17 February 2010

Book Review: Take A Chance on Me by Jill Mansell

Cleo Quinn doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to men, but now Will’s come along. Handsome and attentive, he could be her Mr Right. Things are definitely looking up for Cleo… apart from one small problem with a rather large ego. Johnny LaVenture, sculptor extraordinaire and her personal childhood nemesis, is back in Channing’s Hill and tormenting her as if he’d never been away.

Meanwhile Cleo’s sister Abbie has a problem of her own – husband Tom has become distant and withdrawn, and she’s determined to find out why. But will the shocking truth mean the end of their idyllically happy marriage? The sisters are about to discover that the past can come back to haunt you, and that love can flourish in the unlikeliest of places.

I’ve really gotten into Jill Mansell’s books when I first picked her novel “Rumour Has It” a couple of years ago, and since then I have really looked forward to her annual release. The past 2 books by Jill I have thoroughly enjoyed, so Mansell has set a bit of an expectation for herself in my opinion so I always hope that with each book she is going to get better and better, and luckily for me she has delivered once more! We got sent the cover by the publishers a few months ago, and since then I’ve been really excited to read this book, and when a copy landed on my doorstep a few weeks ago I immediately set to reading it because I just couldn’t wait!

Although the main story of the book follows young Cleo in her quest for love, I actually found that I was far more hooked by the story of her sister Abbie and the relationship between her and husband Tom. The story begins quite innocently with the pair desperate for their own child, but it moves quite fast into something far more shocking and I didn’t expect at all the twist that comes along. I credit Mansell’s writing for keeping you in one train of thought and suddenly shocking you with something else, and the new twist develops slowly through the book and made for very interesting reading.

As usual, Mansell’s female characters are very believable and likeable, and that’s really the secret to her success. You can believe that each of these women are real, and that their story is one that you might actually hear about rather than something completely unbelievable, and I enjoy reading a more realistic story. Mansell moves along Cleo’s story at a good pace, with the beginning with all the action happening quite quickly and the rest developing throughout the book and I think it came to the end in a timely manner, and didnt feel too rushed or slow which was great. Yes, its rather predictable but I didn’t care, I just enjoyed the read.

I don’t usually comment too much on the setting of a book, but I really enjoyed the way this book was set in a quaint village that keeps itself to itself, because it allowed for not too many characters to become involved and was therefore able to focus itself much more on the characters that really counted. Mansell writes in such a way that you can picture the places in your mind as you read them from Cleo’s little home to the fab pub that pops up regularly. It creates a proper little world for the book and I really enjoyed this.

If you’ve read and loved Jill Mansell’s books before, then you’re going to love this one too. It sticks to what Jill knows works for her and that is great characters, an absorbing story and a great setting, all of which work together to create a fab read that you won’t want to put down. I thought the cover was a little wishy washy at first and doesn’t necessarily relate to what is found inside the book, but then you’ll just be pleasantly surprised by the great twists along the way. Abbie’s story has some darker hints to it than you might expect but I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the book and was so excited to see how it all ends. A brilliant read.

Rating: 5/5


  1. Omg this is one of her best books she's written along with many others :-) she's such an easy read and I enjoy every book she's written :-) can't wait for her next one :-)

  2. i don't like Jill Mansell's books. They all seem the same to me, with no spark or depth to them. But I will try and read her books again as people keep asking me to review them. Thanks for this review. Its convinced me to give her another go.