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To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell

To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell tackles relationships on a whole new level and looks at what it means to love someone for better and for worse and in sickness and in health.  While the novel is infused with Mansell’s humorous style, it is more serious than her other novels.

Ellie Kendall, the main protagonist, finds that losing the love of one’s life is not the end of the world, though it is devastating.  She finds a way to move on with her life, though she’s cut herself off from all of her friends and family to do it and feels as though she’s drowning in sympathy.  Meanwhile, Zach McLaren is a workaholic with no idea what his life is missing until Ellie literally walks through and into it.

“It was starting to concern her, just slightly, that it wasn’t quite normal to be doing what she’d been doing for the last year.  Because Jamie wasn’t here anymore.  And he wasn’t a ghost either.  All she did was conjure up a mental image of him in her mind, talk to him and have him talk back as if he were real.”  (page 18 of ARC)

In addition to the two main leads, there are some great side characters who are fleshed out really well, including the U.S. actor/father-in-law Tony Weston and the former girl band bad girl Roo.  Todd, who was one of Ellie’s good friends before her husband died, is not as well fleshed out as the others — at least initially — but readers won’t mind because he’s sort of a stand in for Ellie’s deceased husband much of the time.  Roo is a delight with all of her antics and her selfish nature, which as always gets turned on its ear when she realizes that the man she’s dating is a cheater.

Mansell’s got a wit about her unlike other authors in her genre, she’s connected to her characters in a way that makes readers feel like they are hanging out with friends, even if those friends are formerly famous. Ellie has a great deal of grief to deal with, while Zack must navigate his relationship with her very carefully and wait for her to be ready to begin again.  Readers will enjoy the realistic way in which their relationship blossoms and their tentative interactions as they become friends and more.  Todd and Tony round out the narrative, showing how events can change relationships in unexpected ways.

Readers seeking happy endings at the end of an evolutionary road will adore To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell.  When you need a pick me up, her books are there to cheer you up, provide a spot of romance, and tug at your heart strings.

  • glad to be of help. LOL

  • Amy

    After reading your terrific review I think I’ve been missing out on a great author! I haven’t read any of Jill Mansel’s books. I love what you said about her characters, her connection to them and for readewrs, it’s like hanging out with friends. I also like that Jill Mansel writes with humor and wit. Any author who does that well is one whose books I want to read.

    Thank you Serena for a great review and a book & author for my tbr list!

  • Makes me think of Didion.

    • Have not read any of her work.

  • I just love her books! I’ll be finishing this one on the weekend so I just skimmed your review. I agree with you though- I always feel like I personally know the characters she’s writing about. She just has a knack of perfectly pulling you into her tales. I can’t wait to get back to this one especially after seeing both yours and Anna’s reviews.

    • Can’t wait to read your review.

  • Jill Mansell

    Hi Serena,
    It’s always scary when reviewers have praised you before and there’s a risk they’ll be bored with you by now, so I’m hugely relieved you liked this one too! Many many thanks for your great review – and a big hello to the other commenters too. Oh, I don’t think commenter is a word…
    Love
    Jill Mansell xxx

    • You are welcome. I just adore your books and can’t wait to read the next one. I think these stories are growing in depth, which I just adore.

  • I love Mansell’s characters and think I’d really enjoy this book since it’s a little more serious than her others.

    • I think you’d like this one as well. Very good, substantive read!

  • I loved this book! I think it’s my favorite Mansell so far.

    • I don’t really have any favorites, unless you count the one that my blog is quoted on the cover!

  • I do really enjoy reading Jill Mansell’s books!

    • I love them. This one is a bit heavier than some of her others.