Millie’s Fling by Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell has surpassed herself once again in Millie’s Fling. Chicklit and women’s fiction readers will enjoy this spontaneous journey in Cornwall, England.

“Having ignored his plea, Millie promptly cannoned into the lamp-post behind her. Clutching her left shoulder and trying to pretend it hardly hurt at all–ow, ouch–she wondered why her life had to so closely resemble Mr. Bean’s. What she wouldn’t give to be sleek and chic and in control at all times.” (Page 108-9 of ARC)

Millie is a down-to-earth girl, whose life is a bit like Mr. Bean’s because she tends to fall into ridiculous situations unwittingly. Her roomie, Hester, is in a long-term relationship with an up-and-coming chef, Nat, but still has a flamethrower burning for an old love, Lucas Kemp. Millie’s Fling is the age-old search for love and happiness, but this serendipitous journey is rounded out with Orla Hart, a highly successful author with marital problems whom Millie befriends atop a cliff.

Happily single, Millie consistently tries to keep her roomie on the right relationship track since Hester’s boyfriend has taken a job in Glasgow to further his career as a chef. By chance, Millie stumbles upon a lost wallet in the bushes–a wallet that becomes the tie between her and Hugh Emerson, a young recently widowed computer specialist. Readers will giggle, tense up, and shake their heads as Hugh and Millie fumble through getting to know one another under impossible circumstances.

“‘Two more things I can’t stand,’ said Hugh. ‘Violent women. And girls who can’t take a joke.’

‘I hate men who wear nasty cheap aftershave.’

‘What really annoys me is getting phone calls from people putting on ridiculous accents, asking me the answer to crossword clues.’

‘That isn’t true!’ Millie exclaimed. ‘You asked me to give you the clues. You were bursting to show off how clever you were. And that’s something I really can’t stand in a man.'” (Page 398 of ARC)

Mansell’s dialogue between Millie and Hugh is fresh and witty; some of the best sequences involve them rattling off their favorite words or their most hated things about people, particularly at times when they are awkward with one another. Although there are some cliche moments in this novel, Mansell has well-developed characters on the edge of reality who bounce dialogue off one another in a way that makes the pages fly in Millie’s Fling.

If you missed Mansell’s guest post about writing, check it out and enter the giveaway for this fun book.

Guest Post: Jill Mansell, Author of Millie’s Fling

Millie’s Fling, which hit stores on Sept. 1, continues Jill Mansell’s invasion of the U.S. market and stars kind hearted Millie and her friend Hester, as they search for love.

Jill Mansell, author of Millie’s Fling, offered to share with my readers a bit about her writing life. Please give Jill a warm welcome:

Have you ever wondered what a writer’s life is like? Honestly, it’s so weird. There’s nothing else like it. So many mundane household tasks. If you didn’t talk to yourself you’d go mad. Just this morning I dropped a pan of new potatoes on the kitchen floor; they went rolling off in all directions and I heard myself shouting at them like naughty children. I actually told them off! Twenty minutes later, I’m trying to scrub mustard out of an empty jar because all our glass has to be recycled to save the environment. Now I like the environment, but I hate mustard. This is a distressing job for me and I’d much rather throw the jar in the trash. Spending my time doing this isn’t remotely glamorous and I’d far rather be sitting down and getting on with some work.

Then again, I say this, but I’m a writer so I’m also a professional procrastinator. Once all the mundane household chores are done, I can find any number of other things to do before settling down to write. I check the TV listings, see what’s on. Then I have some breakfast. Check my emails. Chat to everyone I know on Twitter. (My British publishers suggested I start up a Twitter account – I think they’re going to live to regret it. My writing time hasn’t so much decreased as evaporated. In a few months they’re going to ask where the next book is and I’ll point like a simpleton at my head.) Then I check the blogs I like to follow, the links posted on them… which takes me to new, as yet undiscovered places that distract me for another hour…

And then it’s lunchtime, hooray! All this serious research has made me hungry.

After this, I’ll sort out the washing, try out my new mascara (an oscillating one that tickles my eyelashes!) and repaint my toenails. Whilst contemplating what I’m shortly about to write. Soon my kids will be home from school and wanting something to eat, only nothing I suggest will be quite good enough.

OK, done a bit of writing now. Not as much as my publishers would like, but better than nothing. And you know what they say, a page a day makes a book a year. Actually I write by hand so whoever said it was either talking about a very thin book or they didn’t get their sums right.

Ooh, phone, that’ll be my daughter telling me to pick her up from school. Which signals the end of my working day.

Am I doing something wrong? I’m sure Jackie Collins’ life is more glamorous than this.

But glamorous or not, I’ve managed to write a few books and Millie’s Fling is one that’s been particularly welcomed by readers in the UK. It’s fun and frothy and will hopefully make you laugh. I hope you enjoy it!

About the Author:
Jill Mansell is one of the UK’s premiere contemporary authors who has written nearly 20 romances with multi-generational appeal and has sold nearly 4 million copies of her books in the UK. Releasing her latest novel this Fall, Millie’s Fling, Mansell’s writing style can be best described as Sex & the City meets Bridget Jones’s Diary.” She worked for many years at the Burden Neurological Hospital, Bristol, and now writes full time. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England. For more information on Jill in the UK, and for information on her U.S. releases.

Sourcebooks has kindly offered my U.S. and Canada readers a chance to win 1 of 2 copies of Millie’s Fling.

1. For one entry, leave me a comment about the best chicklit book you’ve read this year and why I should read it.

2. Blog, tweet, etc. about the giveaway and leave me a comment about doing so.

Deadline for the giveaway is Sept. 11, 2009 at 11:59PM

Good Luck!

Interested in the rest of the tour, here’s the schedule:

August 31: Romance Reader at Heart Novel Thoughts Blog

September 1: A Bookworm’s World

September 2: Booking Mama

September 3: Cindy’s Love of Books

September 7: My Friend Amy

September 8: Night Owl Romance

September 9: Scribe Vibe

September 10: Books by TJ Baff

September 11: Diary of an Eccentric

Miranda’s Big Mistake by Jill Mansell

“‘You can be a bridesmaid if you want.’ Tom’s relief was audible. ‘Dear Florence. So you don’t think I’m making the biggest mistake of my life?’

‘If you’re having fun, how can it be a mistake? The last thing I ordered from a mail-order catalogue was a non-stick saucepan,’ Florence told him, ‘and after a week the bloody handle dropped off.'” (Page 71)

Jill Mansell’s Miranda’s Big Mistake is a rip-roaring good time that will have you guffawing so loudly your friends, your neighbors, and people on the Metro will want to read what your reading.

“Sleety rain dripped down Miranda’s neck as she tipped her head back to drink the lager straight from the bottle. Her short black hair, urchin-cut and currently streaked with dark blue and green low-lights, gleamed like a magpie’s wing.” (Page 13)

Miranda is a junior at Fenn Lomax’s trendy hair salon in London, and her love life is a disaster, but she just doesn’t know it yet. Her landlady, Florence, gets around in a wheelchair and is full of piss and vinegar. Her boss can be demanding, but he’s really a big softie. Miranda’s men–Greg, Miles, and Danny–have her twisting and turning, while love is simmering beneath the surface for Fenn, her flatmate Chloe, and her best friend Bev.

“‘It isn’t a smirk. I never smirk. I’m not dopey either. I just wondered, do you have a girlfriend?’

‘Why, are you offering? All applications for the post in writing, please. Just send a copy of your CV and a brief letter outlining why you feel you’d be the best woman for the job. If you make the short list, you’ll be invited to attend for an interview–‘” (Page 167)

Mansell is adept at crafting in-depth characters with unique personalities and their actions make them even funnier. The sexual tension between Miranda and Miles and Miranda and Danny is electric, leaping off the page to zap readers through the tips of their fingers. Miranda’s Big Mistake not only oozes modern romance, but also sarcasm and wit. The dialogue is sharp and the plot will keep readers moving quickly, keeping them on their toes and cheering Miranda on. Grab a copy of Miranda’s Big Mistake and hit the beach.

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.

Also Reviewed By:

A Bookworm’s World
S. Krishna’s Books
Wendy’s Minding Spot
Cheryl’s Book Nook
Booking Mama
Diary of an Eccentric
Cindy’s Love of Books
Reading Adventures

Check out this giveaway:

1 copy of Holly’s Inbox by Holly Denham, here; Deadline is June 10, 2009, 11:59 PM EST

Interview With Jill Mansell, Author of An Offer You Can’t Refuse

I want to provide a warm welcome to Jill Mansell, who is stopping by Savvy Verse & Wit as part of her tour with Sourcebooks. I had an opportunity to interview her, and she was gracious enough to answer a few questions. If you missed my review of An Offer You Can’t Refuse, check it out.

1. On average from the first word on the page to publication, how long was the process? What tips could you offer aspiring authors about the process?

I spent a while finding my genre, but once I’d decided to write the kind of books I liked to read myself – contemporary women’s fiction with drama and humour – it was fairly straightforward. I was working full time in a hospital and had a hectic social life, so writing was confined to an hour or two whenever I could squeeze it in. It took me two years to write the whole book, about 160,000 words. It was rejected by the first agent I sent it to, who said that too much happened in it. The second agent turned it down, saying that not enough happened in it! The third agent phoned me up and told me she loved the book and knew she could sell it. That was one of the happiest moments of my life and twenty years later she is still my agent.

Tips for writers – experiment with different writing styles until you find the one that suits you best. I’ve tried so many times to write in the first person, but it just doesn’t work for me and I’ve now accepted that I am a third-person writer. Experiment with genres too. I tried to write straight romance but found I couldn’t keep the comedy out of my novels, which was why they were rejected time and time again. My biggest tip is to use a time-line when plotting out your novel. This keeps characters and events under control and stops you getting to the end of the book then realising you’ve left some vital aspect or character out!

2. Most writers will read inspirational/how-to manuals, take workshops, or belong to writing groups. Did you subscribe to any of these aids and if so which did you find most helpful? Please feel free to name any “writing” books you enjoyed most (i.e. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott).

Gosh, I can’t now remember the names of all the how-to-write books I devoured – most of them, probably! We’re always searching for the one that will answer the unanswerable questions, aren’t we? And cast its magic spell! But I attended a local evening class in creative writing and loved it, especially for the camaraderie and the sheer relief of finally meeting other people who had the same urge to write that I did. This was in the days before the internet so I’d never known any other writers before that. We supported each other when the rejection slips arrived and celebrated each other’s successes. Twenty-odd years later, several of us are still in touch and we meet for lunch. Four of us are now published novelists.

3. How do you stay fit and healthy as a writer?

Fit and healthy? Yikes! I’m lucky in that I don’t do much at all but so far I seem to be surviving. I eat a lot of junk while I’m writing (by hand, with my Harley Davidson fountain pen, in big writing pads.) I sit on my sofa with my feet up on the coffee table and the TV on (for research purposes.) I joined a gym a couple of years ago but never found it enjoyable and ended up making more and more elaborate excuses as to why I couldn’t get there.

4. Do you have any obsessions that you would like to share?

Writing obsessions? Or general ones like: Can’t eat two biscuits, it has to be three? OK, I plan my books initially in beautiful leather-bound decorative notebooks and my handwriting while I’m doing this is completely different to my normal handwriting. I don’t plan the whole book in advance, just a certain amount, enough to start the ball rolling. I have several beautiful fountain pens I use for my novels. My mum used to type my books for me and now my daughter is doing it. (Not out of love, I hasten to add. I have to pay her.) I can’t compose fiction onto a screen – it has to flow out of the end of the pen for me. I write the story first and divide it up into chapters afterwards. Oh, and there’s still nothing lovelier than starting a fat, pristine, brand new writing pad!

5. Please describe your writing space and how it would differ from your ideal writing space.

I write in our living room when I have the house to myself. Big room, red painted walls, French windows leading out onto the garden with sports fields beyond, so I can hear the sports being played while I’m working. If the kids are home from school they banish me upstairs to the bedroom, which is also rather beautiful. There, I sit up in bed to work and have an uninterrupted view of the sportsmen playing soccer, tennis, and cricket in the sports fields over our fence. It’s a tough job, this writing business.

What kind of view would I choose if I could have anything? Exactly the same, but with snow-capped mountains in the distance. I love mountains but sadly we don’t have any in this corner of England. A surfing beach would be pretty cool too. With plenty of fit surfers. Could you arrange that for me? Thanks so much!

6. What current projects are you working on and would you like to share some details with the readers?

I’ve had twenty books published here in the United Kingdom, but I’m just starting out in the United States. The next one to come out over in America is one of my absolute favourites – it’s called Miranda’s Big Mistake and has made more readers laugh and cry than almost any of the others. (I do love making people cry!) Set in London, England, this book features a hairdresser, a journalist who passes himself off as a street beggar, and the world’s most irresistible racing driver. Miranda’s Big Mistake will be in stores in June!

So this has been me. I do hope you’ll look out for my book, An Offer You Can’t Refuse. If you enjoy sparky, feel-good fiction, give my work a try. Fingers crossed, you might like it. I do hope so!

Thanks again, Jill, for stopping by Savvy Verse & Wit, and sharing your thoughts with us about your writing process and obsessions. Good Luck with your U.S. publications.


Sourcebooks has offered 1 copy of Jill Mansell’s An Offer You Can’t Refuse to one lucky U.S. or Canadian reader.

All you have to do is comment on this post with something other than “pick me” or “enter me.”

If you missed the review, you can leave a comment there for another entry.

Deadline is April 11, Midnight EST.

An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell

I received my ARC of Jill Mansell’s An Offer You Can’t Refuse from Sourcebooks for review.

An Offer You Can’t Refuse is witty, charming, engaging, and Chicklit to the max.

“‘I didn’t know reading could be like that, I had no idea. I’ve just never been a booky person. All these years I’ve been missing out.’

‘Ah, but now you’ve seen the light.’ . . . ‘You’ve become one of us. Welcome to our world; you’re going to love it here.'” (Page 100)

For a reviewer this was a treat to find in a book, this is definitely how many of us feel about books and reading, and reading these lines instantly cemented my attention to this book.

Lola is a young girl in love with a boy, Dougie, whose family is wealthy and whose mother hates her guts. His mother makes her an offer that she can’t refuse, so she takes it and says goodbye to the love of her life in a “Dear John” letter. Fast-forward to the present day and we find Lola has grown up physically, but still wears the same teenage, low-cut clothes and finds herself being mistaken for a prostitute when she walks into London bookstore after living in Majorca for about a decade. Eventually, Lola becomes more grounded and is the bookshop manager, but just as she thinks her life is stabilizing and in a good place, things get all topsy-turvy again.

This novel starts off in Lola’s past, but readers may find that more background is necessary, particularly where her relationship with Dougie is concerned. The only drawback of this novel, which really isn’t one, is that Lola’s story is pushed to the sidelines quite a bit as the Sally’s story takes center stage. However, Mansell carefully weaves the narration back to Lola and the resolution of her story. Readers may want to see more of Dougie, since he is one of the main characters but does not share equal narrative footing with the other narrators: Lola, Sally, and Lola’s friend Gabe.

“Aloud she said, ‘I’m guessing you don’t go into many bookshops.’

‘Me? No way.’ Proudly the boy said, ‘Can’t stand reading, waste of time. Hey, fancy a drink?’

‘No thanks. Can’t stand drinking, waste of time.’

He looked shocked. ‘Really?’

‘Not really. But drinking with you would be a huge waste of time.’ Lola excused herself and made her way over to the bar where Gabe, whose leaving party it was, was chatting to a group of friends from work.” (Page 37, 38)

Mansell’s writing is engaging, and though some of her characters, like Lola and Dougie’s sister Sally, are shallow at first, the complications in their lives force them to look beyond their own lives and come to terms with themselves, their families, and their love lives. Mansell’s An Offer Your Can’t Refuse is recommended for readers who love British humor, chicklit, and are in need of summer reading.

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.


Sourcebooks has offered 1 copy of Jill Mansell’s An Offer You Can’t Refuse to one lucky U.S. or Canadian reader.

All you have to do is comment on this post with something other than “pick me” or “enter me.”

Deadline is April 11, Midnight EST.

Come back tomorrow for my interview with Jill Mansell and another opportunity to enter the giveaway!

Also Reviewed By:
A Bookworm’s World
Diary of an Eccentric
Booking Mama
Book Escape
Reading Adventures