Publication Date: 11/05/2013
Imprint: Sourcebooks Landmark
(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Landmark)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
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Excerpt from Don't Want to Miss a Thing, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
He knows all about women, or so he thought...
Dexter Yates leads a charmed existence in London, with money, looks, and girlfriends galore. Life's fantastic until Dex's sister dies and his world changes overnight. Astonishing everyone, including himself, Dex leaves the city behind, takes charge of his eight-month-old niece Delphi, moves to a beautiful Cotswolds village, and sets about working on his parenting skills. His neighbors, including cartoonist Molly Hayes, seem friendly enough—but Dex can't shake the notion that he's missing something important.
Jill Mansell brings readers another emotional, well plotted novel, in her latest offering, Don't Want to Miss a Thing. Mansell has a knack for writing stories that warm the heart and make readers smile in spite of themselves. Her humor and realistic, believable characters make her an author that readers want to return to again and again. With a charming English village, a baby, and a playboy, chick-lit enthusiasts can go wrong with this book!
Jill Mansell's writing style is conversational and lighthearted in most aspects. She writes with a solid knowledge of the kind of characters that readers want to read about. Her dialogue is realistic and her characters are also believable and easy to identify with. In short, Mansell writes about real life. About people who have seen both heartache and love, people who have flaws and imperfections but also show kindness and community. I love the fact that the worlds Mansell creates are places that don't feel like fantasy but, reality. That's never more apparent than in her latest book, Don't Want to Miss a Thing.
Mansell has said that she takes her ideas from the headlines and pieces things together to make a story. In this book, she takes a London playboy and makes him a father overnight. He has to re-think his way of life, from where he lives to who he dates, because he has someone else depending on him now. I liked the fact that this is something that could and does really happen. When Dexter's sister Laura has an accident and leaves him as guardian to her eight month old daughter his world becomes chaotic, but he does the right thing and surprises everyone. It's a situation that readers have seen play out in real life as well as in Mansell's world and that makes all the difference.
As a character, Dex is just wonderful. At first readers see him as playboy. He has the life he wants, wine, women, a fancy car, the perfect job, and then in an instant it all changes. I liked the fact that Mansell made Dex man up and take his responsibilities seriously. He takes on the challenge of parenthood and is determined to give Delphi a good life. I thought he was sensitive and caring and would make a great father, but he sure had a lot to learn and that's where the humor comes in. Putting a man who has no idea how to care of child in this situation had to come across as hilarious at moments and tender at others. Mansell really understood the growth that needed to take place in Dex and she pulls it off with style. He is a real joy to read about.
When Dex moves to the small village of Briarwood in the Cotswalds, he believes that this is the kind of place he wants to raise a child. Then he meets Molly, a young cartoonist and they instantly bond over Delphi. As their relationship grows, readers get to learn about Molly's chaotic love life and her past mistakes. I liked Molly a lot. She may have had love troubles, but she understood her mistakes and learned from them. I liked the fact that Mansell takes her time with this love story and brings these characters together in a way that is both heartwarming and entertaining. Though this book is over 400 pages, it is worth the time to really savor the romance and enjoy the interactions between the main characters and the other townsfolk in Briarwood.
The secondary characters and their side plots were very interesting to me. Briarwood is a typical English village full of gossip and every day circumstances and Mansell does a fantastic job of not only bringing it to life but engaging her readers with the town. All of the people Molly and Dex come in contact with have a part in their story and I loved how everything came together in the end.
This is a very good book. There were a few moments that dragged on a bit, but for the most part I didn't even notice because I was so wrapped up in the story. I thought Mansell did a great job with these characters and tied up all the loose ends in a tidy package by the end. Definitely a good read for readers who enjoy British writing and settings, and for anyone who loves a good realistic romance.
Don't Want to Miss a Thing is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
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I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
With over 5 million copies sold, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Mansell writes irresistible and funny romantic tales for women in the tradition of Jilly Cooper and Catherine Alliott. She worked for many years at the Burden Neurological Hospital, Bristol, and now writes full time. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.