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In the last few years Melissa Hill has fast become one of my favourite Chick Lit writers, and I think she has taken over Patricia Scanlan's spot as my favourite Irish author. I was hooked on her books when I first read The Last to Know, and am trawling through her back catalogue. Not What You Think is her second novel.
Laura, Nicola & Helen have been best friends for years, although they are very different personalities. Laura is soft and sweet, preparing to take the plunge into running her own jewellery design business. Nicola is feisty and independent, working as a partner at a gym. Helen is a stylish single mum with a selfish streak. Laura is planning her wedding to fiancé Neil when a mix up with the wedding stationary brings Nicola's ex husband back into the mix, with bridezilla Chloe in tow. The blast from the past makes the girls look back on their relationships with each other - is it as strong as they really think?
This book is written in third person narrative, which allows you to really get to know all the characters. I really liked both Nicola and Laura, and could see instantly why they were friends. Nicola gives Laura confidence, while Laure helps keep hot-head Nicola grounded. I could empathise with Laura starting out on her own, and the lack of encouragement from her mother - I've been there, although on a much smaller scale! I found it hard to relate to Helen though - as a mum to a little man with problems I can't understand any mum who wouldn't wholeheartedly help her child. Although she was more likeable as the book went on, she still seemed to be a bit of a villain to me.
If you have read a Melissa Hill book before, you will know that there is always a trademark twist to her stories. I actually guessed what the twist was about halfway through the book, although knowing there was a twist my mind is always constantly ticking and trying to figure out what it is - I was bound to strike gold one day!! I like the way the book takes you on an emotional roller-coaster from start to finish, and you really care what happens to the characters. I could not put this book down, and read it cover to cover in one and a bit evenings despite it being quite a thick book. I would definitely recommend this to chick lit fans, and I am a bit depressed that I have now read all of her books. Luckily her new one - Please Forgive Me -is released in April. I have found her older books harder to get hold of, and I picked this one up on Ebay for £2.95 (including postage) - It is also available new on Amazon for £5.49.
For more information on Melissa Hill's books check out www.MelissaHill.info
Paperback 527 pages by Arrow Books
This was one of the books in my 'Hill' box set, and having enjoyed the last two, I thought I'd see how different the storylines were.
This book is about three friends, Nicola, Laura and Helen, but mainly features Nicola. Nicola's ex husband Dan is back on the scene with his new fiance Chloe, who is desperate to find out more information about Dan's history. Dan is very vague when talking to her, and refuses to tell her why they split up, so you can understand Chloe's frustrations.
Chloe doesn't stop at questioning her husband to be, however, and soon beings questioning people and digging up secrets that have much wider spread consequences then she can ever have imagined...Not only for Chloe, Nicola and Dan but also for Nicola, Helen and Laura.
The secrets are fantastic, and although you might guess some small parts, the big secrets will keep you guessing. The characters are likeable, even Chloe, who clearly didn't mean to cause such chaos. They are so well written that you can see their intentions and feelings, and you'll really believe in what they are doing...It's a brilliant book, both for the drama, and for the excellent descriptions.
'Not What You Think' is the second book I have read by Irish writer Melissa Hill and it was every bit as good as the first. The story is about three women - Nicola, Laura and Helen - who have been friends for years. They have been through good times and bad but generally have been there for each other - or at least that is what you might think.
The period in their lives when the story occurs sees them all looking forward to different opportunities and facing up to different challenges. Laura is about to marry her long time love Neil but is also setting up her own jewellery design business. More than anything though she wants to win the approval of her mother which is by no means an easy task! Helen has difficulties bonding with her three year old daughter particularly because she sees her as an obstacle to any lasting relationships. It doesn't help that all the men she is attracted to are selfish, shallow and self-centred. Nicola has a good job and a good man but her life is turned upside down by the reappearance of her ex husband Dan. Finding out that he is about to marry someone else raises many questions in her own mind. There is also something that has happened in Nicola's past that is only hinted at at the start of the novel but is gradually revealed. This really keeps the reader guessing throughout the book. As the story progresses we follow what happens to each of the three women and it really is an absorbing read.
The three women are all strong characters and I liked them and felt for them right from the start - even Helen who might come over as quite selfish. They are all very different to each other - Laura is easy going and wants to please everyone, Nicola is strong willed and determined and Helen is fashionable, successful but selfish - but what comes through is an extremely strong bond between the three of them. The bond is so strong that sometimes it can lead to disappointment and confrontation but this all makes for fascinating reading. I liked the fact that each woman had her own distinct personality and their own story. At different times the author focuses on each of them but it's very easy to keep track of all the different strands. When you are reading about them it feels very much that you are reading about people you know!
As soon as I started reading this book I just wanted to keep reading. The style is easy and friendly and because of this the reader does really feel involved in the story. You like what you read and you want to know what is going to happen next. It is the sort of book that I just don't want to put down once I have started and I find myself snatching odd moments in the day in which to read it and that really does mean that it's a good book.
I really recommend this book. Melissa Hill is a talented writer and she weaves an absorbing tale which will hook you in to the very end. Well, it will if you like this sort of book! I will definitely be looking out for more of her books in the future.
At the moment it is available on Amazon for £5.49 for the paperback.