Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell is another delightful story of love and life changes, and Mansell’s characters are always flawed human beings in search of better lives. Dexter Yates takes the cake with his womanizing ways and charmed high-income life, but his sister has faith that he’s just lost and in need of a little guidance. Soon, Laura will get her wish when Delphi, Dex’s niece, is born and the two become inseparable. Molly Hayes, a cartoonist, lives in a Cotswolds village, and she’s happily teaching her classes at a local cafe and avoiding her latest ex-boyfriend, who just can’t seem to take no for an answer. The village was the setting for a hit show Next to You, and her friend Frankie has the perfect marriage and family.
“Dex spent his life being laid-back and supremely confident; it was endearing to see him admit to a weakness. Laura said encouragingly, ‘You can do it. Just remember to support her head. Like this.’
She demonstrated with her own hands and watched from the bed as Dex copied her. ‘There you go, that’s it.'” (page 4)
Dex decides to buy the Gin Cottage in Molly’s village after she nearly drops a stinky fish on him and his current flavor of the month. He has no one else to turn to when his sister suddenly dies and he has to make a major life decision in the blink of an eye, but the encouragement from a stranger seems to be all he needs. Mansell excels at characterization and there is now doubt about her ability to write believable female leads, but in this novel, her lead is male, and she does an equally great job. Dex is multifaceted and lacks the confidence he needs to fully commit to his decision, and Molly is strong and tries to keep her distance, even as she falls for Delphi.
“Well anyway, good luck to them. Molly’s stomach tightened as she doodled a quick sketch of Amanda Carr with her geometrically perfect hair, pert nose, and crisp white shirt, always so calm and in control. They were probably close in age, but Amanda was the proper grown-up. She had a stethoscope.
With mixed emotions, Molly exaggerated the slightly pointed chin and narrow mouth for witchy effect. Perhaps it was the grownupness that had attracted Dex’s interest. Maybe this was what he wanted or needed from a partner in order to stop him endlessly sloping off in search of the next conquest.” (page 236)
Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell is heartwarming, fun, and full of missed cues and lost chances, but its also about second chances and glances and what it means to be a family. Mansell has hit another one out of the park, which is why she continues to be a favorite women’s fiction author of mine. You’re always going on a fantastic ride with her and her characters.
About the Author:
Jill Mansell lives with her partner and children in Bristol, and writes full time. Actually that’s not true; she watches TV, eats fruit gums, admires the rugby players training in the sports field behind her house, and spends hours on the internet marvelling at how many other writers have blogs. Only when she’s completely run out of displacement activities does she write.
Other Mansell books reviewed: