Thursday 6 October 2016

Clare Reviews: You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

You And Me, Always: The No. 1 BestsellerTitle: You and Me, Always
Author: Jill Mansell
Source: Copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Publisher: Headline Review
Pages: 406
Rating: 4.5/5
Blurb: Lily's always been surrounded by love.

Ever since her mother died, she's been cared for by friends who are as close as any family.
Coral, her mum's best friend; Patsy, her old babysitter - and even Dan, Patsy's incorrigible younger brother - have always been there for her.
But when she chance comes to meet the man who was the love of her mother's life, Lily knows she has to take it. Getting to know him could change everything, and not just for Lily... 

This novel, for lack of a better simile, is like snuggling up under a duvet with a mug of hot chocolate (the kind with marshmallows). It was comfortable and cosy and left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. From the first chapter it maintained a humorous, though at times emotional, tone and I was in love with the characters and with the plot.

As with all Jill Mansell's books, this follows a number of different characters. Lily and Dan are the first characters to make an appearance and it is their brilliant relationship and their banter that made this book so engaging. I loved them as a duo from page one and by the end of the book they had become, in my mind, basically inseperable. Patsy, Dan's brother and Lily's old babysitter, was very approachable and I loved her attitude to life. She was such a great character to read about and I almost wish she had been given more page time, especially towards the end of the book. Finally, Coral was just the most amazing mother figure/friend. I laughed at her funny moments and I found her endearing in her more serious.

I would say that this book does contain a love triangle, never my favourite of plot devices, and it was at times frustrating. But since the ending was never in any doubt, it wasn't too upsetting and I did really like the second love interest and wish him well. Otherwise I did like the other relationships in the book - both romantic and friendships. There was such a diverse array of relationships and it really made the story feel more authentic. Each couple was unique and believable, none of the relationships felt rushed and the ending felt very deserved.

The ending was probably my favourite part of the whole book. I was on the point of tears (the good kind) and I had butterflies in my stomach. Every one of the characters endings was perfect and complete and so the book as a whole left a good impression on me. As with any book that follows multiple perspectives, everyone will have their favourites. Mine was definitely Lily and Dan's perspectives but the other characters were so well written that I could enjoy their stories as well.

I have read a couple of Jill Mansell's other books and I can honestly say that this is my favourite of hers so far. The characters were fleshed out and engaging and the plot, though gentle and not action packed, still kept me turning the pages well into the early hours of the morning. I have no doubt that I will re-read this in the future and I look forward to my next Jill Mansell read.

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