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The Other Woman - Jane Green

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Author: Jane Green / Genre: Fiction

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    9 Reviews
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      17.04.2011 15:30
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      A good read for women.

      I am ashamed to say I'm not much of a reader. I love writing, and I could do it all day every day. Unfortunately, I'm not so good at the reading part. This book was actually given to me by a friend, and I felt sick when I first saw it. It was the thickness of my thumb (well, I do have small thumbs) and I assumed I would never finish it all. It has an average of (one second.. let me count).... 203 words per page. That actually isn't a lot. So even though it may seem a bit of a drag, there's not actually as many words as you may think.

      The book is written by Jane Green. She is your typical author of female love stories, friendship stories, and baby books. All these categories seem a bit cheesy for me. But in actual fact, this book was surprisingly good.. Only with a few minor issues.

      The Characters:

      The story is based around the love story of Ellie and Dan. Ellie is no more than your average woman in her 20's who has fallen in love with a man and is about to marry him. At the start of the novel, she seems bubbly and loving. However, and I say this as criticism, her character changes over a course of time to seem slightly selfish and childish, which really doesn't work as she is supposed to be the protagonist whom we sympathise with.

      Dan is your typical Mr. Right. His character in my opinion is quite dull, but when Elle begins to turn into a complete cow of a woman, his character becomes a lot of more interesting.

      And then we have the 'Other Woman'. Better known as the 'mother-and-law'. Now, I read another reviewer saying the same thing and I completely agree with her, but she is not portrayed in the way in which I think she should be portrayed. Yes, she is slightly irritating and it would be difficult to refrain yourself from slapping her in the face. However, she doesn't actually seem as bad as what she should be. In the end, it seems as if Ellie is one who is bullying her and we start to sympathise with the antagonist, which is not how the story should go at all.

      The Plot:
      The story is about a girl who believes she has found her happy ending until she met (what was intended to be) the 'monster-in-law'. Ellie never had a conventional family. Her mother died when she was young, and her father was in no position to hold up a family on his own. Ellie seems to be very good at putting up with her mother-in-law's constant need to be involved in the wedding, and even take over at some point. However, after telling her before going on her honeymoon that they are expecting a baby, the mother-in-law's desire to involve herself seems to be too much for Ellie with her hormones. Ellie refuses to keep her mouth closed much longer.

      Although it seems like I've told you a lot of the plot already, but this really is only the beginning of it. In my opinion, the real story is around the downfall of Ellie and Dan's marriage. After taking a 'break' in the marriage, they decide to go their separate ways, and the decisions and emotions they feel during this break mould the outcome of the rest of the story.

      My opinion:

      The best part about this story is that every woman can really connect with Ellie. She was a young girl desperate to find what she was missing in life. Of course this was her prince charming. When Ellie talking about hoe excited she is to take her husbands name, and the problems she is having accepting the furniture that Dan wants in the home, and the mess he likes to leave things, we can all sympathise with her and we can all see ourselves as Ellie. However, what a lot of readers can't empathise with is that Ellie grew up without a family. This is, in my opinion, one factor that dragged her towards a marriage with Dan - the conventional family that he had. She seemed desperate to have a Mummy, Daddy, sisters and brothers all living under the same roof to go to Sunday dinner with. However, this is what becomes the annoyance for Ellie, and we all realise in life that the conventional way is never the best way, and with this close family Ellie finds it difficult to accept all the adverse consequences that come with it. For example, she begins to realise that Dan is a 'mummy's boy'. Surely, we would all know that a man who goes to Sunday dinner and spends so much time with his family is a 'Mummy's boy'? Although that's the thing with Ellie, she seemed so blinded by the idea of having a husband and a family that she didn't consider all these consequences and at the end of the day we all do the same thing. How many of us really balance the pros and cons of a situation before we enter it? Do we ever buy a cheap deal without thinking why the product is so cheap? This is what I find fascinating about the story, that it is so truthful about human nature and not just when it comes to marriage.

      Another way we can understand the type of person that Ellie is, is her reasons for entering the marriage. When reading the beginning of the story, it seemed pretty clear that Ellie wasn't head-over-heals in love, ut head-over-heals with the idea of marriage. She talks about how much she loves her new home, and that she is excited to be "Mrs Ellie Cooper". Although others may not agree with me, Ellie definitely found the marriage convenient as opposed to finding her fiancé to be the most amazing guy in the world.

      This is definitely emphasised when she is ready to have her baby. She becomes, like all women, baby obsessed and this takes attention away from her marriage as al the concentration is on the baby. Now let's admit it, if you're in a marriage, this is definitely what happened. Even though it may not have hit you as hard as it hit Ellie, a lot of attention is taken away from the marriage, causing a lot of love and lust to be sucked out and put into the baby. Did you ever notice that all the conversation you made was baby-related? Although Ellie doesn't directly mention this, the reader can see it. This is another way that women can relate to Ellie to can see the problems she is making as we've been there ourselves.

      Another quality about Ellie is that she is clearly impetuous. She seemed to make a rash decision into the marriage, and even after this, she seemed to make a rash decision out of it. Again, like when she entered the marriage, she got a cold, hard slap on the face when she realised it isn't what she thought it would be. One of the best parts of the story is Ellie's breakdown as a single mother. She realised that even thought she didn't feel the same way about Dan, she needed him. She had already told her mother-in-law where to go, she had told Dan that she wanted a break, and she, as you would expect, left her old circle of friends for "married with children" friends who just couldn't sympathise with a new single mother.

      Does she really need Dan?
      Can she even mend the bond between her mother-in-law and herself?
      Will she be able to cope on her own?
      But what if Dan has moved on?
      Will her best friend try to sleep with her father-in-law?

      I'll leave it there. The book is £6.99.

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        26.04.2010 08:50
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        A fantastic read, you wont be able to or want to put it down.

        This book is fantastic, in my opinion the best book that Jane Green has ever written, if you have a Mother in Law or not, you will not be able to put it down. The book is so true to life and Green does an amazing job of capturing what the reality of life with a new baby can be like, both the positives and negatives and the subsequent impact on your relationship. Furthermore, her tremendous strength of characterisation means that you are immediately drawn in; I think it is fair to say that we have all met a Linda at some point, relative or not. It is definately a must read for those who have just started a new relationship or who have or are just about to have their first baby. You will feel that Green has got in your head and really knows where you are coming from.

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        28.03.2010 21:25
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        a great chick-lit x

        I have to say I am a fan of most of Jane Green books. There have only been two in which I cannot say I was impressed. I brought The Other Woman by Jane Green and took it away with me for the weekend to read and I have to say I couldn't put it down, I was very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed this book. I will tell you a little about the plot and what I liked and disliked about this book.


        *******PLOT********
        This book is told from the main character, Ellie's point of view. Ellie has had quite a isolated childhood as her mother died when she was very young and her father didn't quite know how to be there for Ellie.
        Ellie meets her husband Dan who is everything she wanted in a man. When their relationship becomes serious it is that time we all dread...... Time to meet the in-laws!!!

        When Ellie meets Dans mother Linda she is made to feel very welcome and Linda tries very hard to make Ellie feel like part of their close knit family. Ellie loves the feeling of being a part of the family and is pleased to have a mother figure in her life.

        Things start to go wrong when they decide to get married, and Linda decides to take over with the wedding plans, and Linda calls Dan every single day, talk about needing to cut the apron strings!!

        Ellie falls pregnant and when she is in labour things go from bad to worse when Linda holds the baby before Ellie. Ellie is so angry with Linda who always has to be in control and this anger grows in more events which occur during the book which puts a strain on Ellie and Dans marriage.


        ******What I Liked ******
        I could not put this book down. I was very shocked as I got into the book and found that the Other woman was in fact Dans mum!! I was expecting this whole affair based plot so this made a surprising change. Each of the characters were described very well giving enough information to get an image in your mind of each character. Ellie is described as such a loveable character and I could relate well with her. I have a lot of the same problems with my partner and in-laws so whilst reading this book I felt like parts of it was describing episodes of my life!! Right up until the end of the book I felt like the story could take any number of turns I did not feel the book is in anyway predictable.


        ******What I didn't like*****
        I can only think of one thing for what I didn't like about this book and that is the ending. I got hooked on this book but when it was coming to the end it felt like it was rushed. With such an enjoyable story line I think the ending was a big let down for the book.


        ****Overall****
        I would give this book an 8 out of ten. It was an enjoyable read but lacked a good ending. I feel it is one of Jane Greens best books and would recommend this to any chic-lit lovers!

        ISBN 0-140-29595-X
        RRP £6.99

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          03.02.2010 00:01
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          Not my idea of good chick lit.

          I really did not enjoy this book.

          Usually I'm pretty easily pleased when it comes to chick lit so was really surprised how much I disliked this book. I felt so annoyed that I'd wasted two days of my life reading it! Yes I could've given up, but once I start a book, I'm determined to finish it! And finish it I did, although I wasn't happy about it.

          Maybe I just got it all wrong but when I chose this book I was under the impression it was about an evil mother in law. If it indeed was, then I really feel Jane Green didn't do a good job of making Linda the 'baddy.' Yes she was annoying and overbearing but I don't think she was by any means evil. I did dislike her and would definitely run a mile if my husband's mother was like her but in the end I felt extremely sorry for her, and really disliked Ellie. I felt like we were meant to be on Ellie's side and I really was not. She was so ungrateful and unreasonable and whiney! And Dan? Wet fish.

          I felt the story was boring as well. Nothing was really happening and it was just plodding along. I kept waiting for something interesting or exciting to happen but it just never did.

          I did not fall in love with any of the characters, and found the story slow and monotonous. If I'm reading a book about an awful mother in law, I want her to be really awful, this one was not. And when you have no sympathy for the main character it really doesn't work!

          I did find a few parts funny, and quite liked the twist of Ellie's friend with her father in law.

          I've heard a few people say they enjoyed this book, but I'm afraid to say I did not and would not recommend it. This is the first and probably the last Jane Green novel I will buy. It was extremely forgettable and left no impression on me whatsoever.

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          01.11.2009 22:40
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          Chick lit

          This is a rather light weight book however it is chick lit so I guess that is just about acceptable in this genre. It is quite a funny read in places as well and that is what makes it worth checking out in my opinion.

          The two mai characters are Ellie and Dan, they are completeopposites but Ellie falls madly in love with him, she has had a tough upbringing, her mother died when Ellie was young primarily from alcohol abuse and Ellie rebelled against the authority of her father in her teen years, now she is set to meet Dan family and she hopes that this will offer the structure that was lacking in her childhood.

          The problem is that in Linda, Dans mother you have the mother in law from hell, initially kind once the wedding plans get into full swing she turns into a backstabbing bitch and a control freak.

          Althought this is a rather fluffy book the story was quite engrossing as you wanted to see what Linda woiuld do next and how Ellie would cope with it, or more likely not cope with it, there are some wonderful sections of the book that deals with all the gossip flying around and this is quite funny at times.

          The story is told from Ellies point of view she is a rather confused character and is rather dominated by Linda, I love the characters in this book including an odd assortment of friends that Ellie has.

          The plot is fairly simple but overall it works well, it is easy reading as I polised it off in about a day and a half so it is quite easy to get through and makes for a nice holiday read on the beach or by the pool.

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          28.06.2009 20:29
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          One of Jane Green's finest

          Growing up without a mother of her own, Ellie has always dreamed of being part of a big and loving family. When she meets Dan and the rest of the Cooper family, her dreams seem to come true. They are everything she could have ever dreamed of and Dan's mother, Linda, welcomes Ellie into her family as if she was her own daughter.

          When Ellie and Dan begin to plan their wedding, Linda generously offers a helping hand. But, soon enough, a small and quiet affair in the local register's office turns into the wedding of the year inclusive of tiny fiddly portions of god knows what as a main meal, outrageous decorations covering every wall and surface, as well as hundreds of guests who Ellie doesn't even know. Ellie has to bite her cheek to stop herself from screaming at her mother-in-law to be - after all, Linda is paying for the entire wedding so it's only right that she gets her say isn't it?

          But after the wedding, Linda is still just as infuriating, interfering in other matters in Ellie and Dan's personal life including moving house, their friends, and parenting issues when their newborn baby comes along.

          How do you know when enough is enough? How many people are in this marriage? Is Ellie married to Dan or his mother?

          The Other Woman is written in first person from the perspective of Ellie and immediately you warm to her. She hasn't had the easiest of lives with her mother being an alcoholic and dying when Ellie was only a teenager. Because of this she has always wanted a family around her who love her and, when she gets this in the form of the Cooper family, it makes the reader feel so happy that she has found her dream. However, as small annoyances of Linda's begin to occur, I found myself rolling my eyes and tutting more and more. However, in some ways, some of the things which Ellie became irritated about I did find to be a little over-the-top and so this did give me sympathy for Linda as well who was obviously only trying her best to help out her daughter-in-law.

          This isn't just one of the usual chick lit books as, about just over half way through, there is a traumatic incident which takes place which is fairly shocking and this, along with the events that follow, make the story seem a lot more realistic and in depth.

          Jane Green is a well-known and very popular chick lit writer but I have to say that this book was way better than expected. I couldn't put it down and the story had me completely entranced. It contained many laughs but also, as I said above, some very realistic and upsetting moments and I found myself desperately wanting Ellie to end up with everything she wants. It is a great read for anyone but especially those who are in or have been in a similar situation with the mother-in-law from hell. I can't say that I have this problem with my mother-in-law as we hardly ever see her but my husband probably has it with my mum and so I could kind of see it from his point of view!

          Although I've read some of Jane Green's other books, I'm now going to make sure I look out for anything else of hers as this was just brilliant.

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            23.05.2009 15:33
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            Smothering Mother!

            Jane Green is one of the 'queens' of chick-lit and this book is one of her best.
            The story is told from Ellie's point of view, Ellie is a thirty three your old successful career girl who meets the man of her dreams, Dan.

            Growing up, we learn that Ellie's mother was an alcoholic and was killed whilst drink driving when Ellie was young. Her distance from her father and no other siblings meant that Ellie has always longed for a big close family. so she is delighted when she meets Dan's family - its like the ready made closeness she has always dreamed of.

            At first his mother Linda, and her get on famously, its only when Dan and Ellie announce their engagement that she realises just how overbearing Linda can be as she controls every aspect of their wedding day. Their wedding goes from a small intimate affair, to a room filled with people they dont know and 'chilean bloody seabass'!!

            Ellie quickly has a child and this is where the real tension between her and Linda sets in. Linda intefers wherever she can and Ellie gets more and more petty and angry as a result. His mother is the cause of pretty much all the rows between Dan and Ellie because he is a total mummys boy and wont ever stick up for Ellie.

            I wont spoil the rest of the story but Im sure that a lot of people would identify with Ellie if they have ever had an interfering mother in law!

            Whilst Linda is supposed to be the villain of the story, I didnt always warm to Ellie either, she comes across as really petty and vindictive sometimes and i found her a bit annoying.
            Also there is an inconsistency in the story - at first Ellie is painted as an ex wild child who did a lot of drugs but never drank. Indeed when her and Dan go out the night he proposes, she "orders her usual non alcoholic drink"
            But as the story develops its as if Jane Green has forgotten this as there are constant references to Ellie being drunk or looking longingly at cocktails etc..

            Thats just a small gripe. All in all its a real pageturner and I read this in 2 days - I like Green's style of writing and her character development. This is a well written book ideal for a beach read, that will strike a chord with a lot of people.

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            21.02.2009 15:12
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            Is this is the mother-in-law from hell?

            I picked up a copy of this book in my local library and have just finished it. I've read other books by Jane Green in the past (Bookends immediately springs to mind) and wasn't overly impressed, but this looked interesting judging from the blurb on the back cover so I took it out anyway. After all, I wasn't buying it so what harm could it do?

            The Plot

            Ellie is about to get married to Dan. Having experienced a somewhat difficult childhood in which her mother died when she was young and her father was a very distant parent, she is thrilled to have been unconditionally accepted into his seemingly perfect family set-up, especially as she never had that luxury herself. The only fly in the ointment is Dan's mother, Linda. She is the type of mother that completely smothers Dan at the expense of her two other children, and wants to take a stranglehold on the wedding plans. Will Ellie ever feel like she's not sharing Dan with his mother?

            The Writing Style

            The story is told from Ellie's viewpoint in a first person format. The writing style is quite typical for a chick-lit type book as it's easy to follow and uncomplicated. I'm not really a fan of books that make me work hard to understand what's going on, so this writing style is perfect for me!

            The Characters

            Reading this book, I had a lot of sympathy for Ellie, as she initially tries to keep everyone happy. As Linda's interventions become more and more irritating, this book will probably strike a chord with anyone who has experienced that type of woman before!

            As the book wore on, I started to feel a bit more sympathy for Linda though, particularly after the events in France that really change the relationships between most of the main characters.

            As a complete Mummy's boy and seemingly oblivious at all of Ellie's issues, Dan was a bit of an annoying character for me.

            Several of the less minor characters were also a bit irritating, such as Lisa (one of the mothers who Ellie meets as the story progresses, and who comes across as shallow and quite self-centred).

            Would I Recommend This Book?

            I really enjoyed this book (as did my mother, who promptly "borrowed" it from me before I took it back to my library) and read it in about three days. I was especially keen to see whether things could be resolved between the main characters or whether the significant events in France (which obviously I don't want to give too away on or it will spoil things!) will prove too difficult to move past. As far as the ending goes, I was quite pleased that things worked out as they did.

            I've just been on the Amazon website to check the price - £5.99 - and noticed that there is currently the option to view a few sample pages of the book. This might be a good idea if you're pondering whether or not to buy the book.

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              03.10.2005 09:13
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              Monster-in-law

              Dan is everything that Ellie has ever wanted, even though they're complete opposites. They have a whirlwind romance and soon it's time to 'meet the parents'. Ellie's not had an easy childhood. Her mother, an alcoholic, died when she was young and with only her father at hand, she rebelled. Now she's in her thirties, she's going to become part of the Cooper clan and have a real family at last. Something she has always dreamed of.

              Only there's a problem. Dan's mum, the chic Linda. At first she's loving and generous, plying Ellie with gifts. But once the wedding plans start to take shape, she becomes the mother in law from hell ...

              * What I liked *

              Well this is another page turner from Jane Green. I couldn't wait to buy this, having read all of her other books. This one did not disappoint. OK so it's not going to win any literary prizes, but it's still a number one bestseller and the characters are definitely part of why her books are so popular.

              Told from Ellie's point of view we see how her insecurities start to lead to constant rows with Dan as her problems with Linda's interfering arise. Dan is caught in the middle of his two favourite women, and as he has two siblings, sides are quickly taken.

              Linda is portrayed as an overbearing type, a pushy woman that turns up on Ellie's doorstep unannounced and not always at opportune moments. She seems to push all the wrong buttons with Ellie and at other times seems so attentive that Ellie feels smothered.

              The reader also steps in to Ellie's household. We see how her loyalties to her friends change from when she's single to when she's married, and she meets other couples with children. Lisa is the single mother, a yummy mummy with blonde hair and fake boobies clad head to toe in designer gear (naturellement so is her daughter). Trish is the more 'mumsy' type with the very spoiled baby Oscar and husband Gregory. Dan and Ellie's problems are swept aside briefly as Linda and Michael offer them a villa in the South of France. The couple are excited and invite their friends along for a holiday - but then the in-laws' yacht has an accident and Linda and Michael end up staying at the villa too ... that's when the * real * problems start.

              * Bad points *

              There was perhaps a bit *too* much babytalk and babies in general for my liking. Green's been there, done that with 'Babyville' and almost lost me as a fan with that book! However as this book progresses, the 'mummies' are an important part of the storyline so I am not going to take any stars off my rating for that!

              * Storyline *

              I think the plot is very simple but it's also going to be pretty close to a few people out there who have difficult families! So it's easy to relate to.

              I liked the characters, the diversity of them all and how another man is brought in when the cracks are starting to show in Ellie's very early married life. Charlie's attractive, a womaniser, and charming, and Ellie's very vulnerable. There are all sorts of decisions she has to make and the reader can definitely sympathise with her.

              There's also a surprise affair and a new arrival. So the book flows very easily and with the change of location to France, this all made for a happy Mack's reading!

              Ahem. I read this in two days.

              * Verdict *

              This has all the right ingredients. A wedding, family, friends, lovers, disagreements, gossip, secrets, tears and an accident. It's all put together in such a way that will keep you reading. Yes it's chick lit, yes it's lightweight and yes it's perfect for a holiday read.

              My copy was £3.73 from that wondrous supermarket, Tesco as I bought it when it first came out in paperback. It's always worth checking Ebay or Amazon for cheaper copies.

              At times funny, other times touched with heartache, this gives new meaning to 'there were three of us in this marriage'!

              Five stars again. Fans of Jane Green won't be disappointed. Go forth and buy it!

              * Other info *

              ISBN 0-140-29595-X
              RRP £6.99
              Play.com £5.49 (free delivery)
              Published by Penguin Books Ltd (UK)
              Year 2005
              439 pages

              Also contains exclusive additional material about Green's other books and an interview with the author.

              There is an extract from the book at www.janegreen.co.uk if you care for a taster before you make that all important purchase.

              * Other books by Jane Green *

              Straight Talking
              Jemima J
              Mr Maybe
              Bookends
              Babyville
              Spellbound

              Thanks for reading.

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            • Product Details

              Ellie and Dan are living proof that opposites attract. He always follows instructions and she throws the manual away. He loves sports whereas Ellie's allergic to any form of exercise. Ellie doesn't have a mother. And Dan does - a mother who wants to take over EVERYTHING. At first Ellie is thrilled to have Linda as her adopted mother and to be a part of the close, loving Cooper family. But when she and Dan decide to get married and wedding plans progress, she starts to wonder: is it normal for Linda and Dan to speak on the phone twice a day? How on earth do they come to be having a reception with Chilean bloody seabass and humongous bloody white ribbons tied everywhere when all she wanted was a quiet registry office? In fact, is she marrying Dan OR HIS MOTHER? And Ellie's problems have just begun. When she discovers she's pregnant she realises that Linda's only been rehearsing for the real takeover. She seems to want to live her life through Ellie and in the words of the immortal Princess Diana, there are three of them in the marriage.