9 February 2008

Book Review: An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell

"Lola has no intention of accepting when her boyfriend Dougie's snobbish mother offers her £10,000 to break up with him. Then she discovers a secret that makes her think again. Dougie would probably have broken up with her in the long run, and this way she can help one of the people she loves most in the world.

Ten years later, though, when Lola meets Dougie again, her feelings for him are as strong as ever. But she broke Dougie's heart and he's about to discover that she was paid to do it. She can never tell him the truth, so can she get him back? Well, Lola's very attractive and very persuasive. But even she's got her work cut out this time..."

I haven't read any of Jill Mansell's books before, despite her having written 18 books in my favourite genre of literature - chick lit! I quite liked the premise of this one so I thought it would be worth a go. As I started the book, I was pleased to see it's written in the third person, my favourite writing style, and I quickly got into the book. It dives straight in with its plot so you get hooked straight away, which is a good tool used by the author.

The characters are all incredibly likeable, all except Dougie's mother Adele of course. Lola, the main female lead is a lovely character, and you'll soon get to find out why she took the money for breaking uo with Dougie. Although she is young and fashionable, she works in a book shop and is passionate about books. It's nice to see a young character who loves books being written about - it's quite rare actually! Although at points Lola's obsession with Dougie did teeter on being ever so slightly annoying, she was still likeable and a fun character, one who you wanted to follow the story with and just find out how it is all going to turn out in the end.

The other characters in the book appear regularly, which gives good continuity and stops there being too many characters in the book, which can often spoil a good story. Lola's mother Blythe doesn't know what Lola did when she was 17, so when she finds out Lola's in contact with Dougie again she wants them back together! Blythe is a recent widow and her tentative steps back onto the dating scene and mentioned and Lola and Blythe's shopping trips never failed to have me smiling as I read on!

Gabe is Lola's best friend who lives opposite Lola in London. He's clearly a male in touch with his feminine side, but to be honest, I wish I had a best mate like him! He is obsessively tidy, and his character develops more when his career takes a rather different and funny turn! Sally, who is Dougie's brother, lives with Gabe as well, and is completely messy despite looking like she has stepped out of Vogue every morning. She's a lovely person and nice to Lola, but I found she was very whiny and wasn't really my favourite character. She was well-developed but I just didn't like her all that much! There is another character in the book but I think I'll be spoiling it if I tell you anymore so I shan't!

The author has a great writing style, and moves the book along at a nice pace. All too often, I start reading a book which starts off well and then tails to the end, either skipping important parts too quickly or dragging on which makes me bored. But Jill Mansell seems to have this just right. All the loose ends are tied up nicely, none of the characters have an unbelievable ending and the whole thing wraps up nicely. I found the ending satisfying and wasn't left disappointed at all, thank goodness! Nothing worse than finishing a book and thinking "Is that it?!".

So would I recommend it? I certainly would! Although this is my first outing into a Jill Mansell book, I am a convert to her writing and I am going to be hunting out more of her books to read, and I just hope they match the great standard of this one! In this novel, the characters are likeable, you want everything to work out for Lola, the plot is somewhat believable and it is just a thoroughly enjoyable and escapist read. I loved it, and I'm very glad I decided to give it a go! 

Rating: 5/5

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