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Jill Mansell was one of the first authors of chick lit having her first book, Fast Friends, published way back in 1991, long before Bridget Jones and her big pants entered the arena. Mixed Doubles was published in 1998 and is, to my mind, one of the best examples of this genre.
It's New Year and three friends, Liza, Pru and Dulcie make their resolutions. All three are now into their thirties, a time for taking stock and putting right what's wrong with their lives. Or so they think. Liza wants to get married, Pru to stay married and Dulcie wants a divorce! However, Fate, plays a hand in all their lives and over the following year they discover that their resolutions don't quite work out the way they expected.
These three friends have met up for a meal shortly before New Year and Dulcie has brought along her diary, written when she was a teenager. As they all laugh over their teenage selves, they reach the page where Dulcie has written her New Year's resolutions and decide to make their own.
Liza wants to get married. She's had enough of the single life and is confident enough in herself to imagine she can just meet and marry someone immediately. Pru, on the other hand, is already married and no longer feels confident about anything, least of all her husband. All Pru wants to do is stay married. But it's Dulcie who drops the bombshell on the friends. She's already been married for six years to Patrick, who the friends all agree is a lovely man. However, Dulcie is bored and hankering to have her single life back again. But her plans to get back into the singles scene have far reaching consequences for everyone.
I absolutely loved this book from page one and I really liked the lead characters too. They are totally believable. These women don't live perfect lives, with perfect men and perfect children. These are women like the rest of us, striving to get it right, and mostly just scraping through by the skin of their teeth.
Although we follow all three women, it's mainly Dulcie's story that predominates and around which the secondary stories revolve. Dulcie loves Patrick but Patrick is trying to build up his own business which takes long hours, leaving little time for him to pay attention to her. When she complains that she never sees him and he agrees to work from home more, Dulcie finds Patrick's attention is still on his work and not on her. Her attempts to distract him and pep up her marriage fail too. Following one particularly disastrous attempt which started with Dulcie naked popping champagne corks but which ended with a fused disk drive and Patrick having to stay up all night to rectify things, she decides her marriage is being pepped down rather than up. Divorce is the only option but she prevaricates as Patrick's fortieth is approaching and it seems too cruel to end things then.
Added into this mix is the wonderful Bibi. Bibi is Patrick's mother who, despite being almost sixty, looks years younger and has snagged herself a younger man in James, a mere forty-three. The difficulty is that Bibi hasn't told James quite how much older than him she really is and when Dulcie throws a fortieth party for James, the secret is going to be very difficult to keep.
In fact, everything does comes to a head at Patrick's fortieth birthday party and from then on the women's lives seem to be going to Hell in a handbasket. Neither Liza, Pru, Bibi or Dulcie seem to living the lives they'd all resolved to have and it's going to take a miracle to get them back the way they want them.
The characters are all believable, the situations sometimes squirmingly real and it has universal woman appeal in that there is a character with whom every woman will be able to identify, whether it be single Liza who doesn't want to be, Pru whose marriage is on the rocks or Dulcie who's not yet learned that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. There is even a character to appeal to the older woman: Bibi.
Bibi is an inspired creation. Like many women approaching sixty, she neither looks nor feels her age but is very aware that age may well be an issue for her lover, James, who up until Patrick's birthday party had been blissfully unaware that the age gap was quite so large. A big thumbs up to Jill Mansell for including such a positive older role model as Bibi. In fact, I identified more with her than the other women, being well past my thirties and with adult children of my own though, sadly, without the toyboy, but I live in hope!
I only had one little quibble with the book and that was that Dulcie, despite being childless, didn't work. Most women even back in 1998 worked for living even after they were married and I found the idea of a modern woman mooching around at home being bored somewhat incongruous.
This book was first published in 1998 but has managed to retain a fresh and contemporary feel despite the intervening twelve years largely due to the fact that there aren't any long descriptions of clothing or references to events of the day. This story concentrates simply on the convoluted lives of these four women and their search for happiness. For me, this book was a five star read.
Book details, price and availability:
There are lots of copies of this book around, either in the library, charity shops or through Amazon with prices starting at 1p.
I picked this book up at my local Post Office after spotting that they were selling two books for a fiver. Admittedly, there wasn't all that much to choose from but having read some of the author's books previously and liked the look of the blurb on the back cover, I decided to have a little splurge.
The book centres on three female characters: Liza, Pru and Dulcie. Each woman chooses a New Year's Resolution that they intend to see come true before the end of the year, and the plot follows their lives from this point through to almost the same time the following year.
Liza - Thirty-something Liza is sick of playing the field and wants to get married as her resolution. Nothing out of the ordinary, you might think, but there is a good reason why she has never previously settled down - she gets bored extremely easy and cannot sustain her interest in any one man for more than a few short weeks or months. When toyboy Kit enters her life, she can't deny her attraction but will this relationship prove any different to the others?
Pru - Timid Pru wants nothing more than to keep her marriage alive. Easier said than done when your husband is the cheating kind and suddenly decides that he much prefers the cleaning lady. Devestated Pru must pick up the pieces of her life, but how will she cope on her own, and can she save her dying marriage to keep the resolution on track?
Dulcie - Bored of her workaholic husband Patrick, impulsive Dulcie decides that her resolution is to get a divorce and move on with her life - preferably with the health club's hunky new tennis coach Liam. Is she making the right decision?
Each character is down-to-earth and quite realistic, but they were far from perfect. For example, Dulcie comes across as quite self-centred and quite flighty at times and Pru is timid to the point of annoyance, but this serves to make them appear normal and 'real'. As the plot progresses, each woman is made to question what she wants out of life and the direction in which she is really heading and that's the main theme of the book really - that what we think we want isn't always what we actually want or need in reality. It's interesting to see the character progression with Dulcie and Pru in particular and it made them seem more two-dimensional as characters.
***THE WRITING STYLE***
It's written in the third person in a chatty, conversation style. Rather than having specific chapters given over to specific characters, the story weaves in and out of each character and they will sometimes overlap very slightly with one another which isn't too surprising given that they are all friends and mix in the same circles. Even though each character has a different scenario playing out, there will often be links between the characters connected to them so there is a strong sense of continuity in the plot in an 'isn't it a small world?' kind of way.
Towards the end, there are one or two twists that I must admit I didn't see coming and wasn't entirely sure why one in particular seemed to be thrown in out of nowhere as I felt that that particular plotline had and was progressing nicely on its own and didn't need this particular event to set the character's mind in one direction or another. I realise how cryptic this sounds but I don't want to give too much of the plot away, so this paragraph will probably only make sense to people who have already the book!
All in all, I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend reading it if you're already a fan of Jill Mansell as it's very much in the same vein as her other books.
In reviews of books and films I never like to give away the ending and I don't want to go into too much detail of characters as finding those out yourself is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the read/watch.
So with that introduction let me review Mixed Doubles by Jill Mansell.
Mixed Doubles is written in the well recognised and loved style of Mansell which has you turning pages till early morning and laughing out loud in the most inappropriate places (doctor surgeries being one of them). It differs from most of her other formats as instead of following one woman through her troublesum single life it follows three. In this new format all readers will recognise part of themselves in either the utterly politically incorrect but lovable Dulcie, the shy and quiet Pru or the confident but vulnerable Liz.
This book also differs from most of Mansell's other plots as it questions marriage. An end which all single women strive for but which might be more trouble than it's worth.
This book is classically Mansell though with twists coming that you do not expect and situations which have you cringing in sympathy with the character. If you loved Mansell's book then you will love this one too.
One word (or several) in general about Mansell's books. They will appeal to you if you relate to Sex and the City through compassion for the girl's difficult struggle. And I highly recommend them to teenage girls. The reason for the last statement is that Mansell's characters are often, though not always, a curvaceous 14 or a dazzling 12. These physical looks are always talked about in a positive light with Liz the largest of the characters always being the sexiest most desirable one. Personally when I was a teenager this was the only input on the side of bigger than a size 8 is beautiful and sexy and I truly do acknowledge that this input gave me a healthy respect for my natural body and meant that I had very few image problems.
Despite Jill Mansell being around for quite some time now, this is the first of her books that I have read. I wasnt really sure what to expect but did wonder if it would be quite raunchy as the photography on the cover showed one pair of male legs and two pairs of female legs hanging over the edge of a sofa. Now Im not really into books that are full of sex so I almost put it back on the shelf in the library, but thought that the blurb sounded quite appealing and took it home.
You know what its like when New Year comes around. You get together with some good friends and make some resolutions for the coming year. This story centres round the resolutions of three women who are very good friends. They all have very different personalities and dont always see eye to eye, but as true friends know, they will always be there for each other in times of need.
As the book progresses we find that each womans life takes an unexpected turn and they dont all end up getting what they want or expect. This book tells the story of how these women cope with the surprises and twists that fate throws at them and although the story is light-hearted, there are shocks and upsets along the way.
***The Women & Their Resolutions***
Liza has a good job as a restaurant critic and is very popular with the men in her life. The problem is that she gets bored very easily and finds that the smallest annoying habit can become something that she ends up despising. Her resolution is to find a man that she can marry before the year is out. Of course, she doesnt really expect her dreams to come true but its not long before she meets a younger man, who sweeps her off her feet, despite all her protests. Its true though that love doesnt always run smoothly and they face some scepticism about the age gap. Will she manage to make her resolution come true before the end of the year?
Pru is still in love with her husband despite the fact that he uses her to wash his shirts that he wears whilst having fun with a number of floozies. She desperately wants her marriage to work and her resolution is to stay married. She soon sees that this is probably not going to happen, as her husband very publicly leaves her for her cleaner and penniless to boot after admitting to having mass gambling debts. Pru starts to work for herself and its not long before there is a love interest there too. Will she find happiness in the following year despite her resolution failing at the first hurdle?
Dulcie also loves her husband but is fed up with him working constantly and not taking any interest in her. She has all the good things to go with the money but misses the fun they used to share together and her resolution is to tell him that it is over and that she wants a divorce. This devastates her husband to start with but its not long before he is introduced to someone else and begins to have fun again, much to Dulcies disgust and heartache. Despite a fling of her own, she realises how much she misses him and that her resolution might not have been such a good idea after all. Will she manage to get her life back the way she wants it before the next New Year?
This book was not really what I was expecting. It seems to be advertised as frothy read but I found it to be more down to earth than that. It does have a few mentions of the fun that can be had in the bedroom, but doesnt go into gory details and sticks to the feelings of the women instead. I was quite pleased with this, as I find nothing more boring than a book full of gratuitous sex that has no story to go with it.
It is often set in a health club where the friends get together and chat about their lives - more interested often in lazing around than in playing tennis etc, especially in the case of Dulcie who has a bit of a fling with the new tennis coach and regrets the exercise that goes with it.
The women in this book could all be friends of mine. I found something that I liked about each character despite some of their faults. Its amazing how we often think we know what we want and then realise that it wasnt right at all. This becomes apparent for the characters in this book and they embark on very personal and different journeys of discovery to find out what it is they really want and need.
I would say that it is a little bit predictable at times and I was able to guess what might happen but it was such an enjoyable storyline that I didnt really mind that in this case. There is enough humour in the book to keep it interesting and the incidental characters leave you feeling like you either love them or hate them. One of my favourite ones is the hippy café owner, Rufus, who gives Dulcie a job and has a massive crush on her, which gives her a bit of a dilemma, as she likes him as a person but not as a potential lover.
If youre looking for a fun read to keep you occupied whilst on holiday then this one would be ideal. Its not too deep, has lots of humour and a bit of heartache thrown in for all those hopeless romantics out there.
***Other Jill Mansell Books***
Thinking of You
Good at Games
Making Your Mind Up
The One You Really Want
Falling For You
Head Over Heels
Mirandas Big Mistake
Nadia Knows Best
Staying at Daisys
***Price & Availability***
I had a copy of the hardback from the library but it is available in a brand new paperback format, which retails for £7.99 but is available for only £5.99 from Amazon or Play.com.
ISBN No. 0755332598
Well, well, well ….. The second Mansell offering in as many days. This hot weather and these good books are doing nothing to help me get a job are they? Oh, well, I always did hate working in the summer!! Anyway, just finished one Jill Mansell book, of which, as I type has no category here on dooyoo. Not surprising really, I have written two other ops this last weekend and not one of the buggers has a category either. Someone’s gonna be busy adding?? Watch out for em when they've been added ... I enjoyed ‘Head Over heels’ so, when it came to the dreaded decision time, to save arqueing with myself over which book to choose, I just headed straight for the two remaining Mansell novels on my ‘to read’ pile. And Mixed Doubles was the first one I came to. ***HOW COMES I’VE GOT IT?*** This one is definitely an Asda bargain. It’s still got the price sticker on. £1.68. And, and I can even remember buying it. In fact, if I remember rightly I also came away with 2 Stephen Kings, 3 or 4 magazines, 1 with a free book on the front cover, and a Play Station game!! That was a totally bargain £6.99. Just had to be had really. Too good a chance to pass up. My memory must be getting better? Anyway …………. Now, don’t be thinking that I see a cheap book, and buy it just because of the price. I don’t. OK, so it is the price that lures me in first place, but then I head straight for the blurb, and if doesn’t sound my kind of thing, bugger the price, the books goes back on the shelf!!! This one didn’t though! It sounded my kinda of thing. Well, at the time. You ever find a book you’ve bought, and it is sooo not your usual preferred genre??? ***SPECS AND STUFF*** Published by Headline in 1998 this is just one of around 6 or 7 novels to come from the pen of Jill Mansell. I’m not sure where this one
falls in the line up though. I have tried to deduce it’s position from the lists in previous, and, and I think it might be her first, but the book says nothing to that effect so ……?! The r.r.p is set at £5.99, but as I have already said, this can be found much cheaper. So unless you have more money than you know what to do with, or you are desperately wanting to read this book, wait a while. Have a look around before you part with any hard-earned pennies. I mean, I got mine at a third of the price. It is worth the 6 squids however, but much much worth just under 2 quid. The cover is grass green, not one to hide submissively on your bookshelves. It does tend to jump out and shout ‘read me, read me’. So I guess the cover colour works then? On the front we have the back view of a settee with 3 pairs of legs swung over the back, a mans and 2 pairs of ladies. Not sure why? There weren’t any gangbangs. Or threesomes. Or any partner swapping for that matter. And why the tennis reference on the front? OK, so there was a little bit of 'tennisy' input for a chapter or two, but no where enough to warrant the title. Don't expect tennis will you. The blurb is accurate and straight to the point. It delivers what it entices you in with. You know what you are getting. ISBN: 0 7472 5735 3 ***HOWS IT WRITTEN?*** Much the same as the previous Mansell offerings. Not surprising really, considering it’s the same author, doh! No, what I mean is, it’s written as it is read. ????? Easily with a spattering of humour. It’s light and extremely entertaining. As with the previous Mansell novels, the characters are everyday people. You, our friends, our relatives, and me. The main story is divided into three branches (there I go again, comparing books to trees! Who knows how the mind of idodoyou works hey?). Each branches representing the loves and
life of one of a trio of long time girlfriends. The stories all run concurrently, not really meeting at the end, in fact, one finishes before the other two. This is not a problem as they don’t actually need that final meeting to end in a satisfactory way. They all cope with the finish on their own perfectly. As it is, we have three stories in one, that entwine throughout the book, but not needing to rely on each other for extra entertainment or relevance. A review on the back from ‘Cosmopolitan’ says ‘Fast, furious and fabulous fun, to read it to devour it’. Not sure where the fast and furious references apply though. I found it to be neither. Simply an enjoyable read that tells at it’s own pace. It doesn’t need to go any faster. The speed is fine as it is. For me there were two key moments. And both involved me exclaiming ‘bloody hell, I did not see that coming’. They both crept up and totally wiped the predictability factor clean out of the water. These two twists really added the essentials to what might have been the typical and predictable modern love story. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m not slighting the predictability of any story, it’s in most so it’s something that we get used to. I for one don’t worry. Out of the three plots ongoing in this book, I guessed, and guessed correctly the finish to both. It was the third one I never saw coming. It is the third one I will remember the book for ***WHO’S IN IT, AND WHAT’S IT ABOUT?*** 358 days listening to, watching and living with three long time friends. Their loves, their lives, their disappointments and mistakes, operations (??) and confessions. Their achieving of their New Years resolutions. That’s where the story starts. New Years eve at 4pm, Liza, Dulcie and Pru are all gathered round, lining their stomachs with Spag Bog in readiness for the eveni
ng ahead. Talking about the years that have been, and the year that’s to follow. Invariably, and as so many do during this time of the year, the conversation gets round to those ‘New Years resolutions’ that generally are made on the 31st and broken on the 1st every year. Each of the three has one. **LIZA ~ She wants to get married. At 32 she is fed up with playing the field. She wants to get settled down, have a husband, maybe some kids. It shouldn’t be a problem. She attracts men like flies. The problem is her, and her low boredom threshold. Once she’s bagged em, the thrill is gone. And she doesn’t want them anymore. She hasn’t had a relationship last more than a month, 6 weeks at the most. This does not bode well when looking forward to the future, when looking to find a man to marry. So, like only Liza can do, she continues to attract the men, while all along trying to find the one she won’t tire of after a month. But like all the rest, they come but soon find themselves travelling down the road that leads to sign that says ‘You are now leaving Liza, thanx for visiting’. Another one bites the dust. Until she stumbles across Kit Berenger. Younger, almost a decade younger to be precise than she is, but with a will to succeed, and a knack of getting what he wants. Kit wants Liza. She tells him about her record of ‘less than a month duration’ relationships, but this does nothing to deter him. He calls her bluff and before long the relationship has lasted the month ….. 6 weeks ….. and still Liza is very much interested. Namely because Kit is gorgeous. Totally shaggable. And he won’t let Liza touch him at first. His bluff worked. Now, if Liza can get to grips with her ‘age gap’ dilemma, she just might achieve her New Years resolution?? Now, the two ‘bloody hell’ incidences both happen to this charact
er. For those of you that have read this book, I’m sure that you will side with me when I say that to reveal these … ‘revelations’ would totally spoil the book. Yes? Good, I’m glad you agree, therefore I won’t. For those among you that haven’t read this book yet, I hope that by not revealing the ….. revelations, intrigued that you will stop what you are doing and rush out and get a copy of this book. WAIT ….. rate first !! Thank You. Now you can go ……………… **PRU ~ She wants to stay married. Simple enough you would say if she’s already got a husband. She has …. OK then, halfway there already. But what she doesn’t have is a kind, loving and faithful one. What she does have however, is a cheat, a borderline alcoholic and a compulsive gambler. Ohh nice. Not looking so simple now is it? Of course, if it was you or I, or she had an ounce of sense, or maybe a smidgen of self-esteem, she would leave the guy. As it is, she hasn’t got the esteem, (the sense seems intact though) and she can’t think about life without him, she stays put. But after one drunken outburst in front of friends, the decision to leave him is taken out of her hands and he leaves her. He doesn’t love her anymore. He doesn’t want her anymore. He’s in love with the cleaner. He wants her!!! OK, so, she’s just about coming to terms with this bombshell when another explodes in her lap, she has to leave the house. Due to his gambling, it’s going to be repossessed on Tuesday!! Oh nice !!! (who says that ….?? I know Onslow out of ‘Keeping Up Appearances’) But what she lacks in self-esteem she makes up with determination and sets about making do with what little she’s got. Instead of employing cleaning ladies, she becomes one. And after a minor accident involving her clapped out old Mini, a Jagu
ar, a drunken dog (yes, I said drunken dog!!) and a disqualified driver, she also finds herself a Chauffeur for the manager/owner of the local and exclusive health club, Eddie Hammond. It isn’t too long before the working relationship diverses into one a touch more personal, and employer and employee find themselves in love, and getting married. Seems that Pru manages to keep her resolution, albeit with another husband. One happy ending. **DULCIE ~ She wants a divorce. Marriage for Dulcie is boring. Marriage for Dulcie is being left alone 24/7 while her husband it at the office building up his business. Dulcie thinks marriage sucks! She want’s excitement, but however gorgeous and charming husband Patrick is, exciting he isn’t. So with the resolution for most in her mind, she asks for a divorce. Patrick doesn’t argue, just packs his bags and goes. Patrick is not big on making scenes. With her boring husband off the scene, Dulcie set about going after the excitement that she has been craving, with her first stop being in the shape of a childhood love. Well, it was for her anyway. For him is was merely some 15 year old girl drooling over him while he and his 17 year old mates laughed at her and used her as amusement one summer. But 17 years down the line he still hasn’t grown up and although it was fun, it didn’t last long. It was exciting, but maybe, excitement ain’t all it’s cracked up to be? A turn of events sees Dulcie working in a small wholefoods restaurant. It’s exciting. She becomes friends with the owner, Rufus, but when he wants to take the friendship to another level, Dulcie who is not interested, bails out. With one failed relationship, and a job behind her, Dulcie realises that these ventures didn’t offer the excitement she thought they would, there was something missing. She wants one thing. She wants the one thing she said she didn’t wa
nt. She wants her husband back. Predictability factor number 2 pops up here. Of course she gets her husband back. You didn’t think for one moment she wouldn’t did you? Don’t tell me you didn’t see this one coming …..?? Yep, Dulcie gets Patrick back. And not just the old Patrick, but a new one. one that has seen the error of his ways, one that has sold his business and wants to spend less time at work. One that wants to start enjoying himself, and more importantly, he wants Dulcie back too. One happy ending. Oh, I know she isn’t part of the main story, in fact, she only has about 3 pages in the book, but she cracks me up every time she pops up. Marjorie Hickman,is a fellow inmate at the old people’s home where Eddie Hammond’s mother-in-law lives. Invariably Pru or Eddie come into contact with her every Eddie pays a visit. She doesn’t care what she says, or who she says it to, and I want to be just like her when I grow up!!! “Pru shielded her eyes from the setting sun and looked up to see who had spoken. Oh help, it was that bossy old woman again, the one who had commandeered Dulcie’s steamy paperback. ‘You’re with Edna Peverell’s son-in-law,’ the woman announced triumphantly. ‘You come here with him three times a week. Edna tells me he’s a damn fine chap.’ Unable to think of anything else to say, Pru put down her paper and nodded. ‘Oh yes, he is. Um ……damn fine.’ ‘So what I want to know,’ the old woman’s eyes were shrewd, ‘is what’s wrong with you?’ ‘Excuse me?’ said Pru. ‘Why hasn’t your chap introduced you to Edna? Too ashamed is he? What are you, one of those topless models in your spare time?’ The old lady had a laugh like a fox’s bark. ‘come on, child, you can tell me. Why does he always
leave you waiting outside like a wet umbrella?’ the old dear was clearly a couple of sausage rolls short of a picnic, but Pru was still flattered. She glanced down at her non-existent chest. ‘Hardly a topless model.’ ‘No, you’re right. Something else then. Traffic warden? Jehovah’s Witness?’ she pointed her walking stick accusingly at Pru. ‘Member of the SDP?’ ‘Actually,’ said Pru, ‘he’s not my chap. I’m just Eddie’s driver. That’s why he hasn’t introduced me to his mother-in-law.’ ‘Balls,’ declared the old lady. Inching arthritically around, she jabbed her stick in the direction of one of the ivy-clad second-floor windows overlooking the car park. ‘That’s my room up there. I’ve been watching you pair of you for the last six weeks. I’m not blind you know.’ No, just dotty, thought Pru. ‘How did you get on with that book?’ she said, changing the subject. ‘Not bad.’ The batty old dear turned had turned towards the heavy oak front door. Preparing to leave, she paused and gave Pru a sly smile. ‘Not enough sex.’ She muttered something else under her breath as she disappeared through the doorway. ‘What?’ Pru called after her retreating back. ‘What did you say?’ ‘I said not enough sex.’ In an oddly regal fashion, the old lady waved her walking stick briefly at Pru. Then she snorted with laughter. ‘Rather like you and your chap.’” She goes onto get herself invited to the wedding and then ‘starts to stuff asparagus rolls from the buffet into her handbag’. When she is told that there is a food box being made up for her to take back to the home, she is slightly miffed, its not as fun as squirrelling away in her bag!! I’m sorry to go on, but she j
ust makes me laugh, we really should have seen more of her!?!? ***WHO SHOULD READ IT?*** Anybody who wants to! Who am I to dictate who can, and can’t read this book? Admittedly I can’t see many guys raving over this book though. They might.? I might be wrong ….. but I doubt it? No, to coin my new phrase (well, I think it’s new, and I think it’s mine, I’ve never come across it before???) it’s a babe book!! you know, some sorta thing as a chick flik? I know that it’s totally sexist, and it’s wrong to put a label on, or to categorise anything, but this is a babe book. There’s no getting away from it. Sorry. If you are going on holiday and want light entertainment for pool, or beach side, you want this book. If you travel on trains, planes, boats, buses or can read while your walking, you want this book. Believe me, you want to read this book. ***WHAT DID I THINK AND WILL I BE FEASTING MY PEEPERS ON IT AGAIN?*** Well, any book that has me using the phrase ‘bloody hell’ and surprising me with something that I just did not see coming gets a thumbs up from moi. Any book that has me using the phrase twice, well surely that warrants another thumb poking skywards doesn’t it? And, if I’m giving a book two thumbs poking up, well, it’s gotta mean just one thing. idodoyou, the lady (??!!) from dooyoo say yes. I think this book was great. And I know that I keep going on, but it really was the two unexpected twists that did it for me. I just did not see them coming. Anyway, don’t take my advice, as good as it is ; ) Go out and buy, beg, or steal (not really, just fitted in with the flow of the words , idodoyou does not condone theft!) a copy of this book. it really, really, really is worth it. I can’t think that you will be disappointed? Now my children
8230;…… I see there are a few of you left, thank you for staying. Not sure if it’s been worth the wait, I hope so? If it has ….. let me know. If it hasn’t ….. let me know. But even if you have no thoughts about it all, just rate and leave, and we need never meet again, well, not until the next time that is …………….. It has been fun though don’t you think ……………??
I love books. More especially, at the moment, I love modern fiction, written by women, preferably in paperback. So browsing in our local library, this book looked right up my street – and it was, I loved every page of it! I had heard good things about Jill Mansell, but it was only when I picked up a signed copy (!) in the library and read the biographical details, that I found out she’s from Bristol, where I live. Mixed Doubles was published in 1998 and is the first of her novels I have read, although I plan to read all her others now too – which includes Perfect Timing, Fast Friends and Open House. The front cover of Mixed Doubles gives an air of suggested raunchiness, as we see a pair of male and female legs draped over the back of a settee. So I did wonder if it was just going to be another yawnsome sex-fest, but it wasn’t. Rather charmingly, the sex was written about in a fairly coy way. You followed the preliminaries and the aftermath, but the actual act tended to be described with the use of stars, before continuing with the next part. I much prefer this to orgasmic romps on sun-kissed beaches. The novel is light and frothy, fun and lively, interesting and compelling. We empathise with the characters early on and are soon rooting for X’s relationship with Y to break up, or for A to get together with B. I also associated with the main characters so quickly because they are women and around my age, so that helped too. I would say this is definitely a woman’s novel, the paperback equivalent of a chick-flick. It chronicles a year in the life of three friends – Liza, Dulcie and Pru. They are all in their early thirties and are great friends. They are also incredibly normal – no supermodels in glamorous locations here, oh no. They eat junk food, go to health clubs just to be seen, argue with their blokes, have bad hair days and get migraines. <br>For their New Year’s resolutions, Liza vows to get married, after a succession of short flings with gorgeous men she soon gets bored of. Dulcie decides to finally divorce her dull, workaholic husband, Patrick. Pru just hopes to stay married to Phil, even though he’s an A1 b***ard. But, as we know, best made plans don’t always go according to plan… The book is easy to get into, so you’ll soon be devouring great chunks in one sitting, unable to even go to the loo without taking it with you. Although there are over 400 pages, it all goes by too quickly. After finishing Mixed Doubles, I cured myself of the void in my life by going back to the library – and getting out another Jill Mansell, Perfect Timing! UPDATE : I wrote this opinion a year ago and since then, Jill Mansell has become one of my favourite authors. The most recent of her novels I have read is Staying At Daisy's, which I finished reading on my honeymoon(!!) and would definitely recommend.
New Year is looming and Liz, Dulcie and Pru - the best of friends, and all, to their dismay, into their thirties - are ready with their resolutions. However, they have no idea what the New Year has in store, and Fate has some sneaky plans up her sleeve.