Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell

Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell
Copyright 2010
Sourcebooks - General Fiction
432 pages
Jill Mansell's website

Cleo finally has the perfect boyfriend. He's handsome, sexy and loves her. It just figures that Johnny LaVenture, the boy who accepted a bet that ended up in years of torment for Cleo, is back in town. Can't some people just go away for good? When her job as a limousine driver puts her in Johnny's path, Cleo tries to leave the past behind. But, Johnny is not so easy to ignore, especially when that perfect boyfriend turns out to be quite the opposite of what Cleo expected.

Cleo's sister Abbie is having a rough time, as well. When she finds a letter hidden in a drawer, she suspects her husband's hiding an affair from her. But, after Abbie decides to get back at her cheating husband, she finds out she got it all wrong. And, now what will she say to her husband? He'd never forgive her if he found out . . .

I don't know how Jill Mansell does it; I really don't. I've been reading her books for many years (see my 2004 reads to appreciate a good Jill Mansell Overdose Year) and they are endlessly, unfailingly entertaining. There is no such thing as a typical plotline in a Jill Mansell book. They're all about love and life, getting knocked down and picking oneself up, finding love -- sometimes when it's staring you in the face and you've been skirting around it. But, each is completely unique in its characters and situations. Jill Mansell is a true original and an absolute genius at creating characters a reader simply can't help caring about.

Take a Chance on Me is, at its heart, yet another story of a broken hearts mended and found love. It is a funny, sweet, touching, wonderful story with several flawlessly interwoven plotlines and a magical ending. You will love Cleo, Johnny and the other characters. If you haven't read Jill Mansell, yet, and you like a story that you can believe in, characters you'll adore and a satisfying ending . . . run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore. And, don't fall for the crazy idea that her books are "just romances". Nuh-uh. No way. They're complex stories of relationships -- not just between one couple but more like a dot-to-dot with crossing lines of interconnected relationships, situations and dilemmas.

The bottom line:

A highly recommended story of love, loss, and learning to move beyond the painful hurts of the past.

Just finished reading:

The Human Bobby by Gabe Rotter - Book club material!!! I don't know what I'm going to say about that book. The ending had my head spinning. Also, you can see I'm not helping myself to catch up any, the way I keep finishing books when I'm already so dreadfully far behind on reviews.

But, I'm having fun. On to the next review . . . expect a little brevity (or, maybe you should cross your fingers, pray, or wish for brevity because everyone knows it's not my strong suit).

Spoiler warning: Michele's comment about the ending of The Reapers Are The Angels (in the comment section to this post) contains a potential spoiler, so please skip over her comment if you plan to read The Reapers, etc. soon!


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  1. Mansell's books are so much fun - I need to get hold of this one.

  2. Kathy,

    They are and you do. I can't bear to part with my Jill Mansell books. I think I own about 15, maybe more.

  3. sounds like a wonderful read :-) thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. Marie,

    All of Jill Mansell's books are wonderful reads. You should definitely give her a try, if you haven't already!

  5. Ahhhh....The Human Bobby had me spinning there at the end, too. But then I read (well, listened to on audio) a book by Dennis Lehane that had the same exact ending about a month later. All I could think of was how cheap that Lehane wrote the same thing. Then I looked at publishing dates....Lehane's book (Shutter Island) was published first. Hmmmmmm.

  6. Michele,

    Nooooo. Really? That blows my mind. I suppose two people could independently come up with the same kind of ending, but that does sound fishy, doesn't it?

  7. Jill Mansell3:04 AM

    THank you thank you THANK YOU for possibly the most fabulous review I've ever had - it's so wonderful to know people like you are reading my books!
    Re: the Lehane ending, massive coincidences do occur. I was once asked to provide a cover quote for a book about a 40 year old single mother called Ginny whose only daughter, at 18, was leaving home to go to college. At the time I was in the middle of writing Thinking of You, which was all about a 40 year old single mother called Ginny whose 18 year old daughter was leaving home to go to college...
    Jill xxx

  8. I just love Jill Mansell, especially how sometimes the secondary characters are more interesting and fun than the main characters.

  9. Jill,

    You're very welcome and I'm glad you enjoyed my review so much! As to coincidence in writing . . . good point and thanks for the reminder. I'll bear that in mind (and maybe even mention it) when I write my review of The Human Bobby. Regardless, it's still a mind-blowing novel and a page-turner, so I'll give it a positive review. :)

    Sell a million!


    I so agree with that. She writes the most brilliant sets of characters, always so well-rounded and likable.

  10. Oh, pooh. I read (and loved!) Shutter Island, but now I'll need to wait a long time before I read The Human Bobby since I have a feeling I'll know how it ends. I wonder if you can put a spoiler note on Michele's comment?

    But on to Mansell's books... are they all stand alones? Which would you recommend starting with?

  11. Les,

    I put a note in the text, warning about the spoilery comment. Thanks for mentioning that.

    Jill Mansell's books are all stand alones and it doesn't matter which one you read because they're all terrific. Take a Chance on Me would be a great one to start with. :)

  12. I'll definitely give Take a Chance on Me a try! Mansell's books are quite popular with some of our regulars.

    BTW, your spoiler note (about Michele's comment) was posted in a different review. Did you mean to do that? Just checkin' ;)

  13. Les,

    Oops, nope, that's what staying up late to read does for a gal. I didn't even look to see where her comment was located. I need a 48-hour nap. :) Thanks for letting me know. I can't wait to hear what you think of Take a Chance on Me!!!

  14. Holly,

    All of Jill Mansell's books are good. If you haven't given her a try, you must!

  15. I didn't read your review, just glanced over it because I've been wanting to read one of her books. This post is a great encouragement. Thanks. :) Also, I need to get my hands on The Human Bobby. I've been seeing some great reviews.

  16. Joy,

    This particular review isn't the least spoilery, but I skip over reviews of books I may read, just in case. You just never know when someone's going to inadvertently spill the proverbial beans. You are one of the most unpredictable readers I've ever met, so I can't venture a guess whether or not you'd like Jill Mansell but I can tell you I haven't heard of anyone who was disappointed when I recommended her, yet. Hope you love her writing as much as I do! The Human Bobby flipped me out. I'm still trying to decide what to say and NOT say about it!! :)


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