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Worth taking a chance on?
Take a Chance on Me - Jill Mansell
Member Name: supersonic75
Take a Chance on Me - Jill Mansell
Date: 27/02/13, updated on 27/02/13 (65 review reads)
Advantages: Good sub plots and interesting characters
Disadvantages: A bit slow to start with but picks up
When my best friend discovered her love of Jill Mansell books around two years ago started slowly working her way through them all and after she has finished reading whichever she has chosen at the time it then gets passed on to me. I'd heard of Mansell and knew she wrote chick lit, which I do enjoy and is my preferred choice of genre, but until my friend started lending me her copies I'd never actually read any of her work. I soon grew to like Mansell's easy going style of writing and now eagerly look forward to when my friend utters the words "I've just finished reading that book" as I know I'm next in line to read it. As Jill Mansell has just written a new book called 'Don't want to miss a thing' - which has already been eagerly purchased and currently being read as we speak by said friend - I was given the book she had just finished reading before titled 'Take A Chance On Me' which my review will now focus on.
Cleo Quinn has a job she loves: driving a limousine for a living, some great friends, is close to her older sister Abbie and lives in the nice village of Channing's Hill, but most importantly she has Will. Will is handsome and treats Cleo like a gentleman should and whilst he isn't perfect she has a feeling that things could get serious which is good as she doesn't exactly have a fantastic track record when it comes to keeping a man. Just as life seems to be going her way for once along pops a face from her past that makes her shiver in the form of her childhood nemesis Johnny LeVenture. Good looking, talented and rich, Johnny has it all..especially a large ego which grates on Cleo the moment he arrives back in Channing's Hill to sell his family home after his father's death.
Cleo's sister Abbie and her husband Tom have been happily married for years but still yearn the longed for baby that wasn't meant to be, whilst Cleo's neighbour and friend Ash is still hoping to find that special lady when two come along at once in the form of Fiona and Georgia. As with all Jill Mansell books nothing is plain sailing so throw in lots of unrequited love, some strange customers from Cleo's driving job, a love sick boss and an unexpected face from the past and you have all of the ingredients for Take A Chance On Me.
*~*My thoughts on the book*~*
I love reading and *have* to read every single night without fail or else I simply can't sleep, and find it not only enjoyable but also therapeutic as it helps me wind down from the day's events. I only really tend to read chick lit as it's light hearted enough to transport me from any current stresses or worries without having to concentrate too much, with my all time favourite author being Sophie Kinsella and now a close runner up being Jill Mansell.
When I was given 'Take A Chance On Me' I was already in the middle of reading another book which I was struggling to fully get into so abandoned for the time being in favour of this. I have to admit though that I found the first three or four chapters to be quite slow, and though not exactly dull they certainly didn't grip me enough to warrant a late night of reading that so often happens when I get engrossed in a new book. I found the characters at first very hard to like as they were all quite one dimensional and had little to offer, but once I got to around page 30 the story seemed to take on a new lease of life - as did the characters - and the story started to be far more engrossing than it had started off as and fast started becoming a worthwhile read.
The story centres mainly around the character of Cleo and her tangled love life, and whilst we meet her first I found it took time for me to warm to her as I wasn't overly keen on her at first. As with all Mansell books there is sub plot with and overlapping story that often works it's way round to the main story, and this particular one involves her older sister Abbie who we meet briefly at first but get to know better around 4 chapters in. This for me is when the story started to perk up and really take shape and I found myself suddenly caring about what was happening rather than simply skimming over each paragraph.
I did start to like Cleo though she seemed a bit of a weak character throughout though did become quite likable the more I read. Abbie on the other hand I warmed to straight away, and her own story line had me gripped throughout and I felt she portrayed a dignified silence with what started to happen in her own life and I admit I much preferred the chapters that focused on her and Tom's life than that of Cleo's.
The character of Johnny LaVenture was one that I didn't want to like but I couldn't help falling for the charming wit he portrayed from the second we meet him. He was described by Cleo as making her life a living hell but I found him more of a 'cheeky chappie' than cocky and arrogant as we are so led to believe from the start.
As much as I've grown to love Mansell's books, I've found there to be quite a repetitive theme which is common throughout them all. There always seems to be the subject of 'girl meets boy + unrequited love = happy ending' which though can be quite predictable doesn't necessarily make the story any less entertaining and this was the case here once I really started to get into it.
I do love easy going chick lit and this falls nicely into that category with ease. Once the characters back stories all came to light it made the book far more interesting and I was interested to see how Cleo and Johnny would get on now that they were living in such close proximity again. I can't go into the Abbie and Tom story line too much as it will give too much away but I was really drawn in to this particular plot and found myself hoping the story wouldn't linger to much on Cleo as I wanted to get back to what was happening to Abbie.
At just 410 pages long it's an ideal book for passing the time on holiday and if you persevere long enough with the first few chapters (which are short by the way) then the story does become much more engrossing, well as much as chick lit can be. It's a fairly light hearted read, but again as with all her books Mansell adds a heartwarming touch that always has a slightly sad element though generally ends on a happier note. It's quite a feel good book in the end and whilst it's not one I think I'll read again in the future it's definitely worth a read if you are a fan of this genre or in particular the author.
I wouldn't say this is my favourite Jill Mansell book, but its certainly not the worst I've read and I would recommend giving it a read if looking for something that isn't too taxing on the brain. It was ideal to wind down with on an evening and though it didn't cause me to read into the early hours - much to the delight of my husband - it certainly wasn't one that I abandoned midway through either.
The book flows steadily once the characters are all fully introduced and the story is fluent and easy to read. The characters are all likable once their back stories are all explained and I warmed to all of them especially Johnny and Abbie, though there weren't any I didn't like as they all contributed evenly to the intertwining stories.
Slightly predictable but still a good effort from Mansell and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading her newest book once my friend gets a move on with it.
410 pages long
UK RRP £7.99
Headline publishing group
First published 2010
Summary: A good effort but not my favourite from this author