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This book is in my mind a very tongue in cheek farce, starting in a small village or hamlet in Rut shire called Paradise Grange. Lysander Hawkley a haphazard polo player and slight drunk, who has a penchant for a pretty face whether she be young or older, gets sucked into a lifestyle that is to say the least very risky and a little on the dangerous side by his friend Ferdie. He hires him out to all the ladies of the village to make the husbands jealous and to get the husbands to leave their mistresses and go back home. This is where the fun starts, Jilly Cooper has a wonderfully comical style of writing that takes you through each relationship and through every heartache and reunion with a style and flare that only she could. It is witty, and serious, and illuminating in parts. I loved the whole book as it sucked me right into the story from the very first page telling me a bit about each character and then their story as she went, enmeshing them all together to give the book a clever webbed structure and believability. She has a way of writing that makes the people come alive in your imagination as you read through their antics and made you feel apart of the story which in my mind is the secret to a good yarn. I particularly fell in love with Lysander, he is a young man in his early twenties who finds himself homeless and down on his luck after messing up a polo game he was taking part in. He is saved, if this is the correct term for it by his Friend Ferdie, who is himself feeling the pinch within his business as an estate realtor, and comes up with a scheme that will benefit them both. He first has to convince Lysander that this is the right thing to do. Lysander takes the first job as a trial when Ferdie manages to get him not only somewhere to live, but a red Ferrari and lots of money plus somewhere for his horse and pony to be stabled. Lysander has a clapped out racehorse called Arthur who has stable mate of a Shetland pony, which he positively adores and would not go anywhere without. He hopes to run him in the next Rut-minster cup races. First though he has to work out a way to get him back to tip top fitness. He also has a very naughty Jack Russell terrier which he also adores. Anyway to cut a long story short he goes off to a lady called Marigold Lockton wife of Larry Lockton a known musical wizard and philanderer of women. Marigold lives in Rut-minster. She is slightly plump older lady who is in need of a complete makeover and some serious exercise, which is where Lysander comes in. He works his magic, and bang he is on his way to work his magic through the rest of the village passed on by one wife to the other and causing quite a stir with the husbands with some hilarious results. One instance is where one of the characters is playing horsey with his mistress. Read this book to find out it is so funny. I loved going through each characters foible's and roles in this book with Lysander being the winning grace throughout. He has a love interest which may surprise you and thinking about it he has a bit of an oedipus complex to boot. I found this book utterly charming and funny with one or two sad bits in it too. But well worth the read. I would say although I have only just found Jilly Cooper as a writer of fiction this has to be a book to look out for. It has been out for a while and I was given it by a friend as she was clearing her bookshelf off and I was in need of some reading material whilst recovering from a broken arm so this fitted the bill perfectly for me. I found myself howling with laughter and wiping my eyes through the tears on several occasions throughout this book, my husband thinking I had gone stark raving bonkers. But there you go. what's new there. In short if you don't read this book you will be missing a real treat it is brilliant.
To anyone who is new to Jilly Cooper's work, this is the fourth in a series of novels and it's probably best to go back and read them from the start, which is 'Riders'; although it is possible to read this book as a standalone one, it helps to understand about the background characters. Anyway, onto characters. 'The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous' in the title is Lysander Hawkley. He's 22, his mother recently died, he's unemployed and he falls for every woman he meets, usually the unhappily married ones. This results in the husbands roaring back, being massively jealous of Lysander's gorgeousness. Next we have Ferdie Fitzgerald, who's Lysander's best friend and a bit of a wideboy (in both senses of the word), who spots the moneymaking opportunities available to both friends. So off they pop to Rutshire, where Lysander is paid to get Marigold, a local lady whose husband has recently left her, back in shape and looking beautiful again, hoping that Larry, her husband, is so jealous that he comes back to her. One of the other main characters is Roberto Rannaldini, who's a world-famous conductor and is the worst rake in the area (at least now that Rupert Campbell-Black has settled down!). The characters from the other books enter the fray along the way and the reader is introduced to many new ones, which I like. You get to find out what the old characters are up to since the previous book and also to meet some new ones and discover what they're like too. I do have a couple of issues with this book, however. One is that the description of Rannaldini is that of a short man, with a grey mullet and a moustache. That, to me, is not remotely fanciable, yet everyone fancies him. Can't really see why, myself. And, although Lysander might be gorgeous, he's a bit naive and, well, thick. I'd be more likely to fancy Ferdie. But these are just my opinions in the end; others might see it differently. For once, Jilly sets this book mainly in Rutshire, with only the occasional trip elsewhere, but it helps to keep the book tightly-knit and racing along. This, in my honest opinion, is Jilly's best book since 'Riders'. The pace doesn't slacken off all the way through and you won't be able to put it down. Again, it's a book that I bought new and which is now battered, creased and has the 'Jilly Cooper' mostly rubbed off the front cover. That's how great this book is.
And so, onto the 4th instalment of idodoyou’s series of ops that pays homage to Jilly Cooper. A series of op’s that tries to educate the readers and members of dooyoo in the finer art of horsey’s and upper class sex (they do it the same way, they just say ‘thanks awfully old chap’ afterwards). A series of ops that have, well basically been started and so must be finished. Just another 2 to go folks…………… I’ll get them over and done with as quickly as possible, promise………… although … the last two are my least favourite of the Cooper bonkbusters (yep, shock horror, mouths agog, idodoyou does not love all of Coopers books, and, and they have Rupert in them as well …. Is she ill??) and so they might be a while appearing! <a collective phewwwww is heard all over dooyoo land as members thank god for ‘not another bloody Cooper review> ***HOW COMES I’VE GOT IT?*** The same old story here I’m afraid, in fact, after this one, I ain’t gonna use this subtitle any more. I mean, how many more times can I use the ‘old chestnut’ ‘liked Riders, Polo and Rivals so I thought I’d try her next book’?? Actually, I haven’t used that old chestnut before, so in reality, that’s a new chestnut …………… but anyway I can’t keep repeating from my other ops can I? You know how comes I came to read it don’t you? And how I came to actually have it ………….. Well, I went out and bought it from one of those bookshop places ya ‘silly nana’. On to the good stuff, the stuff that book ops are made of…………….. ***SPECS AND STUFF*** First published in 1993 by Bantam Press, and then reprinted in 1994, and from there on in, by Corgi. This 733 page monster can be found in your l ocal book store, on-line or any where else for that matter that sells books, for a mere £5.99 approx. And well worth every penny it is too. Again, no changes in price, no bargains, not even in 2 for £10 offers have I found this book. Yep, Cooper books keep their prices. The cover is in keeping with the Cooper tradition, glossy, glitzy and promising oodles and oodles of fun, promiscuity and dirty dealings. The bottom half of a, what I can assume to be, a very good looking guy with a female, cherry red finger nailed hand in the proceeds of running her hand round his chin. And if I may take this opportunity to say so, a bloody nice chin it looks as well. <I wonder what the whole face looks like?> The blurb on the back is interesting, descriptive and accurate. It gives you a taster of what’s to come, and disappointment will not be on the cards after you have read it. You find 4 short and sweet reviews on the back cover, all singing Cooper’s praises, two from top authors’ ….. Delicious…. Her bawdy humour shines through at all times…. Almost like an old-fashioned comedy of manners – with dollops of sex … settle down and have a rollicking good time. Satisfaction guaranteed. ~ (From the Queen of bonkbusters herself) ….. Jackie Collins And….. It is a happy, happy feckless romp ….. Her fans, who are legion, will love it’ ~ (From the gentler but by no means any less of an author) ….. Maeve Binchy. Oh how right they are! ***HOW’S IT WRITTEN?*** How is ANY Jilly Cooper written? With skill, with seemingly ease, with accuracy, with descriptions, and a narrative that could only come from the mind, and pen of Jilly Cooper. There are a couple of authors that I have read that try to emulate her style, they try to rival her, but they fail. Oh don’t get me wrong, the books are good reads, and I will most probably read them again (the one that automatically springs to mind is Fiona Walker ~ French Relations) but they lack that certain something, what it is, I really don’t know? The 4th book away from Riders (I always use Riders as a mile stone simply because that was the one that really started it all with regards to her introduction into the world of bonkbustering, and the one that is responsible for holding all of her readers captive. I’m sure that if there were an opinion poll, Riders would come out top?) And the second of her novels to take a change of direction with regards to the story line. No horseys!! idodoyou does like her horsey input when it comes to Cooper offerings, well it’s what she has come to expect isn’t it. But no matter, idodoyou is sad, but not sad enough not to enjoy this book. Oh yeah, there is a tinsy winsy bit of equine mentioning, but certainly not enough to worry those of you out there in dooyoo land that aren’t that horsey minded. Nope, we have a new concept to contend with. New to novels (well, I’ve never come across another book with this concept, have you? If so, let us know would ya? Cheers!) And new to the mind of Jilly. The title says it all really ……… the man who made husbands jealous. Did you ever hear of such a thing? From her foreword at the front she doesn’t seem to be thanking anybody for their help and expertise, well, not along the lines that she does when she is dealing with horses, be it Polo or Show Jumping. Are we to assume that she has first hand knowledge of the subject? She covers the topic well. If you are familiar with Coopers work, you are fully aware of her talent for giving us several stories in one story (?!). Again, this book does not disappoint, and again, the stories all start off at different paces but come together beautifully at the end. ***WHAT’S IT ABOUT?*** ***THERE ARE ONE OR TWO SP OILERS, BUT NOTHING MAJOR, NOTHING TO RUIN THIS BOOK FOR YOU ANYWAY! IF YOU WANNA SCROLL DOWN TO MISS EM ALL, I’LL TELL YA WHEN TO TO STOP OK?*** Huh, I’ve just told you that? Were you not reading, not paying attention? Ok, I’ll tell you in more depth and detail. The Man That Made Husbands Jealous is basically, just that. Take one village, Paradise, in the county of Rutshire (both fictional), several well off, but errant husbands, a handful of pampered, but ignored and unloved wives, one extremely handsome young man, and one extremely handsome young mans fat, entrepreneurial best friend and what do you have. 733 pages of Rock Stars, multi-millionares, world leading Sopranos, temperamental Russian Composers, Chief Executives, world class Conductors, down trodden wives, and one 22 year old young man who enters their lives and changes them for ever. Again we meet and greet many old faces from the previous 3 novels from Cooper, and as always we welcome them with open arms. Rupert (you’re my hero) Campbell Black and his angel of a wife Taggie, Cameron Cook (Rivals) Ricky and Daisy France Lynch (Polo) and Dancer Maitland (Polo) but although they make an appearance, their parts, except for Rupert, are small, but still welcomed non the less. Of course we are introduced to new characters, and ones that will continue to be around for the following two books after this one (Appasionata and Score). The main ones being world class Maestro Roberto Rannaldini, his mistress and a world leading Soprano Hermione Harefield. The main character is Lysander Hawkley, he’s the man who makes husbands jealous. Not is idea to go in business doing just that though, when he fat friend Ferdie (Ferdinand Fitzgerald) stumbles over the concept, Lysander is so much in debt, anything goes really. He begins his reign of terror in the male population of erring husbands starting with a extremely ignored Marigold Lockton. Her husba nd Larry, chief executive of Catchitune Records soon starts to recognise his wife again as soon as Lysander’s on the scene and all at once, drops his mistress in the city, and again becomes the loving husband. And so, Lysander continues to be hired by these women, the money is good, the perks are great (Ferrari’s, strings of Polo ponies, cottages, and designer wardrobes) until he decides to rescue the most unglamorous woman in the village. Kitty, down trodden, over worked, ignored wife of the fiendishly promiscuous international conductor Rannaldini. Does she want to be saved? Has she asked him to be saved? And did she hire him to save her? No………no…….. and no. But set out to save her he does, and little by little he realises that he loves her, and little by little, she realises that she loves him too. But rescuing her isn’t going to be easy, for Rannaldini has an evil black leather clad henchmen that keeps watch while he’s away. And Kitty is scared of Rannaldini. Lysander needs help, cue RCB (yayyy!) and help is at hand. Is she rescued? (dumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdum < meant to be drum roll to suggest intense exitement!!) ***WHO’S IN IT?*** Oh no …………… another repeated old chestnut coming up here. Sorry. Again, so many characters, so many choices, which one to choose? Well, we won’t do Rupert Campbell Black (humph!!!) he’s been done to death in my Riders op. So, we’ll stick to the tried and tested idodoyou format of picking the ones that are more prominent, and consequential to the story line. Those of you out there might not agree with me, but …………… I don’t care, this is my op. If ya disagree, write ya own ; ) Lysander Hawkley ~ Still reeling from the death of his mother, drinking too much, out of work, desperately in debt and basically having a mid life c risis at the age of twenty two. With breathtaking good looks, coupled with the kindest of hearts Lysander is vunulrable, and at times immature, he is the bane of his Headmaster father, but the delight of all others around him. Well most of the others, espiecially if they are female! He wasn’t that enthusiastic about the ‘making husbands jealous’ thing, but as he was so in debt, he really didn’t have much choice. It was made even worse by Ferdie’s ruling that there was to be NO bonking allowed between the client and himself!! Roberto Rannaldini ~ One of the worlds greatest conductors and Musical director of the London Met. And also a total b**s***d !!! Evil is not the word. Another RCB wanna be, but again, as much as he tries, Rupert always comes out on top. He has a watch tower in the grounds of his home, here he seduces young girls, and entertains his many mistresses’ while is sweet but totally out of his class, wife works her fingers to the bone running his life like clockwork. He only married Kitty because she was an excellent secretary, and it was cheaper to marry her than keep on paying her salary. He will stop at nothing to get his own way, and uses people as pawns. Kitty Rannaldini ~ Third and most down trodden of Rannaldini’d wives. Unglamorous, and uneducated, Kitty is trapped in this marriage. Rannaldini is black mailing Kitty but threatening to stop the money that he pays to keep Kitty’s mother in an old people’s home. If she left her mother would be homeless! She is shy, quiet, lonely and unloved. At the end of the book, Kitty has to face her worst fear in order to make her escape. One that she over comes, one that frees her from a life of purgotary into one of the love and hapiness that she deserves. “ Lysander sat slumped on the old blue corduroy sofa staring hopelessly into space, obliviuos of a wildly exciting photo-finish on the television. T here was a quarter of an inch of stubble on his haggard cheeks and black, black half circles beneath his eyes. His Donald Duck jersey was inside out and he was wearing odd socks. ‘Lysander.’ Kitty could hardly get the word out. He looked round dully, then stared incredulously. ‘Lysander, it’s me,’ she whispered, shakily holding her hands out. ‘Over the ‘ills and far away, she danced with Piglin’ Bland.’ As though struggling from the bottom of the sea Lysander staggered to his feet. ‘Are you a mirage or a miracle?’ he mumbled. ‘I’m me. I love you,’ sobbed Kitty. ‘I’m sorry to barge in. I can’t live with Rannaldini no longer.’ Lysander’s stubbly jaw dropped, his bloodshot eyes opened wider and wider as he gazed at her. Then a great smile split his face and he gave a great whoop of joy and, vaulting over the sofa, fell into her arms kissing all the life out of her – but only for a few seconds because they were both gasping and breathless they had to come up for air. For an enraptured moment Lysander touched Kitty’s windsept hair, and ran his hands wonderingly over her pale frozen little face to prove he wasn’t dreaming. ‘I thought I’d never see you again,’ his voice broke. Then, reluctant to let her go even for a second, he dragged the hefty bishop’s chair across the room and shoved it against the front door. ‘We’re not letting Rannaldini in here.’ He collapsed into the chair, pulling Kitty onto his knee. ‘You escaped. Oh Kitty darling, you really escaped. You are brave.’ Kissing her between sentances, he said, ‘I got you an engagement ring just in case. It’s in a case actually.’ He giggled helplessly and, leaning back, scrabbled amid the chaos of the desk drawer and produced a little crimson leather box containi ng an enormous diamond. ‘It’s a bit flash but diamonds are for ever. Who said that? Shakespeare?’ “ ***COOOEEEE ….. SPOILERS OVER, YOU CAN COME BACK NOW*** ***WHAT I THOUGHT OF IT, AND WILL I BE FEASTING MY PEEPERS ON IT AGAIN?*** Well, this is the 4th time I have asked myself this question when it comes to Jilly Cooper ops, and yes, for the forth time I have to say yes, you bet ya sweet life idodoyou will be back, and her eyes will be a feasting upon this once more. The change of topic was in no way a downfall, Cooper carried it off perfectly as she always does. There was just the same amount of entertainment and excitement, and the characters were, as usual, as colourful and absorbing as ever. The story full and and jam packed with enticing plots, and even more enticing Rupert Campbell Blacks…… why an earth would I not want to go back hey? And I’ll put money on it that you’ll want a repeat performance too………………!!! Have you rated? Yes, well then you can go now then………….. thanx for coming, been lovely to see you!! Excuse me young man, Have you rated? No? Well where the hell d’ya think ya going matey, get clicking buster.!! That’s right …….. thanx darling, that’s one idodoyou owes ya!! ;)
The main character in this book is Lysander Hawkley a twenty odd adonis who is flat broke and fond of animals. His best friend Ferdie decides that as Lysander can't control himself around beautiful women he might as well make some money out of it by getting there husbands back for them by making them jealous. All seems to be going well until he is asked to get Rannaldini back for Kitty and falls in love with her. Lysander has a variety of pets including a horse called Arthur and a dog called Mabel. Lysander Hawkley was almost a real person by the time I had finished reading this book. He had me crying, laughing and sweating. Every time he was unlucky I was sad and the same with when he was happy. I laughed out loud when the housekeeper called Rannaldini, Rattledicky. And wept buckets when Mabel died. I was glad he ended up with Kitty as she would be the only one out of the whole book to keep him happy. Well done to Jilly, another brilliant book to add to my collection.
The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous is the fourth in the series and it is Jilly Cooper at her best! After all the technical writing in Polo, this is a breath of fresh air. It’s a good romp of a story with plenty of sexual tension, subterfuge and fun. Lysander Hawskley, a gorgeous kind-hearted man is trying to blot out the death of his mother by drinking and gambling. He is in debt and out of work. His friend Freddie comes up with the solution. Lysander was good at making husband’s jealous so he might as well get paid for it. Freddie sorts out the business side of the arrangement and Lysander does the ‘hard’ work! He starts by taking on Marigold who has let herself go. He takes her jogging, pays her compliments, helps her with her diet etc until her wayward husband Larry realises he has a stunning wife who keeps getting mystery gifts and calls. He gets jealous, ditches his mistress and returns to his wife – mission accomplished. He then pays court to the beautiful singer Georgie Maguire as she is poised for a comeback but her confidence needs constant boosting and her wayward husband is having an affair. She blossoms and he returns – job done. As a by product of all Lysander’s ‘work’ Freddie also gets into condition, looses his puppy fat and gets himself a girl, but I’m not going to tell you who – you’ll have to read the book to find out. The problems arise when Lysander takes on the job of making the great but cruel Roberto Rannaldini jealous by making a fuss of Kitty his hardworking, downtrodden wife. Rannaldini is the evil maestro conductor travelling the world with at least one girl in every port, sometimes many! To complicate matters further Lysander falls in love with Kitty, and decides she must be rescued from Rannaldini at all costs. To this end he enlists the help of Rupert Campbell Black (you didn’t think he was missing from this one did you?) I won’t tell you how it all turns out as it would spoil the book. Suffice it to say that yet again Jilly will make you laugh and cry and I won’t tell you the sort of emotions you’ll feel towards Rannaldini! He is one seriously horrible man!
Lysander Hawkley combined breathtaking good looks with the kindest of hearts. He couldn't pass a stray dog, an ill-treated horse or neglected wife without rushing to the rescue. The trouble begins when he decides that the wife of Rannaldini, the world-famous conductor, needs rescuing.