Wednesday, 24 February 2016

5* Review: You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

On the morning of Lily's twenty-fifth birthday, it's time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.
Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum's life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie's attentions.
Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily's friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again...

I had a feeling before I started to read this latest offering from Jill Mansell that it might be a bit of a tearjerker - a bit depressing, but no! It's absolutely not at all. Although the story is based on the tale of Lily, a young woman on her twenty fifth birthday who has just received the last of her birthday letters that her dying mother penned to her, that is only really a very small part of the book. It is more based on the living and the life that has been constructed for Lily around the lovely Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, and the friends that have been there for her whilst growing up.

Coral was her mother's best friend at uni and has brought Lily up as her own after the untimely death of Jo when Lily was small, and even after she was widowed herself when her husband died. She has provided a loving home and job for Lily in the antiques yard in the village.

Then there's Patsy, Lily's old babysitter who is around ten years older than Lily, the two have grown more like best friends over the years and Patsy runs the village salon. She is divorced and faces several (often really laugh-out-loud) dating disasters.

There's Dan, the boy Lily has loved since childhood but has kept her feelings well hidden as he is somewhat of a Casanova, and Lily does not just want to be another notch...and several other villagers who form the fabric of Lily's life, which is steady and somewhat boring...until the day she finds Eddie Tesslar, famous and gorgeous Hollywood star hiding out in the village.

You and Me, Always really is a lovely light read to lose yourself in. It isn't the usual boy-meets-girl romance, it does have depth, light and a lot of humour, but essentially is it a well written feel good read, perfect to curl up with on the weekend. The characters - though there are a lot - are easy to get to know and follow, the dialogue is good and the situations that crop up along the way really are funny. 

A highly recommended read for fans of this genre!

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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