Yes surprise surprise, guess who’s back! Ps it’s me!
Cleo hasn’t had the greatest record with boyfriends. Past and present.
“All her life she’d dreamed of someone saying those three little words to her…But somehow she’d managed to reach the age of twenty-nine without ever once hearing it from a boyfriend, what with them all having been a shower of losers who either had a morbid fear of the word, an aversion to commitment or…weak basically, they just hadn’t liked her enough to say it.”
It all seems to have started back at school when a certain Johnny LaVenture asked her out…
“It had been a heady moment, the kind of turnaround any downtrodden sixteen-year-old could only dream about, but it had actually happened and it felt…God, it felt fantastic! Not, only was everything going to be all right from now on…”
You might be thinking, well that doesn’t sound so bad, well it gets worse. Unfortunately, Cleo had been tricked. It was all one big joke. A joke which Cleo has never forgotten…but now Johnny’s back.
Abbie (Cleo’s sister) is rather the opposite. Happily married with husband Tom living in their own home. A happy couple. Or so you think. Appearances can be deceiving dear readers, Abbie and Tom are unable to conceive. Something which has haunted Abbie. Why you ask? They were so close! They met Patty, someone who hated kids, never wanted any yet happy to be a surrogate. PERFECT. Until Patty decided she was going to keep the child…Abbie (and Tom’s) world came crashing down…
“To say she wished she’d never met Patty Summers was the understatement of the year, but at least it had taught her something. Never, ever again would she entrust another woman with her hopes and dreams.”
Cleo’s life seemingly was on the up. She’d met someone; Will. Handsome, attentive and an absolute gentleman…could he be her Mr Right?
“…during her late teenage years Cleo had got herself entangled with a number of supposed charmers who’d turned out to be less than charming in the long run. Since then, she had grown wary and ultra-fussy, reluctant to take the risk of getting hurt again”
THINK AGAIN! Will is hiding a dirty little secret, but I won’t ruin it for you!
“Unlike men, chocolate digestives never let you down.”
But now Johnny’s back, he and his rather large ego, are playing havoc with Cleo…If you think the past stays in the past, well think again.
“…smugly showing off what a fantastic boyfriend she’d managed to end up with, so desperate had she been to prove she wasn’t the loser he and his friends had made so much fun of all those years ago.”
Unfortunately not all the havoc created is Johnny’s fault. Sparks are flying in Channing’s Hill, for Cleo and for Abbie. Not all of them are good…
Something I love this book for, is that Jill Mansell rather magically captured what the majority of us know already…men don’t really like sharing feelings. Now that’s not to say that some men don’t like to share feelings because I’ve definitely known one or two who are more than happy to shout their feelings from the rooftops but on the whole, the majority aren’t keen on sharing. Testosterone and all that I guess.
For example, Tom’s beautiful speech to Abbie is begun with an awkward and tense expression from him…
‘Things like I’ve missed you so much and I love you and the last couple of weeks have been the most miserable of my life…and I can either carry on being proud and miserable or I can get over what happened and put it behind me and tell you I don’t want to live without you. Because that other stuff doesn’t matter, it was a mistake and I just want us to be like we were before.”
The books latter chapters, now these made me cry. Not because they’re sad. But because not only are they overwhelmingly happy but it’s just plain beautiful. Not least because a certain someone confessing their love for Cleo…but who could it be?
“I love you. There it was. The last time someone had said those words to her, it had been Will, in the pub that day when she’d told him she wanted nothing more to do with him. Her first I love you, and it had been horrible, so completely wrong. But this time it felt wonderful…it felt blissfully, perfectly right.”
And the fact that two characters in Fia and Ash, who aren’t even main characters have a feature role and a role in all parts of the book which I absolutely love. I hate it when sub-characters have a couple of lines and are then seemingly forgotten about the rest of the book.
“Sometimes dreams trick you into believing they’re real. And then there are other times when, completely out of the blue, life suddenly becomes surreal that you wonder if perhaps you’re dreaming after all.”
I read this book over the weekend. It didn’t take me long and I loved it. No there wasn’t any cliffhangers just a good, beautifully written book. Romantic in every sense yet not too lovey-dovey that it’s overpowering. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of humour in there too!
There’s something else too…I can totally relate. Like Cleo, I haven’t had the best track record with boyfriends. I was also tricked into relationships at school and will never forget the humiliation of knowing an entire school knew about it. Likewise an entire school knew I was being dumped before I did…yeah trust me, it sucks. I also am scared of getting hurt again. Of someone disappearing. No closure.
Anyway enough moping from me!
I hope there’s a sequel to find out what happens to Cleo…
Thank you all for taking your time to read this,
Until next time,