My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I’ve been reading Jill Mansell books for years and think I’ve managed to get my hands on almost all at some point. She’s one of my go to authors when I’m looking for a sweet and funny contemporary romance and You and Me, Always is definitely that.
It’s well written, has fairly likeable characters and I will admit there were a couple of moments which were laugh out loud (or frantically cover your mouth so as not to laugh out loud cos you’re on the train) funny. Unfortunately though I think I picked the wrong time to read it as it just felt a bit too “lite” for me. It’s one of those books which is enjoyable at the time but doesn’t really leave a lasting impression.
Synopsis (from GoodReads)
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 was very excited to get a copy of this book as Jill Mansell has always been one of my favourite authors but unfortunately, while I enjoyed it, I felt like it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
Like all of Jill’s books this is very well written, with some great descriptions and dialogue. There is quite a lot packed in as far as plot goes and the story moves along quite quickly. It is a little bit predictable and you know more or less from the start how it will end but it’s an enjoyable enough journey getting there. I did feel like there was maybe a little bit too much going on at times and it might have been better to keep things a little simpler but that could be just me.
My main criticism however was that there were a few bits that seemed a bit clichéd and I’ve seen a lot of the scenes done many times before in books and films. There is the possible romance with a famous person, disastrous internet dating and a few others that I won’t mention due to spoilers. Maybe I’ve just been reading too many romance books but I felt a bit “been there, done that” and as a result there wasn’t much that was particularly memorable or unique.
There is a good mix of characters which I’m sure everyone will be able to relate to or will recognise in one way or another. Main character Lily is particularly likeable. She’s young, full of energy and confidence and despite losing her mum at a young age she’s very positive and doesn’t take life too seriously. I loved her encounters with film star Eddie Tessler and her relationship with childhood friend Dan. The banter and teasing were most definitely the highlights of the book for me.
Unfortunately these were slightly offset by the book having one of my pet peeves. The 30+ year old single woman who is unlucky in love but absolutely desperate to meet someone and have a baby. I’m determined not to go off in a rant over this but let’s just say it’s something that winds me up.
Despite the occasional laugh out loud moment and my personal rage at a certain character I did feel it was a little bit light as far as emotion went. I didn’t feel a spark in any of the romances or much of anything else that I think I was supposed to. I think this may have been due to the book I’d just finished, After You by Jojo Moyes, which was packed with emotion so I’m probably being a little bit harsh but that was my experience. I’m fairly certain other fans of Jill will enjoy it more.
Overall I liked it, I just didn’t love it and I’m not sure I’ll remember it for long.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.