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REVIEW: Thinking of You by Jill Mansell

When Ginny Holland’s daughter heads off to university, Ginny is left with a severe case of empty nest syndrome. To make matters worse, the first gorgeous man she’s laid eyes on in years has just accused her of shoplifting. So, in need of a bit of company, Ginny decides to advertise for a lodger, but what she gets is lovelorn Laurel. With Laurel comes her dangerously charming brother, Perry and the offer of a great new job, and things begin looking up…until Ginny realizes that her potential boss is all too familiar. Is it too late for Ginny to set things right after an anything but desirable first impression?

Dear Ms. Mansell,

When I read the blurb for “Thinking of You,” I liked the idea of a slightly older heroine finding love later in life. I didn’t realize this was a reissue until I started to read it. I have no idea if it’s been changed any since 2007 but then there doesn’t seem to be much that might influence the plot that has changed between then and now.

thinking-of-youThe book kicks off with quite an opening set up of different characters, their relationships and the plot threads. It’s often funny in an amusing, ironic sort of way with some LOL moments mixed in. This is intercut with a bit of darker shadings which round out the main characters and further the plot. Still everyone is distinct and I never lost sight of who they all were and how they fitted into the story.

The plot threads are believable and not twisted into pretzels of WTFery. Often I can’t get past some bizarre set up an author employs to use a certain setting or a have characters hold certain jobs or interact in such-and-such a way. Not so here. Empty nest syndrome, adultery, broken hearts, ladies men, first year of college – all are plausible and not eye rolling.

That being said, I could tell in which direction a lot of the plot was headed and how the characters would behave and react. When this or that occurred, I wasn’t all that surprised.

“Actually I caught her shoplifting,” said Finn. This is far from a meet-cute beginning for Finn and Ginny. In fact, he makes his – loud – public accusation, which reduces Ginny to tears and that worst of all things for the English – public embarrassment. This couple was going to have a lot to work out before their HEA

Except, I didn’t get enough of that. I needed a bit more romance. Yes, I can see this is a times more women’s fiction and with the number of characters involved it’s hard to get in depth with all their stories but for Ginny and Finn I wanted more. One cattus interruptus – which is hilarious – and one completed sex scene and that’s it? I did like that they talk a bit and discuss their lives outside of how they feel about each other but I would loved to have more of them together.

Then comes the come-upppance and payback period. Don’t get me wrong – I wanted all these outcomes. I was hoping to see the villains get served with their just desserts and the protagonists triumph over them. But it was just all too neat and tidy. Like a list being checked off and bows being wrapped too tidily. Each asshole gets hoisted on his or her own petard, generally publicly and often with the assistance of the person most wronged. It’s very satisfying and there’s little of the martyr – I must be nice and not gloat over my enemy because I’m the heroine or hero – involved. But it’s almost too much that this many wronged people will get justice 1-2-3 one after another as the book winds down. It’s too clockwork-y, too assembly line-ish.

I enjoyed getting to know these people and peeking in on their lives. I felt good when the villains were taken care of and the protagonists found happiness. But the first aspect felt too perfect and the second felt lacking. C

~Jayne

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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

4 Comments

  1. Jill Mansell
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 14:31:35

    Hi Jayne,
    I’m a bit confused by the Dear Ms Mansell bit – is this a message meant directly for me? Because I wouldn’t have seen it if other people hadn’t drawn my attention to it. Thank you for your comments and I’m really sorry you didn’t much enjoy my book – I shall try hard to write better ones in future! Thinking of You isn’t a reissue in the US – Sourcebooks bought the rights and this is the first time it has been published in your country.
    Also, the reason I don’t have sex scenes in my books is because I write them by hand and my daughter types them for me!
    Best
    Jill Mansell

  2. Jane
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 14:45:08

    @Jill Mansell – all of our reviews are written in the form of a letter. It is a literary conceit derived from the “dear reader” letters that were so popular back in the 80s. Our reviews, despite the letter format, are intended for the reader. Thank you for dropping by.

  3. Jayne
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 18:24:35

    @Jill Mansell: Re: the sex scenes – Aha!, that makes sense.

  4. Reading List by Jayne for Spring/Summer 2013
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 10:02:38

    […] Thinking of You by Jill Mansell – This is more a chick-lit style women’s fiction set in contemporary England. A little more romance would have been the icing on my cake but I love the older heroine and hero finding love. Watch for the hero’s cat hogging a seduction scene. Me loves the kittehs. Review […]

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