Monday, 12 January 2015

Guest Book Review: Jill Mansell - Three Amazing Things About You

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Hallie has a secret. She's in love. He's perfect for her in every way, but he's seriously out of bounds. And her friends aren't going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie doesn't have long to live. Time is running out...

Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won't be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends - let alone anything more.

Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she's afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.

Amazon links: Kindle or Hardcover

Each year I eagerly await the new release from Jill Mansell as she is one of my go to authors for a guaranteed good read. Many years ago along with Lesley Pearse, Jill was the first author I read outside the Irish women’s fiction I was used to. I devoured Jill’s books and now have a whole shelf devoted to everything she has written. Jill has written over 25 books and with such a prolific output you would be left wondering where she can bring us next but with the new release of Three Amazing Things About You Jill has just taken things to a whole new level of excellence. This book was just fantastic and I raced through it in a few hours, there are definitely more than three amazing things to rave about this book. I hadn’t even bothered to read the blurb before beginning because I always know I am in for a treat with the way Jill writes, so I delved straight in not knowing what an incredible, emotional, humorous rollercoaster I was about to undertake.

The book focuses on three female characters - Hallie, Tasha and Flo, all very different from each other but yet all equally likeable. Hallie is 28 and living in the village of Carranford. Unfortunately her life is far from the normality she longs for as she suffers from cystic fibrosis which is slowly wearing her down. Not being able to work and experience life like everybody else Hallie sets up an advice website Three Amazing Things About You where under the name Rose she offers advice to people who write in with their everyday problems and a few odd and unusual troubles thrown in for good measure. I just loved the advice Rosie gave the people who wrote into the website. Her witty responses had me laughing out loud. The advice was practical and honest and some of the answers may not have been what most agony aunts would have written but this is what the reader wants to hear and Hallie delivers it with her smart, straight to the point attitude.

Hallie has great support from her friend Bea who is there for her through thick and thin but Hallie longs to leave a normal life without the restraints of cystic fibrosis and to find her one true love to make her life complete. Hallie was an instantly likeable character, there was no moaning or self-loathing about her. Yes, she could get slightly down at times but this wasn’t a pity party and I enjoyed how she took life each day at a time and got on with the what life had dealt her.

Next we met Tasha (a make-up artist) as she hurries around buying last minute presents on Christmas Eve before escaping to Saint Tropez to visit her mum. Disaster strikes when she mislays her credit card and realises it’s in a bin (you have to read it to believe how this could have happened) but her knight in shining armour arrives in the form of Rory McAndrew and soon they only have eyes for each other. Despite being polar opposites, Rory is an adrenalin junkie whereas Tasha is a worrier and to be honest she needed to let go a bit and embrace life to the fullest and give up the stressing which could ultimately push people away. Tasha and Rory have two great friends Carmel and Joe who are at hand to offer advice and approve of whether Rory and Tasha suit each other. The friendly relationship  between Joe and Carmel was just a joy to read, they were always sparring off each other with such sharp comments and astute one liners, fighting against each other to gain the upper hand whilst not admitting to the spark that was there between them.

Flo is the final female character who works in a retirement home and seems pretty contended with her lot. Elsa the woman Flo kept an eye has just died leaving Flo her flat and her cat Jeremy much to the annoyance of her niece and nephew Elena and Zander who of course had their eye on what they hoped was their inheritance. Elena is just a horrible character who does everything to make Flo unhappy as she wants what she can’t have. Zander (although I had my doubts about him in the beginning) turns out quite nice and Flo thinks the same. It was lovely to read of Flo finding some happiness and the people she cared for in the retirement home really added to the story with their humour especially reading a certain woman’s love of technology and how this new found addiction comes in quite handy.

Reading along, rapidly turning the pages I kept wondering how were these characters connected, there were some brief glimpses where characters crossed paths unbeknownst to each other but that was it. Then I thought I have this all figured out, I know how it’s going to all connect but boy was I wrong and delighted to be proved wrong. There are not enough adjectives to describe how the whole thing made me feel, I don’t often get emotional over books but in this case I certainly did and it made me realise how cleverly written this book was with wonderful characters that made me enjoy this sensational, moving story right to the very last word. Jill did such a good job of setting the whole story up, making the reader care for each of the characters and their stories that when it reaches the climax you are so invested in what happens that you are rooting for each and every one of them and that is the sign of a great, talented author.

Jill Mansell was not afraid to tackle a subject that could affect anyone and she should be applauded for having the conviction to make her main female character just that little bit different instead of the usual light and fluffy run of the mill women’s fiction character. It was so refreshing to read a varied storyline for once as we all know the boy meets girl plotline has been done way too often at this stage. With this new book Jill has certainly cemented her place as one of my favourite authors and without doubt will earn plenty more fans once they have read this stunning book in which I was bitterly disappointed to reach the end.

Three Amazing Things About You may have been my last read of 2014 but please make sure it’s amongst your first for 2015 as it’s nothing else only sheer perfection.

I'd like to thank Emma for this fabulous review for this eBook which we received from the publisher via NetGalley.

1 comment:

  1. Really want to go to a local ish book signing of this but on a book ban!