Tuesday 23 February 2016

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

On the morning of Lily's twenty-fifth birthday, it's time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.
Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum's life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan, now a pilot, has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie's intentions.
Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily's friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again....

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell was published in hardback by Headline on 28 January 2016, this is the author's twenty-seventh novel. I've read most of Jill Mansell's books over the years, and have reviewed three of her previous novels here on Random Things; Don't Want To Miss A Thing (February 2013); The Unpredictable Consequences of Love (June 2014), and Three Amazing Things About You (January 2015). I enjoyed this author's writing very much, her books are always uplifting, always romantic and always very funny and this one did not disappoint in the slightest.

You and Me, Always is Jill Mansell at her very best, she's an author who is confident in how she writes and knows exactly what her fans want. She stays true to what she knows best, and this story is everything that I expected, and all that I wanted.

The female characters take the lead in this story. Strong, yet vulnerable, funny and loyal, here are a bunch of women who you'd really want to have on side, in any argument. Although Lily is the main character, and this is her story; Patsy is my favourite. I just loved her, a little bit older with a heart that has been battered about and torn up a bit, but who, deep down just wants to love and be loved. She's the village hairdresser, and everyone in Stanton Langley knows her story; they know about the husband who left her, they know about his new relationship, and unfortunately most of them know everything about the online dating disasters that seem to be happening more regularly.

Patsy, along with Lily and Coral form the backbone of You and Me, Always. Yes, there are plenty of male characters, and some are fabulous, and some are not so wonderful, but not one of them is a patch on these three women.

It's not all fun and games and laughter and jollity though. Jill Mansell has created an intriguing back story for her characters, with Lily's dead mother at the centre. When Lily reads the last birthday letter left by her Mum, on the morning of her twenty-fifth birthday she feels deep sadness, but the words that she reads also spark a determination to find out more about her Mum's early life. Whilst Lily is wondering about her family history, Patsy is sheltering someone from unwanted attention.

Worlds collide, and people who would normally never meet become mixed up together. Old well-kept secrets are revealed and there are tears and laughter all around.

A fabulous story, extremely well-written by an author who continues to create the most wonderful characters. Long-term fans will be delighted, and new readers will be hooked.

My thanks to Headline and Bookbridgr who sent my copy for review.

Jill Mansell lives with her family in Bristol. She used to work in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology but now writes full time.
She watches far too much TV and would love to be one of those super-sporty types but basically can't be bothered. Nor can she cook - having once attempted to bake a cake for the hospital's Christmas Fair, she was forced to watch while her co-workers played Frisbee with it!

But she's good at Twitter!

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