Where do you start when reviewing a book, I mean, I don't want to give away spoilers do I especially if you may have this book waiting to read?
Well firstly, the author, all this tells me about Jill Mansell is that she worked for many years at the Burden Neurological Hospital and is now a full time writer.
The title is Head Over Heels - the story line is basically one of women bumps into ex about 21 years later, ex is a married film star and has moved into the same neighbourhood. Ex soon realises that the son the woman has is also his, then his family accepts the long lost son, with perhaps a few hiccups along the way. At the same time as this is happening it also introduces us to other people in the village, gives us a glimpse into their not so perfect lifes, a glimpse into their adultery, a glimpse into the secrets they are hiding and evidently, everybody (well nearly everybody) lives happily ever after.
I am quite an avid reader when on holiday, and choose this novel from a free book swap scheme set up in my workplace. I choose as it seemed an easy to read, possible chic lit book, with a bit of love and romance in it, so hoped would be an ideal pick up put down book for my holidays.
Yes, I did actually quite enjoy this book as it was easy to read, however, the story was quite predictable, you could piece together most of what was happening or what was going to happen in advance, to be truthful, the only surprise for me as I did not figure out the secret was the one held by the character called Bernadette Thomas.
Quite an enjoyable book, easy to read and well written, however, was very predictable, not much shock surprises for me. All in all though, great to read while on holiday, and if another of Jill Mansells books were available to read free of charge I would probably pick it up, but don't think it is something I would actually go out and buy, and would read purely on holidays when I have more free time to laze around.
I have had this book sitting at the bottom of the pile for so long now but the time has come when I am out of books so I had no choice but to give it a try. I could not say it appealed to me. The copy I have got looks different from the one above mine is bright green with a picture of the back of a lady sitting in a deck chair which has no relevence to the book at all!!
This was the first book which I had read by Jill Mansell. I was loaned the book by a friend and I didnt recognise the name so I had no previous experience with this author to compare it with.
There are many main characters in this book who all seem to be entwined with the next character the book brings a mixture of content from lies and affairs to old relationships , affairs and many more surprising parts of the book.
The main storyline to the book is about a lady called Jess who ran away from her childhood sweetheart when she became pregnant. Years later when her son Oliver has grown up and working in the local pub, Jess's old flame comes to live in the village with his new family, but it soon comes to light that Toby her old lover still has feelings for her and is shocked when he learns that Oliver is indeed his son and the reason she left him all thoughs years ago.
Although this is the main story line there are many other things brought in around this plot involving these characters which also bring us more characters to the story.
I did find at a few points in the book that I kept getting the characters of lilli and lotti mixed up but this is not surprising how close the names are and they are usually in the same part of the story at the same time!
This was a very light hearted, easy read but was not the sort of book I would normally read and I do not think I would automatically look out for one of Jill Mansells books in the future as although I did carry on and read the book it didn't have me gripped in anyway there were a few points were I just wasn't sure if I wanted to carry on as I didnt fel as though I would miss out on much if I didn't complete the book.
I wouldn't recommend this to my friends as I find it quite hard to say any positive things about the book as I just did not find it interesting.
So, with Survivor finished, Married Alive still leaving a very nasty taste in her mouth, idodoyou set about choosing another book from her pile. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t painless. idodoyou hates making decisions. But decide she did, and her decision was this one. Well, she has a couple more of Mansell offerings sitting there too, so thought she would……. As I said, she hates making decisions. ***HOW COMES I’VE GOT IT?*** Think this was in the ten books for ten pounds offer from Book People On-line I was telling you about. To be honest, I was rather reluctant to start on this however enticing the blurb sounded. Well, it came with that Married Alive crap, what’s to say that during transit some of the absolute s**t contained in that book hadn’t rubbed off on, and into this one? idodoyou’s reluctance and fears were wiped out as she got further into the book. This one has made up for the considerable downfall and disappointment of the other one. Woohoo! ***SPECS AND STUFF*** Published by Headline in 1998, paperback 1999, this 441 paged offering can be found on the shelves and sites of well known and respected book shops in the high street and on the web for a princely sum of approx. £5.99. I would have not been disappointed if I had have paid six quid for it. I have spotted this authors work in several offers, you know 2 for £10, or buy one get free that WHSmith’s have from time to time. Check around before you part with your pennies. The cover is a bright lime green that grabs your attention. With a picture of a woman in a deck chair with her back towards us. Not sure where the deckchair comes in though, or, how the title came about. Don’t think it’s relevant, and head over heels in love is not the reaction that I derived from the main character. She didn’t stop eating. She didn’t stop sleeping. And there weren’t butterflies
fluttering around her head, and cute little ‘bunnee wabbits’ in her path. She really gave no indication that she was head over heels in love. But anyway, Head Over Heels it is called, and the blurb lures you in, tantalising the reader with promises of surprises and secrets. I’ve got into the habit of re reading the blurb after finishing the book to see if it was accurate. It was. And the story offered all that it said it would. And more besides. There are a few lines of reviews also. All praising Mansell for her novels, all are accurate, but to my way of thinking, the Daily Mail hits the nail on the head with its ‘A jaunty summer read’ …… don’t think that I could have put it better myself? ISBN: 0 7472 5736 1 ***HOW’S IT WRITTEN?*** I’ve only ever read one other of Jill Mansells books, ‘Perfect Timing’ and didn’t much enjoy it. It wasn’t her style, merely the story line that didn’t actually offer me any satisfaction. Her writing is down to earth, her characters are you and me, the locations aren’t glitzy and only merely worlds that the average person will never visit. This one is set in a village containing the kind of people that the typical stereotyped village plays host to. Busy bodies. Naughty school children. Promiscuous barmaids. Randy vets. C’mon, don’t tell me that these types of people don’t exist. I live in a city, so I have no actual knowledge on this, but they must do? Well, even if they don’t, Mansell makes the reader believe so. She takes us and plonks down in the middle of village life. For 441 pages I wanted to go do the pub and sit in the garden , ‘chewing the cud’ with the locals watching the sun set, and I wanted to walk into the village shop and chat idly with the nosy old owner. For 441pages I did. With some books it takes a while to ‘get’ into. Wit
h this one it doesn’t. From page one I knew that this was going to unputdownable. Different characters within the story drift along with their own stories, coming together neatly at the end, and all loose ends are tied up. The story is pretty predictable. You know that the ending is going to be happy. You know that the down trodden wife will reach the end of her tether and kick out the deceitful ole man. But there are a couple of twists, well, bends really. They work well, and one of them did keep me guessing up until the last minute, the other I saw coming a mile off. But it didn’t detract from the story in any way. ***WHAT’S IT ABOUT AND WHO’S IN IT?*** **SPOILERS PEPPERED THROUGHOUT. SCROLL DOWN NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW, IT’S OK, I’LL TELL YOU WHEN YOU CAN COME BACK!!??** Life in a small village of Upper Sisley (fictional ?) and the various inhabitants. Jessie, a single mother with a 21-year-old son, Oliver, has kept the identity of his father a secret since the day he was born. People swallowed her excuse, they had no reason to doubt her. But when he (the father) turns up in the little village of Upper Sisley, it will only take a little look and some mental arithmetic, and the secret will be out! It doesn’t help that he’s the well-known actor Toby Gillespie, and he brought with him a wife and three other children. The shock is closely followed by the thrill of having a new son for Toby, but he doesn’t want to stop at just his son, he wants Jessie too and makes no bones about the fact. Toby’s wife, Deborah seems to be taking the revelation in her stride too, but as she is letting the resident village stud, Doctor Doug, give her a regular physical (hello darlin, wanna see my stethoscope kind of thing …. You know what I’m talking about!!??) she really doesn’t seem too perturbed by the new branch of the Gilles
pie family tree. And the rest of the family welcomes Oliver with open arms, especially his newly discovered 18-year-old sister. The two have feelings for each other but can not act upon them due to the small problem of being related!! However, another secret is unearthed and it is discovered that Savannah isn’t actually his sister after all, the dishy doc is not the first time Deborah has played away it would seem. Finding this out just adds another nail to the coffin that is the marriage between Toby and Deborah, but despite Toby’s pleading Jessie still refuses to be swept up again. She’s trying to keep her emotions under wrap and out of Toby’s way. Lili is Jessie’e best friend. Mother of three, and wife of an errant husband. Down trodden and stuck with the ‘mother in law from hell’ living in the village too, life is not fun for Lili anymore. But when Vet Drew starts to show an interest, things start to look up. However Lili is loyal, and while she knows that Michael, her husband plays away when he’s abroad on business, she excepts it. It’s when he starts to ‘play’ in his own backyard she finally sees sense and kicks the s**t out. Drew’s cue to start calling ………….!! Eleanor Ferguson is the ‘mother-in-law from hell’. Resident bigoted old bat. Thinks the sun shines out of her and her sons a**e. If there’s any gossip to be had, she usually started it, so when her new neighbour moves in, and will not divulge any information about her life, curiosity gets the better. Bernadette Thomas, the neighbour, has a secret, and it’s a secret she ain’t telling. Come to think of it, nor am I, you can find that out yourselves, although, if like me you’ll cotton on before it’s told. So she makes up some story that is further from the truth and which Eleanor swallows a 100%. When push came to shove Oliver could not conti
nue the relationship with his sister, although, she isn’t actually his sister, so they drift apart and go their separate ways. The promiscuous bar maid meets her Mr Right, some one who’s as promiscuous as she is and they leave the village. Leaving Deborah Gillespie depressed and somewhat amazed that she’s been passed over. Not that she cares, on the break up of her marriage, she heads back to London, and the arms of her lover of 18 years ago. Jessie finally gives in and succumbs to the advantages of Toby and realises that she has loved him all along, as he has her. And so, we come to the end, all is well in the little village of Upper Sisley. There are happy endings galore. The reader is left sated and as happy as the characters within the pages. “But Bernadette was off. In less than a second she had crossed the stone flagged floor, pulled back her arm and delivered a right hook like a hammer blow to Michael Ferguson’s jutting chin. He fell off his stool, crashed heavily to the ground and lay there, dazed, as Bernadette picked up his pint glass and poured the frothy contents over his head. ‘And you think I’m a liar and a cheat,’ she told Eleanor, her tone almost conversational as she flicked the last of the Courage Best dismissively in his face. The rest of the pub stared, agog, at the surreal sight of Bernadette standing over Michael Ferguson. It had been a punch like no other they had ever witnessed, a punch that would have done credit to Prince Nassem. ‘Wh-what’s going on?’ Michael was spluttering and wiping beer from his stinging eyes. ‘What’s this got to do with you, for Christ’s sake?’ ‘Lets just say I care about what happens to April’, Bernadette told him icily. It might have been twenty years ago now, but once a …………………………..” hehehe …
;….. you’re gonna have to read it ……… I ain’t tellin’ you nothin’!! **SPOILERS OVER …………. YOU CAN COME BACK NOW!!!** ***WHO SHOULD READ IT?*** As much as I hate to be sexist, and I’m all for equality and all that, but this is quintessentially a girlie book. Oh, I’m not saying that you big strong masculine guys out there can’t read it, you can, but I don’t think that you would enjoy it, and…………. I wouldn’t actually tell anybody that you have, OK? Nope, this is a girlie book. Best read beside a pool some where, the sun beating down and a rather gorgeous foreign male waiter pandering to your every whim (bugger the book!!), its light, (both weight and story line) easy to follow and will make perfect holiday reading. Well, I spent all day Saturday in the garden with it!! Ok, so I didn’t have the pool, well not unless you count the bird bath, and the gorgeous waiter was missing, Dad was flitting about and Mum did bring me a drink, but I had a great time. Yep, take this book with you on holiday OK? ***WHAT DID I THINK, AND WILL I FEASTING MY PEEPERS ON IT AGAIN?*** Well, yep, it was good. Certainly not up there amongst my top ten, the book to remove one of my list is going to have to be better than this. But it was readable, it was enjoyable, and yes, the chances are it will be read again. I have two piles of read books, the good ones to keep, and the bad ones to give to friends, donate, or sell. This I have to say will be going on the good pile. If I had to give it a score out of ten, reckon I’d chuck a 6 or 7 its way. Right, better start on the other 70 odd unreads that I have piled in my room, should I stick with Jill Mansell ………..??? God, I hate decisions!! Thanx ya’ll and don’t forget to rate now will
ya, and promise me ya’ll be back soon……… OK? Lisa : )
Jessie Roscoe can't believe her ears when she hears who's moved into Sisley House just up the road. For over 20 years she's kept the identity of her son Oliver's father a secret - but how can she keep the truth under wraps now?