Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell

Source: Gift from Diary of an Eccentric
Paperback, 418 pages
On Amazon and on Kobo

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:

Mailbox Monday #251

Mailbox Monday (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch.  December’s host is Rose City Reader.

***The Mailbox Monday poll found that most bloggers preferred the Mailbox Monday blog to be the permanent home for the meme beginning in January.***

The meme allows bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received:

1.  You Disappear: A Novel by Christian Jungersen from the publisher Nan A. Talese, sold by Random House.

Mia is an elementary schoolteacher in Denmark, while her husband, Frederik, is the talented, highly respected headmaster of a local private school. During a vacation in Spain, Frederik has an accident and his visit to the hospital reveals a brain tumor that is gradually altering his personality, confirming Mia’s suspicions that her husband is no longer the man he used to be. Now she must protect herself and their teenage son, Niklas, from the strange, blunted being who lives in her husband’s body—and with whom she must share her home, her son, and her bed.

When it emerges that one year ago Frederik had defrauded his school of millions of crowns, the consequences of his condition envelope the entire community. Frederick’s apparent lack of concern doesn’t help, and longstanding friendships with colleagues are thrown by the wayside. Increasingly isolated, Mia faces more tough questions. Had his illness already changed him back then when he still seemed so happy? What are the legal ramifications?

2. Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell from Anna and her family for Christmas!

Dexter Yates leads a charmed existence in London, with money, looks, and girlfriends galore. Life’s fantastic until Dex’s sister dies and his world changes overnight. Astonishing everyone, including himself, Dex leaves the city behind, takes charge of his eight-month-old niece Delphi, moves to a beautiful Cotswolds village, and sets about working on his parenting skills. His neighbors, including cartoonist Molly Hayes, seem friendly enough—but Dex can’t shake the notion that he’s missing something important.

3.  Vietnam: The Real War introduced by Pete Hamill from Anna and her family for Christmas!

To cover the Vietnam War, the Associated Press gathered an extraordinary group of superb photojournalists in its Saigon bureau, creating one of the great photographic legacies of the 20th century. Collected here are images that tell the story of the war that left a deep and lasting impression on American life. These are pictures that both recorded and made history, taken by unbelievably courageous photojournalists. In a moving essay, writer Pete Hamill, who reported from Vietnam in 1965, celebrates their achievement.

As we begin to look back from the vantage point of half a century, this is the book that will serve as a photographic record of the drama and tragedy of the Vietnam War.

What did you receive?