Wednesday, April 01, 2009

An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell

An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell
Copyright 2009
Sourcebooks - Fiction
408 pages

The first thing you need to know about Jill Mansell is that she is one of Bookfool's all-time favorite authors. I'm telling you this so that you won't run for the hills when I inform you that her books could be classified as "chick lit" (British), romantic fiction, or my favorite wording: "romantic comedy". Just hear me out, okay? Try to suppress your inner book snob.

After many successful years selling books in Great Britain, Mansell's books are finally being published in the U.S. This is a serious wahoo. I used to order them from across the pond, I love her books so much. Eventually, my husband convinced me that I should not continue to regularly pay a fortune in overseas shipping and I placed one last order including basically everything Mansell had ever written that I hadn't already purchased, then rationed the reading of those titles over several years. So, you can imagine how thrilled I am to find that she's finally got a publisher in the United States!

An Offer You Can't Refuse tells the story of Lola and Dougie. The book opens with a prologue; ten years past, they were young and crazy in love. Dougie's mother, however, was worried that Dougie might forego his chance to go to university in Edinburgh because he didn't want to leave his girlfriend behind. Offered money to stop dating Dougie, Lola turned down the ten thousand pounds flat. You can't buy a person out of love. Ridiculous. But, when she returned home to find her beloved stepfather, Alex, packing to escape from thugs who were threatening him over a gambling debt he could not pay, Lola knew what she had to do. She took the money, paid off Alex's debts, wrote a note breaking off her relationship with Dougie and left the country, swearing to Alex that she would never tell a soul how the money had been spent.

There are probably some spoilers in this next paragraph. You have been warned. In hot pink, no less.

Now, Lola has returned home. She's got a nice job managing a bookstore and a great flat. Lola has moved on with her life, although Dougie still holds a place in her heart and all other men she has dated have fallen short by comparison. Then, the unexpected happens. Lola saves a woman from a mugging and is invited to a party in her home as a thank you. The woman turns out to be Dougie's mother, now remarried. Dougie is there, and when he overhears Lola talking about how she accepted money to leave him, he's understandably upset. But, she can't explain, being sworn to secrecy about her now-deceased stepfather's gambling debts. Dead or not, she would never break her promise to Alex. But, now that she's seen Dougie, she knows she wants him back.

I do believe it's safe, now.

There's a lot more to this story than just Lola chasing Dougie after they unexpectedly bump into each other. There are several secondary storylines, some other men to distract Lola and make you wonder whether she'll ever resolve her differences with Dougie or find someone else wonderful, her birth father returning to her life, her mother's new man and Lola's attempt to get her mother to take back her father and ditch the other guy, her neat-nick friend in the flat across the hall and his slob of a tenant. There's never a dull moment in An Offer You Can't Refuse.

What I have always adored about Jill Mansell's books is that her heroines are very wahooey. They tend to be happy-go-lucky optimists, independent and strong, loving but occasionally misguided. They may get into a bind but they figure things out in the end. There are always a lot of smiles in a Mansell book. I hope loads of people will rush out to buy Jill Mansell's first American release because I want her to be a smash hit.

Highly recommended, especially if you're looking for a light, romantic read with a lot of smiles. There are references to sex and a few delicate sex scenes, but they're not overly explicit.

I snatched up an ARC from Sourcebooks. Many thanks to Danielle for the opportunity to read this Jill Mansell title! It's one I didn't already own, you see . . . I have quite a few, still. I can't part with my Mansells.

Did anyone get suckered by some good April Fool's jokes, yesterday? I did. It was actually quite fun. Paperback Swap had a little button that said "Free Credits". I clicked on it and got a good laugh.

Photo of the day: A picture of some azaleas, taken at Mynelle Gardens in Jackson, Mississippi. The dots in the background are water droplets, as this particular azalea bush was next to a fountain. Happy Thursday!


  1. I should finish this one today and I'm really enjoying it!

  2. Kathy,

    Wahoo!! I want everyone to love Mansell's books!!!

  3. I just added her to my wishlist on B&N. Can't wait to read them. I love chick lit.

  4. I love Jill Mansell! LOVE her. I'll have to head over to and pay their rent. Again.

  5. I promise to pretend I am not not a book snob and check out a copy of one of her books to have on hand when I need a light read!

  6. Anonymous11:58 AM

    Well, if you tell me this is a serious wahoo, then I'm seriously wahooing! love the flower pic.

  7. Nikki,

    I think you will love Jill Mansell every bit as much as I do. I'm glad you've added her to your wish list. :)


    Another Jill Mansell fan! Wahoo! I'm so happy to know I'm not the only American who knew about her!


    Yes, that will do. Just pretend, snatch your Mansell and then kick back and enjoy when you're in the mood for something light. Go get 'em. :)


    I can always count on you to wahoo with me! Thank you. I had such fun at the botanical gardens. Must return before it gets hot and nasty.

  8. Mansell sounds like a lot of fun! Love the azalea!

  9. This seems like a perfect beach read. Thanks for the review.

  10. Jenclair,

    Thank you! And, yep. Very fun -- great brain break material.


    Exactly. I never think about "beach reads" because we avoid beaches (I'm more of a mountain girl) but in that case . . . great cabin read. LOL

  11. Wow! You have me intrigued. Do you think it is something I might like?
    And that is a beautiful picture. I have never been there. :)

  12. Brittanie,

    I do believe you would love Jill Mansell. Her heroines are always upbeat and fun-loving. There's some sex, but nothing nasty and no bad language. They're just really sweet, happy romantic stories.

    You've never been to Mynelle Gardens? That was my first time, but wait . . . you live nearby!!!! That's just not right; you should definitely go. It's beautiful and tranquil -- except for the pond, which is kind of brown and revolting, but everything else is great. :)

  13. me too, me too, me too! I absolutely love Jill Mansell with all of my heart! A few years ago, I tried to buy up all her books on ebay. This book just released last year, I think? that's why we didn't have it.

    I also loved it and will post my review next week.

  14. I had read Jill Mansell a number of years ago and liked her books, so when I was offered this I jumped at the opportunity, and I ended up loving it. I am going to be reading more from her backlist!

  15. Amy,

    You know, eBay never even occurred to me. Yes, I think this one was new in the UK in 2008. She hasn't lost her touch. I just love Jill Mansell's books!! I'm glad you share that obsession with me. :)


    I jumped at the chance, too! Fortunately, this first one was a title I haven't read. The next release, Miranda's Big Mistake, is an old favorite of mine. I'm going to dig around to see if I can find my copy. Her books are pretty consistently wonderful. I don't think you can miss by just ordering anything and everything.

  16. Thank you for a new author recommendation. I will definitely look for her!!!

    (Life by Candlelight)

  17. Amy,

    You're welcome!! Save her for when things are driving you nuts and you need something upbeat and light. Mansell's books are a breath of fresh air!

  18. I read so much chick lit but never got to Jill Mansell's books. Darn! Have you ever read anything by Chris Manby? I thought her chick lit was quite fun.

    Anyway, I'm putting this book on my radar because a good fun book is sometimes just what I need :)

  19. Gorgeous photo!

    And speaking of Jackson, Mississippi, I think you'd really enjoy The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It's my current favorite this year.

  20. Iliana,

    Yes! I love Chris Manby!! She's probably my second favorite chick lit author.

    Sometimes you just need a "fun read" break, right? That's what I love about chick lit.


    Thank you!

    I just got a copy of The Help, this week (from Paperback Swap -- good as new!). I'm really anxious to read it because I've heard so many good things, although it will have to stand in line for a while! :)

  21. I loved this one, too. Gabe and Sally were a riot, and I think I actually enjoyed their storyline more than the Lola/Dougie saga. I can't wait to read more from Mansell.

    Diary of an Eccentric


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