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Interview with Jill Mansell

As everyone knows, my go-to author for hilarious fun in the Britain is Jill Mansell.  Her books never fail to make me laugh, cry, or just have a great time as her heroines go on adventures that change their lives — whether its a new career, like in Rumor Has It, or finding the Mr. Right, like in Take a Chance on Me.  Her characters are always fresh and quirky, generally naive about themselves and where they are going, and always fun to have at a party.

Her latest U.S. release is A Walk in the Park, in which Lara Carson returns home to Bath after leaving her boyfriend Flynn and her family 18 years ago without a word.  You can bet their will be secrets to uncover and blundering around, making Lara’s return a little less smooth than she might expect.  There is a reason that I am a self-proclaimed Mansell junkie, and these story lines are just one reason.  To find out more about why I adore this author and her books, check out the interview:

If there were one genre that you would write other than your current women’s fiction, what would it be and why?  Have you ever tried to write in it before?  How did it go?

Do you know, I never have tried any other genre. Sometimes we just have an instinct for what we’re good at and it seems to make sense to stick to it. When I first started writing I did try category romance (Harlequin) because I thought they might be easy. Needless to say, they weren’t! I sent off a few and the reasons for rejection were always that there was too much humour in them and not enough sustained emotional depth. In the end I gave up and wrote the kind of books I would like to read myself…and that’s how I got my first publishing contract. The term chicklit hadn’t been invented back then!

You’re forthcoming release in the United States is A Walk in the Park.  How does the publishing process in the U.S. differ from others?  How did you go about getting books published in other countries?  What’s the lag time between when a book comes out in England to when it comes out elsewhere?

The time lag varies according to the publisher but Sourcebooks is aiming to catch up with the UK next year and also bring out another of my older books in the US. It’s always entertaining, receiving a long list of British words from my editor that need to be ‘translated’ into American before the book can go to press. We definitely speak a different language! Getting published in other countries is all down to my agent and her sub-agents around the world. It’s brilliant going along to the London Book Fair each year and meeting some of the other agents and publishers from all over.

Who are some up-and-coming writers that readers should be on the look out for?

I’m not reading much fiction, but two books this year by writers new to me have absolutely blown me away.

John Green is a YA author, but this is a book for everyone — The Fault in Our Stars. Astonishing and emotional.

I adored this one too, Wonder by RJ Palacio. Just an amazing, incredible book.

I also loved The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne, which is great fun and a real feel-good read. I always love Hester Browne’s books.

Many writers these days are being told to market their own books through Websites and social media. What’s been your experience? Do you have any tips for others?

Well, it’s entirely my UK publisher’s fault that I’m on Twitter – they asked me to give it a try and I told them I would HATE it. But they insisted, so I gave it a go and within a couple of days I was hooked. I love it so much I’d far rather chat away on Twitter than write my books, which probably wasn’t what they had in mind…

But I think the reason it is working for me is because I do enjoy it and I’m not just endlessly plugging my own work. I very rarely do, in fact. I find relentless self-promotion from others a huge turn-off and it actually makes me LESS inclined to try a new author’s work. I would far rather think for myself how interesting/fun/nice they are, then quietly buy their book.

So the moral of the story is…just have fun and enjoy yourself. The ability to cyber-meet people all over the world is such a magical gift, why spoil it?

Just for fun, what television shows or music are you enjoying or find inspirational?

Well, inspiration can come from anywhere so I feel it’s my duty to watch lots of TV, all in the name of research. I’m getting into Strictly Come Dancing – our version of Dancing With the Stars. Still watching American Idol and UK’s X Factor but maybe starting to get a teeny bit bored with them now. The revelation this year for us in the UK has been the Olympics followed by the even more amazing Paralympics. We had masses of TV coverage and beforehand many people wondered if the Paralympics would be able to match up. Well, I know there was very little coverage of it in the US but let me tell you, it was BRILLIANT, completely life-enhancing and even MORE enthralling and inspirational than the Olympics. It has genuinely changed the view of the nation with regard to physical disability. The paralympic athletes have become superstars and we love every last one of them – our Superhumans. Inspiration-wise, who could ask for more?

Thanks, Jill, for answering my questions.  Your books are always a blast.

Past reviews:

If you’d like to win a copy of A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell, please leave a comment here.  Deadline is Nov. 20, 2012 at 11:59PM EST  (US/Canada residents Only)

A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell

A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell is another engaging story about love and coming together as a family.  Lara Carson is forced to leave home at the age of 16 and returns to Bath 18 years later for her father’s funeral.  Things have changed drastically, but Evie is still the warm friend she remembers.  Lara believes she’s prepared to deal with the past, but when Flynn Erskine arrives unexpectedly her feelings nearly overcome her.  Not only does she owe the two most important people from her past an explanation, but she also has secrets she has to reveal — secrets that Flynn and Evie may not be ready for.

Mansell’s characters are always quirky, and there is no absence of that here, from Lara’s strong Aunt Nettie in Keswick to Don the jewelry shop owner in Bath.  While many of these characters are looking for love, denying that they are looking for love, or hoping to fall out of love with a cad, Mansell quietly addresses the fear that still haunts gays who have not come out of the closet, single-parenting obstacles, and how secrets can topple families.

Meanwhile, Lara is blindly making decisions that are best for her daughter, Gigi, but she refuses to look around her to see how her decisions affect herself and others.  She’s also busy trying to make love matches for her aunt and friends, at the same time she’s struggling to ignore her own passionate feelings for Flynn — her former teenage boyfriend.  Life and love is anything but a walk in the park for Lara and her friends, especially when the death of Lara’s mother raises questions about her mother’s faithfulness and about where she got the money to buy the family home.

Readers will note there are a variety of subplots, and while they are successfully concluded, there are some that felt a little rushed, which may be partially due to the multitude of characters Mansell creates.  Mansell novels are full of romance and flirty fun, but this one has some serious notes and a more mature set of story lines.  With a mother-in-law from hell and the outrageous behavior of rap star EnjaySeven, A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell is a literary soap opera that leaps off the pages and makes readers thank their lucky stars their lives are less complicated.

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.

Mailbox Monday #190

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is 5 Minutes for Books.

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.  Skeleton Women by Mingmei Yip, for a TLC Book Tour in September.

2.  The Vampire Diaries Stefan’s Diaries Vol. 5 The Asylum, which I ordered with a gift certificate I had for my birthday from Barnes & Noble, though two other books I ordered have not arrive yet.

3.  I’m Just Sayin! by Kim Zimmer (Guiding Light’s Reva Shayne!) and Laura Morton for review from Penguin.

4. A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell for review in November.

5. Ladybug Girl book and doll set by Jacky Davis and David Soman, which I ordered with my giftcard.

What did you receive?

Nadia Knows Best by Jill Mansell

In Nadia Knows Best by Jill Mansell, the Kinsella family is far from conventional with a mother, Leonie who skips out on her husband and two daughters, Nadia and Clare, and drops another daughter, Tilly, off with her former husband James years later.  Living with their high-brow grandmother, Miriam, Nadia and Clare are mostly well-adjusted young women sorting out their own lives, while their youngest sister, Tilly, is just 13 and still looking for her place in the family.

With Mansell readers know their will be misunderstandings, false-starts, romance, and comedy, but as with the last few books, there are moments of seriousness as well.  Nadia and Laurie have known each other for years and become a couple just as his career as a model begins to take off, prompting Laurie to sever ties and branch out to America and leave Nadia devastated.  Her chance meeting with Jay Tiernan, a hot man in the real-estate biz, a year ago still gets her heart beating fast, but it’s unlikely that they will meet again . . . until they do.  If that weren’t enough fodder for romance and mishap, Mansell introduces Clare and her shockingly narcissistic boy toy Piers, plus James, their father, finds himself popping into the same newsstand not just to pick up Tilly after work but to see Annie every day without saying a word.

“‘D’you have a brush in there?’ Piers nodded at the beaded clutch bag on her lap.

‘Yes, do you want to borrow it?’

‘I meant for you.’  He sounded amused.  ‘I prefer your hair down.'” (page 121 ARC)

Unlike Nadia who is honest and cognizant of how everyone feels, Clare is clearly unashamed to ask for what she wants, especially when it comes to selling her paintings.  Even as her relationship with Piers goes rocky, she’s still got her eyes open for the next big catch and on the next rich person to sell her paintings too.  She’s very shameless.  Nadia being the good sister tries to tamp down her sister’s enthusiasm, but at the same time, she’s also the peacekeeper in the family when Leonie resurfaces and wants Tilly to move home with her and her latest man, who has a daughter about the same age.

Despite the varied characters and numerous story lines, the main focus is Nadia who is caring for others almost through the entire book even after she’s dumped by Laurie.  Although the relationship with Laurie ends in the expected way, there are some loose ends that aren’t as neatly tied up as readers may expect, leaving Laurie in a positive light in Nadia’s eyes despite his less than stellar behavior.  There are fits and starts to many of these relationships, as the family members try to navigate their own lives and the drama with the disappearing-reappearing Leonie and other family drama, but it all works well in a complex roller-coaster ride that will keep readers turning the pages.

Nadia Knows Best by Jill Mansell is about taking a gamble, leaping into the unknown and finding out that sometimes there are good surprises in the deep end of the pool.  Mansell’s characters are charming, witty, and fun, but they’re also dynamic and flawed, which will keep readers coming back for more.

Mailbox Monday #166

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is the Metro Reader.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow 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 this week:

1.  The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins, which I won from Mailbox Monday.

She spies for General Washington, betrays the Redcoats and battles for America’s independence…

It’s 1777, and a fledgling country wages an almost hopeless struggle against the might of the British Empire. Brought together by a fateful kiss, Anne Merrick and Jack Hampton are devoted to each other and to their Patriot cause. As part of Washington’s daring network of spies, they are ready and willing to pay even the ultimate price for freedom.

From battlefields raging along the Hudson, to the desperate winter encampment at Valley Forge and through the dangerous intrigue of British-occupied Philadelphia, Anne and Jack brave the trials of separation, the ravages of war and an unyielding enemy growing ever more ruthless.

For love and for country, all is put at risk-and together the pair must call upon their every ounce of courage and cunning in order to survive.

2.  The Music in Her Mind by Robert Gilkes, which I received from the publisher Winged Lion.

In June 1945, Colonel Alexander Litchfield is an exhausted war-torn officer, tormented by nightmares of the inhuman acts he has committed. In the last days of the war he takes the surrender of a vast army of Cossacks escaping from the Russians.

Among them is Larisa Korsakova, a concert cellist with whom he had an idyllic love affair in Paris before the war. High in the Alpine forest above the POW camp they escape from the horrors they have endured into their irresistible passionate desire for each other… Until Lara is handed over to the Soviets.

3. You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake by Anna Moschovakis, which I received from the Academy of American Poets and won the 2011 James Laughlin Award.

A sharp-witted investigation of love, work, and human responsibility in the age of consumption and hyperexposure.

“[Moschovakis’] poems illuminate, amuse, and provoke. Plato would have loved them.”—Ann Lauterbach

In a world where we find “everything helping itself / to everything else,” Anna Moschovakis incorporates Craigslist ads, technobabble, twentieth-century ethics texts, scientific research, autobiographical detail, and historical anecdote to present an engaging lyric analysis of the way we live now. “It’s your life,” she tells the reader, “and we have come to celebrate it.”

4. Nadia Knows Best by Jill Mansell, which I received for review from Sourcebooks in May.

Nadia Kinsella meets Jay Tiernan after plowing her car into a snowdrift. When they end up stranded for the night in a rural pub, the attraction between them flares. But Nadia already has a boyfriend, and she’s not a one-night-stand kind of girl. When Nadia and her boyfriend break up months later, she bumps into Jay again. They start working together on a joint venture, but now it’s Jay’s turn to be otherwise involved…

5. All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith, which I received for review from Sourcebooks in June.

Armed with only a suitcase and dozens of copies of Austen’s novels, professor Amy Elizabeth Smith took to the road and organized book clubs in six different Central and South American countries. Along the way, she battled through a life-threatening illness, discovered friendship and love, and learned more about life-and the power of Austen-than she ever could have imagined. All Roads Lead to Austen celebrates the wisdom of letting go and becoming, no matter what our age.

What did you receive this week?

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.

Mailbox Monday #136 and Library Loot #6

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch.  This month our host is A Sea of Books.  Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailboxmeme.  Both of these memes allow 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 this week:

1.  To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell for review in September from Sourcebooks.

2.  Out of Breath by Blair Richmond for review in October.

3.  Mr. Darcy's Undoing by Abigail Reynolds from Sourcebooks for review in October.

4.  Mr. Darcy's Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen from Sourcebooks for review in October.

5. Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey from Random House for review in the fall.

Library Loot:

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

1.  Now You See Her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

2.  Sugar in My Bowl by Erica Jong

What did you receive this week?

Staying at Daisy’s by Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell continues to be one of the best writers of witty women’s fiction.  In Staying at Daisy’s, the hotel business is never dull even in a tourist trap like Colworth, England, particularly if the owner and his daughter are running the show.  Daisy is straight-laced and in charge, while her father, Hector, continues to sing and dance with the guests and be the life of the party.  Daisy’s best friend Tara, the chambermaid, continues to struggle with her love life and falls into a familiar role with a past lover, while the new porter, Barney, has fallen in love with a woman from Daisy’s past.  Mix it all together with two desirable men, Josh and Dev, and Staying at Daisy’s is bound to lighten readers’ moods and ensure at least a dozen laughs and smirks.

“‘Which just goes to show how brilliant my choice is when it comes to men.’

He half smiled.  ‘That’s not true.  You used to have excellent taste.’

‘Whereas you went for quantity rather than quality.’  Daisy couldn’t resist teasing him.  ‘Anyway, never mind all that.  How long are you down here for?’

Josh shrugged and ruffled his hair.  ‘I’m easy.’

‘We already know that.'”  (Page 167 of ARC)

Daisy has always been on the lookout for the perfect man . . . her #10 even when she was dating a great guy.  Ironically, her husband may have looked like a #10, but his personality was far from it.  Her foil in terms of dating and relationships, Tara, goes for any man that pays her the least bit of attention, even if he is a scoundrel and already married.  In a way, Daisy’s father, Hector, also acts as a foil to her responsible nature as he gets drunk and serenades the guests with his not-so-great singing voice and his bagpipes.  Daisy can learn a lot from Tara and Hector.  She needs to loosen up and let her hair down, but she plays things close to the vest.

Mansell keeps you guessing with Daisy and Hector with Daisy waffling between her two male interests and Hector not letting on which woman he prefers.  Staying at Daisy’s is a novel that will take you into the country and show you its lighter side amidst the fashionable and elite.  Readers, however, may find that certain events or moments come to pass that seem a little “too convenient” and yet random.  Overall, Mansell creates fun characters that will keep you guessing and laughing.

***Please stop by Reading Frenzy for today’s National Poetry Month Blog Tour stop on Dylan Thomas.

Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell‘s Take a Chance on Me is another romp in England with some outrageous characters from the chauffeur Cleo Quinn to teenager Georgia Summers.  Set in Channings Hill, Cleo has been unlucky in love for a long time, but she’s had dreams of meeting Mr. Right for a long time, so long as he meets her expectations set by her sister Abbie’s marriage to Tom.  Johnny LaVenture, a former classmate and now famous sculpture, was the closest to her dream boy until he asked her out on a bet in high school and ruined her impressions of him forever.

The drama in this novel is over the top, but engaging.  Each character is quirkier than the last, but each is endearing to readers in their own special way.  Cleo is often helping her friends find their true love while sitting on the sidelines, and for too much of the book, she seems to be the supporting character.  However, readers soon discover that she is the glue that holds this madcap bunch together and keeps them rolling.

“He was looking smarter than usual in a dark suit and with his habitually wayward black hair combed back from his forehead.  For a split second, he glanced to the left and their eyes met, prompting a Pavlovian jolt of resentment in her chest.  She couldn’t help it; old habits die hard.  Then Johnny looked away, carried on past, and took his place between his ancient aunts in the front pew.”  (page 3 of ARC)

Despite her disastrous love life, Cleo manages to help her DJ friend Ash snag his dream girl, repair her sister’s marriage, and help Johnny meet the needs of his aunt.  Mansell has a gift for witty dialogue and creating characters who are memorable and that you love to hate.  Georgia is forthright to a fault, and Fia fawns too heavily over Johnny, but eventually even these characters mellow and stabilize.  Another fun, quirky winner from Mansell.  Take a Chance on Me is more than a fun chicklit novel, dealing with not only promiscuity, alcoholism, shyness, and childhood trauma, but also finding oneself, learning to stand on your own, and learning to love without fear.

***Thanks to Sourcebooks and Jill Mansell for sending me a copy for review.***

Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell‘s Rumor Has It departs somewhat from the romantic comedies she’s written previously in that it tackles tough issues of acceptance, compassion, and tragedy.  Mansell has a writing style that will make readers stand up and pay attention as well as fall of their chairs in laughter.

“Normally she could shave her legs without incident in two minutes flat, but tonight — OK, probably because she’d given herself half a dozen razor cuts and the shower had ended up looking like the one in Psycho.  Then, having stubbed her tow against the chest of drawers in the bedroom, she’d managed to drop the hairdryer on her other foot.”  (page 67 of ARC)

“‘Bloody hell,’ complained Max, just home from a meeting with a client in Bristol.  ‘You’d think I was threatening you with a night in a torture chamber having your ribs cracked without anesthetic.'”  (page 133 of ARC)

Tilly Cole leaves London for Roxborough when her live-in boyfriend abandons their apartment when she’s at work.  She becomes a “Girl Friday” for a suburban family led by an interior designer, Max Dineen.  She’s thrilled to have an out and to be near her friend Erin.

Tilly has sworn off men and is prepared to step into her role as Girl Friday until she meets Jack Lucas, a man with a severe reputation as a philanderer.  He’s to die for, but he should be ignored because all he does is break women’s hearts.  Tilly fights her passion for him on many occasions, but Mansell does not get overly melodramatic with the love triangles she creates.  In fact, she uses humor to illustrate the social ineptitude of her characters.

“But since he wasn’t stupid, he couldn’t really think that.  The chemistry between them was inescapable; there was a crackling electricity in the air that only a turnip could miss.”  (page 219 of ARC)

From down-to-earth Tilly to her loyal friend Erin and conceited Stella, Mansell creates a cast of characters who are fun to watch and be around.  At times, they make stupid decisions, but doesn’t everyone?  Rumor Has It has everything you need in a beach read, a quick read, and a moment of entertainment on a train ride.  Mansell is a fantastic comedic writer, but she also has the skill to deal with more tragic topics such as death and trying to fit in knowing that you are a social outsider.

Thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of Rumor Has It for review.  If you pick up a copy to read, you’ll probably notice a quote from my blog on the back.

New Interviews With Jill Mansell, Garth Stein, Lynn Levin

I’ve been a busy bee over at D.C. Literature Examiner, interviewing fiction authors and poets.

Jill Mansell took time out of her blog tour schedule to answer a few questions about her latest U.S. invastion, Perfect Timing (click on for my review).

Jill talked about the book, her inspiration, her writing, and her reading habits.  Check out her interview, here and here.

I’ve also had the pleasure of interviewing Garth Stein (Photo Credit:  Frank Huster), the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain (click for my review).

You can find out what Garth’s working on now, what he’s reading, and his obsessions.  I also asked a bunch of questions about Enzo and his narration of The Art of Racing in the Rain.  Check out the interview here and here.

Most recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing poet Lynn Levin, author of Fair Creatures of an Hour (click for my review).

We discussed her collection, her obsessions, and her latest reads.  From John Keats and how he inspired her collection’s title to other poets that have influenced her, Levin clearly knows her poetry and her passions.  Check out that interview here and here.

Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell

I’m now a Jill Mansell junkie!  Perfect Timing is an ironic title for this British chicklit novel because nothing is perfectly timed in this novel, from Poppy’s last minute decision to jilt her fiance hours before their wedding to finding her biological father after years of not knowing she wasn’t living with him.

“‘The thing is,’ Poppy prevaricated, ‘my room’s only tiny.’

‘And who am I, two-ton Tess? All I’m asking for is a bit of floor space.’  Dina was wheedling now.  ‘I’ll sleep under the bed if it makes you happier.  In the bath, even.'”  (Page 106 of ARC)

Poppy Dunbar is a twenty-something mess of a girl, who thinks she has her life figured out until she meets Tom at a bar during her bachelorette party.  After giving Rob the brush off, she packs up and moves from Bristol to London to start her life over and to find her biological father.  She works two jobs, lands a room in a house with a famous painter Caspar French and a haughty socialite Claudia Slade-Welch, but seems content.

“‘Try patches.  They worked for my agent and he was a twenty-a-dayman.’

Only a lifelong non-smoker, Rita thought affectionately, could think twenty-a-day was a lot.

‘I was a fifty-a-day woman.’  She looked depressed.  ‘Anyway, why d’you suppose I’m wearing long sleeves? I’ve already got a week’s supply slapped all over me.  Underneath this dress I look like Mr. Blobby.'”  (Page 391 of ARC)

Mansell’s writing style draws readers quickly into the drama as they watch Poppy grow, mature, and find her center.  The dialogue between Poppy, Caspar, Claudia, and Poppy’s boss, Jake, will have readers laughing out loud on their transit commutes, in their bedrooms, on their sofas, or wherever they happen to read.

Poppy is a disaster, but so are Caspar, Claudia, and Jake.  It’s a wonder they ever get it together in this book.  Some of the funniest scenes are when Jake leaves Poppy along to bid at auctions and estate sales.  Readers will enjoy how easily Poppy takes leaps into the unknown and how blind she is to the love and family she has in front of her.  Mansell has another winner with Perfect Timing.

Additionally, I would like to thank Jill Mansell and Sourcebooks for sending me a free copy of Perfect Timing for review.  Clicking on title links will bring you to my Amazon Affiliate page, no purchase necessary.