Jill Mansell is a best-selling author of more than 25 romance novels, spanning a career of more than 20 years, and her latest one, ‘You and Me, Always’ is set to be yet another great success.
If you are a fan of Chick-lit and easy reading this needs to be added to your bookshelf.
The Story: You and Me, Always
The pain of losing someone close to you can never be explained or understood by others; everyone grieves in different ways and everyone learns to come to terms with the fact that there will always be a gap where that person once use to be.
Lily, was just a child when she lost her mother. A young girl left all alone with only her mum’s best friend to look after her.
Each birthday since that fateful day, Lily has received a special message from the grave. A poignant birthday gift that her mother lovingly wrote before passing away to share not only how she felt about her but also to give her guidance through her life.
Now, on her 25th Birthday, Lily is aware that this is the last letter. Intentionally or not, this is the last time that she will read anything written by her mother for the first time, so she needs to make it count.
“Hello, my dearest darling girl, and happy happy birthday! You’re twenty-five and I wish you all the love and happiness in the world.” (pg. 21)
This letter is different though. Added to the words on this occasion is a present. One carefully looked after by Coral, the best friend, until this very day.
“…Lily picked up the wrapped present and carefully untied the silver ribbon bow. Over the past seventeen years, the Sellotape had lost it stickiness and acquired a light brown tinge, when she nudged it, it loosened beneath her touch.” (pg.23)
What lies inside, will change Lily’s life forever.
“The bangle was narrow and silver, randomly studded with tiny sparkling stones that were unlikely to be diamonds.” (pg.23)
Along with the bracelet comes a name, Declan Madison, the one-time love of her mum’s life; the one who got away.
So what will she do with this information? Her mother missed an opportunity, one she regretted, will Lily do the same?
Will things change for better or worse? Will the little village of Stanton Langley be able to cope with the chain of events that seems to follow this message from the grave?
At the same time, Patsy, Lily’s former babysitter and lifelong friend, has a secret of her own. Someone has arrived in the dark of night and is hiding out at her house in the hope that no-one will ever know that they are there, but why? What harm could it do if others knew?
Finally, there’s Dan, Patsy’s brother, a pilot who also happens to be a bit of a casanova, but is there an underlining reason for this? Will he ever be able to change his ways?
Our Thoughts on ‘You and Me, Always’
This is a story of regret and loss, of hope and love. From the start you are willing fate to take hold and change the lives of all of those involved.
It is not very often I pick up a romance novel, a simply story of boy meets girl and all ends well never quite sits right with me – after all how often that does that really happen? I may want to remove myself from reality and transport myself into a fictional world but part of me still enjoys an element of authenticity.
‘You and Me, Always’ offers both: a love story with a succession of hurdles that need to be overcome.
This is a Chick-lit book that intrigues and entices. Without realising, I consumed all 368 pages in one sitting, so if you are going to take anything from this review – take this.
I enjoyed this book immensely. It wasn’t a book of lovesick strangers whose eyes meant across a crowded room, it was a fictitious story that, in some ways, represents everything we hope for, everything we wish for and desire. It is a story of romance and ‘siding doors’.
Travelling Book Junkie Rating: ****
Interested in reading more? Check out more on this and other books by Jill Mansell here.
Want to find out more about Jill Mansell? Why not read our full interview with the author where we talk storyline inspiration and hopes for the future.