love!
The story revolves around main character Sally Freeman who lives on a run down council estate in Liverpool. Sally is a young single mum who is determined to make a better life for both her and her son Charlie and to do this she thinks she needs two things number one to get off of the estate and two is to find a man to help her with this. Sally decides to join on a computer course in order to improve her skills. It is on this course that she meets the man she thinks is perfect to changing her life around as he can offer her the world. But how will the man in question, Spencer Knight, feel about having to give her son Charlie the world too?
Will Charlie be able to except the new man in his mother's life or will is hopes of his mum and her ex Johhny get in the way of a happy ending all around?
I felt the relationship between each of the characters in this book flowed together nicely which truly helped to make the book enjoyable. There were parts of the book which were a little farfetched but I do not think this ruined the book in anyway. The main character Sally, took me on twists and turns of my opinion of her throughout the book and even now I have finished the book I am still unsure if I did truly like her!! I found at the beginning of the book, roughly 4-5 chapters, I really started to warm to her character as she came across as some kind of superwoman helping the ladies in her community and trying to better herself. I then found my opinion of her starting to change when she starts to date Spencer and I actually started to dislike the character very much and preferred to read about her son and her ex partner while her character took this change, which I found happened often in the book.
I did enjoy this book although I did find it a little frustrating not being able to enjoy the main character. I cannot say that this is one of Carole Matthews best books I have read but even still I still feel it is worth giving it a go just do not have to high expectations of the book. For a £1 I think I got my monies worth! I would be a little disappointed paying full price for this book.
On my recent holiday to Cuba I took a good selection of books with me as I knew just the 10hr plane journey alone each way would mean I would read at least two books! With this in mind I bought a fair amount of new books in the run up and then kept them all ready to take instead of reading them straight away even though this took a huge amount of will power on my part!
The first one I started with was this one and as it was one of the authors I had read before and enjoyed I was looking forward to getting stuck in!
Carole Matthews is an English author who has written 13 books. A couple of her books have been sold to Hollywood apparently although I am not sure which ones! She has also done a bit of TV presenting and is also on the radio too.
Sally Freeman is a single mum to Charlie and lives on a run down council estate in Liverpool. Determined to make a better life for herself and her son she signs up to a computer course. During the course she meets the charming and very rich Spencer who literally sweeps her off her feet. However things are never simple especially when Sally's ex boyfriend Johnny is still madly in love with her and is like a father figure to her son Charlie.
Sally knows she can have a better life with Spencer and more importantly, so can her son but, why is she so unsure if being with Spencer is the right thing to do? At the same time though she knows she doesn't still love Johnny so how can she let him down without causing hurt and upset?
Sally is portrayed right from the beginning as being a very caring, unselfish and generally nice person. From the first chapter we see how she is desperate for a better life but, doesn't want to ignore those around her who need her and would rather put their needs before her own. Of course the author needs the main character to be a good person as we, as the reader, need to be able to relate to her and want her life to turn around.
Johnny is Sally's Ex and like a father figure to her son Charlie. Again he is a very likable person but, I did find I got a bit frustrated with him sometimes as he seemed to be unable to believe he could achieve much. However, you do feel for him especially as he obviously still has feelings for Sally which are clearly not reciprocated!
Spencer is the third main character in the story and the author has done really well I feel with him as a character, as she has made him overall a very nice person but, managed very clearly to make the divide between the classes very obvious from the things he says, to the way he acts around Charlie and how he doesn't think of things hat would usually be very obvious to somebody doing either a minimum wage job or living on benefits.
I believe this is one of the few books I bought a while back where it wasn't part of an offer and I just thought I'd treat myself so I would have paid full RRP at £6.99 as I know I bought this from Waterstones. However if you don't like paying full price for your books you can get many second hand copies online from the £2 mark upwards and of course you can always get a copy from the library.
I really enjoyed this book as it seemed very down to earth in some ways and this I could relate to more. There were elements that seemed a little like ''yeah like that would ever happen'' but, I suppose that has to happens sometimes in a book otherwise it wouldn't be fiction would it?
What for me I enjoyed was when I was reading this book I was on holiday in Cuba and during the book a couple of the characters took a trip to Havana and it was nice to read about a place that was in the country I was already in!
Overall I really enjoyed the book because it had many elements that were down to earth and dealt with issues surrounding a run down estate where residents came together to help turn things around and I really enjoyed this side of the book as well as the love story going on among it all. I liked how the characters were together and how easily the book flowed and I think the author did a great job in making the people and the area the book was set in come to life. Definitely a recommended book from me.
All you need is Love is a book I decided to get with some Amazon vouchers, as I needed a nice easy book for some hammock-based reading on my holiday.
I've read a few Carole Matthews books, they can be a bit hit and miss, but as this was set in Liverpool, where I live, I thought I woudl give it a go.
The book centres around Sally Freeman, a young single mum, who lives on a run-down council estate with her son, Charlie She has an on-off boyfriend Jonny, who is an aspiring painter who cares for his mum. Then, in walks the rich, upper class Spencer, who displays an interest in Sally, whisking her off for fancy meals and so on. Only trouble is, he's less interested in her son. The novel looks at these relationships and the culture clash between Spencer's world and Sally's and the clean-up of the estate, instigated by Sally. Will she go for the new life with Spencer or the old one with Jonny?
The style is typical Matthews - some quirky characters and telling the story with different narrators.
So what's good about it?
Well it's nice to have a novel set somewhere other than London and nice to read about places you know. I enjoyed the premise of the books and I really liked some of the characters - Charlie, Jonny and Charlie's friend are all likeable and funny and the book is much better when it's told from their perspective.
It was easy to read and involved no effort at all, a good thing when lying in a hammock!
Not all scousers say 'sound' to everything, nor does everyone in Liverpool have the Beatles on all the time. Niggles I know and probably annoying to only those who live in Liverpool, but annoying all the same.
However, the major problem for me is that I just didn't like Sally - she's annoying! She constantly calls herself 'superwoman' which is irritatingly smug. She's also self-important and thinks she's right all the time. Not likeable at all - and certainly not someone I can imagine having two men fighting over. Unusual because the author does usually have likeable main characters.
Also, the plot full of cliches - Spencer isn't just rich, he's mega rich with an estate, posh mates and a disapproving father. I mean, can we not have a bit more imagination please? How many times have we seen that before?
So am OK book, it's readable, but certainly not one of her best. Can do better!
As someone who has lived in a council house as a child, I did wonder how Matthews would approach the subject, and if it would be offensive. So I had to read this to settle my curiosity!
Sally Freeman lives in a run down council house in Liverpool with her son. It wasn't exactly a mansion to begin with, but since her husband left, it's got worse...so it's no surprise when Sally makes a vow to clean the place up, and make it nice. This alone was quite entertaining, but I did start getting a bit bored...
Until sexy Spencer turns up! A charming man, he really lightens up the story, and Sally's son loves him too. So when he offers her a way out of her council house and into his arms, and his arms (and his wallet!), it should be the happy ending.
Nothings ever simple in love and war, though, and Sally isn't really in love with Spencer. She still lusts after an ex boyfriend, Johnny, and can't get him out of her mind. She's a sensible woman, though, and knows she won't get this offer again...until Johnny declares his love. The choice would be obvious, if Johnny wasn't a penniless painter who lives with his mum.
The story is unusual, which makes it interesting, but I found Sally to be an odd character. Her choices and thoughts weren't very closely linked, and I didn't like her as much as I usually like Matthews characters, but she was well written. Her son was entertaining and had some funny moments, and both men were realistic and likeable.
The book differs from Matthews usual in that Sally isn't a leading lady, and needs a man, and it doesn't have an underlying moral. That said, it's enjoyable and warm, and a good story.
I picked up All You Need is Love for £1.50 in the sale at Sainsburys. I have often found Carole Matthews books to be a bit hit and miss but thought for that price it was worth a read.
The story unfolds on a run down council estate in Liverpool. Single mum and superwoman Sally Freeman is striving to make a better life for herself and son Charlie. Surviving on benefits, she is taking a computer course in order to improve her skills. Here she meets handsome Spencer Knight, who offers her a ticket out of there, but as she has just started on a mission to improve their surroundings can she leave it all behind? Plus ex boyfriend Johnny is still on the scene, who Charlie adores. So is it Johnny who lights her fire or is Spencer really her 'knight' in shining armour.
I actually did enjoy this book, it is a really sweet story , and although it is predictable it is a nice easy read. The title is taken from the Beatles song , and being based in Liverpool there are lots of little Beatles references throughout the book. The writing style did come across as a little confused, the chapters featuring Sally are written in first person, but other chapters are written in third person, which I just found bizarre!
My main problem with the book is the character of Sally - she cannot refer to herself without the 'single mum and superwoman' label, and it gets more and more grating as the book goes on. I think that if Carole Matthews had stuck to keeping the whole book in third person this might have been avoided. I also found it strange that someone as seemingly intelligent as Sally would not have got a job. She spends time complaining about surviving on benefits, while eating cheap beans on toast, but with a son who is at full time school it looks like something she could easily rectify.
I did find the other characters in the book really well written. I particularly liked Johnny, who has put his own dreams on the back burner to take care of his sick mother. He is fantastic with Charlie, and determined to remain a constant in his life despite not being his father or in a relationship with his mother. He coaches the local kid's football team even though they are rubbish, and is just a genuinely good guy! The other character I really liked was Charlie, who at the age of 10 is struggling between being a good boy and a rebel.
Although this was an enjoyable read, it wasn't the best of her books that I have read, and I'm glad that I didn't pay anymore than I did for it. I would recommend it for a holiday read if you can pick it up cheaply.
Paperback 404 pages by Headline Review.
All You Need is Love is written by Carole Matthews and was published this year!
In my opinion, Carole Matthews is a very talented writes and she also wrote The Chocolate Lover's Club! Which is another great book. She is a best selling author all over the world.
This book is about a single mum who is quite honestly brilliant! Her name is Sally Freeman and she lives with her son Charlie on a run down council estate in Liverpool.
She knows it is not going to be easy to get out of their and it is going to take a lot of effort. Her dream to get away from there comes true when she is offered a ticket to the future. This is in the form of a handsome gentleman named Spencer Knight.
He not only has the charm streak but he has the money to get them away and whisk her off her feet! She just needs to know whether he is actually 'The One'. An ex boyfriend could still have the key to her heart and would she let this stop her?
All she wants is for everything to fall into place and her future to be mapped out! Which direction will she follow?
Personally, i think this is a heart warming story and you will be sure that it is worth the money! The RRP is £6.99 but I am sure if you go on Ebay or Amazon it may be cheaper.
It is really witty and quite funny at times. I would say this is for the more girly-girl. It will also be for the younger generation of women and also middle aged women! It is added with hope and tears along the way. It is just brilliant.
The only thing I dislike about this book is the fact that I am quite a slow reader and it took me quite a while to finish. But, this may be different for everybody.
Have fun reading this book if you purchase it! I really enjoyed it and I would not mind reading it again!
On my recent trip to the library I didn't have a lot of time to choose any books with my toddler in tow, so I went to some authors I could remember on the spot and grabbed a couple of books to keep me going. This particular choice was All you Need is Love by Carole Matthews. I have read some of Matthews before and they have been hit and miss as to whether I have enjoyed them.
Sally Freeman is a single parent living with her ten year old son Charlie in a high rise block of flats in Liverpool. Sally hates her life that is going nowhere with no prospects unless she is able to do something about them.
Sally has recently split from her long term boyfriend Johnny that also lives on the same estate. Charlie adores Johnny despite him not being his Dad, but he has been more of a father figure to him than his own Dad ever was. Even though Sally still adores Johnny, she knows he doesn't want the same things from life that Sally does and she won't be held back for love.
The book is told in the first person view when it comes to Sally, but in third person when we learn the lives of everyone else. I thought this was going to be confusing to start with but it was surprisingly easy to follow which made the book quite interesting and clear all the way through.
I realised straight away that there was going to be a lot going in this book, as there was no way we would be able to go through a whole novel about a housing estate. We quickly learn that Sally is about to have her life turned upside down in the form of a man when she attends a computer course on the estate in one of the old vacant houses.
When Spencer comes into Sally's life, things will never be the same for her. Why does a rich posh man want to spend so much time with Sally when she has no money and lives in a grotty flat? Nevertheless Spencer does want to spend time with Sally and soon they are an item much to the disgust of Charlie and Johnny.
I was taken off the track slightly at this point in the book as I thought Spencer was going to turn out to be a mean character or that Sally was going to see Spencer as a meal ticket. Neither happened though, and I learnt that Sally really does have humble values and her son Charlie will always comes first regardless of whether that means Sally will live her whole life on the estate with no money.
The main focus of the book brings everyone together when Sally gets a grant to improve the grounds on the estate. A regeneration project to improve gardens and buildings sees Sally rallying the community that before wouldn't have even spoken to each other, gives the book a whole new focus and direction.
I thought this was taking a tangent too far and it wouldn't fit but to be honest it flowed really well and was easy to read through.
A lot of events happened in a short amount of time after this point in the book and we read about love, grief happiness and sadness. I have to admit I thought I knew what the ending was going to be but there were doubts about it right up until almost the last page until I was proved right. I liked this suspense as Matthews managed to keep me on my toes until the last page rather than drawing out the ending over the last twenty of so pages that really are unnecessary.
All in all this is a feel good novel about a community that is brought together with the focus being Sally and her up and down life in the centre of it.
Despite a lot happening all at once, I really enjoyed this book and even though some aspects were a bit farfetched, it worked as a light read, easy to pick up whenever needed.
Price: £4.79 (Amazon)
Single mum and superwoman Sally Freeman wants a better life for herself and her son Charlie. But it's not going to be easy when their home is on a run-down Liverpool council estate.
Just as Sally's mission to improve their surroundings gets under way, she's offered a ticket out of there, in the splendid form of Spencer Knight. He has everything she could wish for - the looks, the charm, not to mention the wallet. But is he the answer to her prayers, or does her hapless ex-boyfriend Johnny still hold the key to her heart?
As Sally decides what to do, she discovers that if The Beatles are right, and all you need is love, then everything else will fall into place.
Carole Matthews is a highly-acclaimed author and has novels out regularly - she has had two novels out every year for the past couple of years. As a huge fan of Carole's later novels that's great news to me that she's so prolific. I've liked many of Carole's books (The Sweetest Taboo, With or Without You, The Chocolate Lovers Club & Diet and You Drive Me Crazy) however there have been a few I haven't liked (Let's Meet on Platform 8 & It's A Kind Of Magic). It two I disliked haven't put me off Carole so I was looking forward to All You Need Is Love.
All You Need Is Love is reminiscent of The Sweetest Taboo in the fact that there's two men in love with one woman. All You Need Is Love tells the story of Sally Freeman - single mum and super-woman - who is fed up of life in a Liverpudlian "sink estate" and wants out. Out comes in the form of Spencer Knight, rich, handsome and charming. But what about Johnny, Sally's ex? It seems he is still in love with her...
I really enjoyed All You Need Is Love. I felt it gave a different spin on a chick-lit novel. For starters, Sally is a single mum living on benefits whereas your usual chick-lit heroine is single, no kids and has a great job. I enjoyed that it was from a different perspective.
I liked Sally and found her a breath of fresh air from our usual heroines, as I mentioned. I found it irritating the way she constantly referred to herself as Single Mum & Superwoman; we got it, no need to keep telling us so. I felt Sally got better as the novel wore on, at first she just wanted to get out of the estate as quick as possible but as the changes came around and her opinion seemed to change she became much more likeable.
I also found myself rooting for Johnny, the hapless ex, throughout the novel. I thought he was a brilliant character and I loved his relationship with Charlie, Sally's son. I thought Charlie was another great character but quite mature even though he was meant to be 10. Then again 10 years olds seem to be rather mature nowadays!
I didn't really warm to Spencer to be honest, probably because I was rooting for Johnny. He was a good character I just couldn't warm to him.
I loved all of the minor characters; Johnny's mum, Dora (the Explorer!), Mrs Kapur. The community feel of the book was brilliant and thought Carole captured it perfectly.
The writing style of the novel was typical Carole Matthews' style. We get chapters in first person from Sally but we also get third-person chapters telling us what is going on with everyone else. When I first read the alternate way Carole writes her novels it took a while to get into but it's easy to read and gives you the novel from all angles.
When I sat down to read the book it was easy to get into and I found the chapters incredibly easy to read because of the shortness of them. It was good to know that if I only had 10 minutes I could read a chapter or three.
Overall it was a very enjoyable novel from Carole. She is a brilliant writer. I also have to mention the book cover - which is gorgeous! Carole is having all of her covers re-designed and these new ones are lovely. This one is purple with sparkly writing. Definitely one of my favourite book covers.
Also posted at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com