"Suzy Curtis falls in love with Harry Fitzallan the moment she shows him her husbands sperm sample. Actually it isn't her husband's because she isn't married. It isn't a sperm sample either, its a carton containing the dregs of her milkshake. (But when you are desperate to escape a speeding charge you just have to improvise don't you?)"
I love Jill Mansell books, they are a little mad, often romantic and always funny. So when I read the blurb on this book how could I turn it down? I have read most of her books now (such a shame!) Although 'Thinking of you' came out in January and I haven't got round to that one yet. I swapped this on www.readitswapit.co.uk but I'd have paid full price. its worth every penny.
The heroine, Suzy Curtis, has everything. She is a really likeable and believable woman (and not 22! Yay!) Although who really drives a red Rolls Royce? She has a very strange family and an even stranger domestic set up. She meets Harry and his brother Leo and, as the chick lit genre requires, life is never the same again! she also meets Lucille, the sister she never knew she had, and who is, of course the friend of Harry the hunky policeman who she showed Hubby's sperm sample to.
Jaz the rock star ex is a great character, he is a recovering alchoholic who weaves in and out of the story along the way. I could never really decide if I liked him or not! This book has romance, (I could eat Rory whole, bless him!) sex, and a generous dollop of humour. Celeste provides the usual 'love to hate her' baddie. All of the ingredients are there to create a corker of a story, Good at Games doesn't disappoint. Its very 'Romeo and Juliet' with added one liners.
Of course its predictable, its meant to be, and of course its light, girly, and finished off with a slick of lip gloss and a flick of mascara. That is what makes this a fantastic read, its my life, only more flowery (and with a few more hunks unfortunately!)
I read this in a few nights during my recent bout of insomnia (did you know Cadbury's Cream eggs taste better at 3am?!) It was that kind of book that encourages you to make deals with yourself. 'One more chapter and I'll feed the children' or 'I'll just find out if she snogs him then I'll hoover'. Sad but true!
The only thing is, what is that cover picture about? I just don't get the rabbit thing other than the obvious? Answers on a post card please, after you have read this.... I'll give you 72 hours, then you have to feed your kids ok?
Published in 1999 by Headline
Suzy Curtis has it all – a job she loves, a red Rolls Royce, a ravishing rock-star ex-husband and a dysfunctional family. She also has a love life that is extremely lacking at the present time. But then she meets Harry Fitzallan and falls instantly in love. Of course it doesn’t help that he’s a policeman stopping her brother from speeding and she is showing him her husband’s sperm sample. Although, of course, it isn’t her husbands (she’s not married at the present time) and it’s not really a sperm sample but the dregs from a strawberry milkshake. But he doesn’t know that – yet! And of course, it’s not really love, but just a healthy dose of lust! And then Harry’s brother Leo enters the scene and throws matters into confusion. Not to mention the half-sister that Suzy never knew existed, but who turns up at her mother’s funeral. And who, coincidentally, happens to be Harry’s best friend from childhood. And just throw in the mix Suzy’s workaholic brother and her prim and proper sister. Plus the alcoholic rock-star ex-husband, his first wife (who lives in the same building as Suzy) and his current girlfriend. And for good measure what about an eccentric Irish housekeeper and Leo’s perfect fiancée. And a shaggy dog! This mix of characters all lends itself to a chaotic blend of life, love, friendship and fun. Plus an act of heroism that adds a touch more confusion. Oh, and the odd bit of sex, of course! Despite the mix of characters, the author manages to bring them all to life in such a way that you really do care what happens to them. I laughed when they laughed and felt for them when things went wrong. Suzy – the main character – is a good time girl who wants everything in life but finds things never quite go the way she planned! Her desire to help people out lands her in all sorts of difficult situations, yet she somehow manages to
work her way through them. Introducing the unknown half-sister early on in the book brings another dimension to Suzy and the developing relationship is handled with sensitivity. The male characters are all well written and likeable – the solid policeman and his older brother who has always been more successful. The determination from Harry to, just for once, outdo his brother adds a nice touch of rivalry into the story. The female characters are all different, but all pretty strong-minded in their own ways. Their particular traits are all well observed and they all have their strong and weak points. Some of the characters are fairly stereotypical – particularly Celeste, the current girlfriend of Jaz (Suzy’s ex-husband). She is the typical rock star groupie only out for what she can get and any publicity that is available. Yet despite this, I found myself quite liking her and admiring her strong-willed nature in continuing the charade she has built for herself. This is the second of Jill Mansell’s novels that I have read and I shall be going back for more! Her style of writing is light-hearted, yet she handles difficult subjects sensitively. The pace doesn’t let up from beginning to end and I found myself completely absorbed in it. This book is a perfect summer holiday read – light-hearted and full of fun and frivolity. Some might call it froth, but sometimes that is just what is needed! It is also slightly predictable (as most of these types of book are!) but that still didn’t spoil the enjoyment for me – working out how all the characters will get to the predictable ending is half the fun! At 502 pages, it may seem long, but once I got started I couldn’t stop reading. I had originally bought this book (at the bargain price of £1 from Ebay – normal price £5.99) to take on holiday, but couldn’t resist reading it before I went! The other Jill Mansell
book I bought at the same time is now strictly out of bounds till I go!
I’m going to start this opinion by talking about the book cover, because believe me that’s the first thing you’ll notice about this book. In my opinion, it’s absolutely horrible. It just seems to scream “I’m a trashy romance novel!”. I have to admit I was very embarrassed at getting this book out on the tube on the way to work. I was going to describe the cover but you can probably see the full horror for yourself at the top of the page. Tacky writing, some legs dangling over a sofa (doesn’t take a wild guess to imagine what they’re getting up to) and a white rabbit sitting on a pair of boxer shorts. Not quite sure what the rabbit is doing there because as far as I can remember there is no rabbit in the whole book. Very strange! Oh yes and the cover is yellow, very yellow. Just so that everyone will notice it. Oh good! Well as the old adage goes “never judge a book by its cover”, so let’s persevere. Somehow though I get the feeling this book isn’t going to exactly be Proust. And indeed it’s not (not that I’ve read Proust, I just imagine it’s pretty serious and heavyweight). I would say this firmly falls within the genre of “chick lit”. Mansell sits merrily alongside authors such as Marian Keyes, Jane Green and Jenny Colgan. Nothing wrong with that though. This book isn’t quite as tacky and mindless as the cover suggests but this isn’t going to be book which is going to exactly change your life. However that’s not what I was reading it for. I was reading it for some light entertainment on the way to work. I wanted an enjoyably easy read, something which zips along at a fair old place and which requires minimal concentration. And that’s exactly what I got. I have to say I enjoyed this novel. Okay, so let’s get down to a bit of plot detail. Well the novel centres around the main character Suzy C
urtis. Suzy is an estate agent, she’s also “flamboyant, extrovert, super-confident” and oh yes, a bit of a shameless flirt when it comes to men. And, as expected with this kind of novel, she has man problems. Caught between two brothers, the terribly good looking but dull and idiotic Harry (who she reluctantly gets engaged to) and the cynically sneering but dashing older brother Leo. Is this plot sounding familiar? Probably, because it is rather formulaic. However, there are a number of additional characters to spice things up. Suzy’s recently discovered half sister, Lucille, Suzy’s ex-husband, recovering alcoholic and rock star Jaz, and his bimbo girlfriend Celeste to name but a few. As you can expect there’s quite a few tangled love interests and swapping about before the end of the novel. Usually without a backward glance or a moment’s contemplation. This is a novel which is quite low on realism. We have a famous rock star, living next door to not one, but two ex-wives (Jaz’s ex-wife Fran lives in the flat below Suzy’s). The whole engagement of Harry and Suzy comes about after he miraculously saves two children from drowning after they have been kidnapped in a stolen car. The whole novel seems to hang together on chance meetings and happy coincidences. However, this was never going to be a novel of gritty social realism and so as sheer entertainment it does work. This is an enjoyable read. The dialogue is snappy and entertaining. The characters are vividly brought to life, and although most of them are not particularly likeable (some of them bring new meaning to the word “shallow”) they are interesting. The plot, although highly predictable at times, moves along at a refreshing pace. At five hundred pages however I found the book to drag a bit towards the end, especially when you just know what’s going to happen and who’s going to end up together. I&
#8217;d already read another one of Mansell’s novels, Perfect Timing and this one is pretty similar. If you’ve read any of Mansell’s books already then I think you’ll find this one pretty much par for the course. If you enjoy this type of novel then I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, however I don’t think you’ll think this book is particularly amazing. I don’t like to be sexist but I have to say this book is pretty much one for the girls. Let’s face it, what bloke would be seen dead with a book cover like that for starters!
Falling in love isn't always easy - especially for Suzy.