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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: Nadia Knows Best by Jill Mansell

From Goodreads
When Nadia Kinsella meets Jay Tiernan, she's tempted. Of course she is. Stranded together in a remote Cotswold pub, with a snowstorm raging outside—let’s face it, who would ever know? But Nadia’s already met The One. She and Laurie have been together for years—they’re practically childhood sweethearts, and she still gets goosebumps at the sight of him. Okay, maybe she doesn’t see that much of him these days, but that’s not Laurie’s fault. She can’t betray him. Besides, when you belong to a family like the Kinsellas—bewitchingly glamorous grandmother Miriam, feckless mother Leonie, stop-at-nothing sister Clare—well, someone has to exercise a bit of self-control, don’t they? I mean, you wouldn’t want to do something that you might later regret.

First thoughts?

Mansell's books always feature several potential couples in and out of relationships, and this one is no different.  However with this book, one side of the romantic equation are members of the Kinsella family.  We are talking everyone including the youngest sister.  Each member brings a different aspect to romance, Miriam the Grandmother who brings lost love, her son, James, who is kind a sorta looking for love, but is too nice and shy to ask a woman out, and his daughters Claire and Tilly, both of whom are trying to sort romance and all it's trappings out.  Last but not least is Nadia, our "heroine".  She becomes caught between two men: Jay who is shiny and new and can offer something new but unknown, and Laurie, who was the love of Nadia's life, but broke up with her and now wants her back.  Shiny and new vs Old and Unreliable (in my opinion).

With these characters we have our story.  Mansell is one of my favorite authors, however this book fell flat for me.  The story seemed a bit too long; it meandered.  The story also dealt with other issues besides romance, which I liked and thought added a different element to the story.  However, I think it was some of the characters involved with those issues that made me not care as much.  Or rather, I thought a few characters deserved a nice slap, and that didn't happen.  Which brings me to the reason why I didn't enjoy this book as much as Mansell's other works.  There is always a character that I don't like or can't stand in almost every story.  That's cool, I get that.  It's required for other elements and you can't like everybody.  However with this one, there were several characters I couldn't stand and felt they really detracted from the story. Their story lines almost made me stop reading this one.  I loved Nadia but these other people were taking the story away from her, and it worked a nerve.


Mansell always has interesting characters, and I realize the reasons I didn't like it, may appeal to you.  You know, many different flavors of ice cream and all of that.  I am also an emotional reader, so if things in real life are bringing me down, they may influence my reading as well.  In the end, there were parts of this book that I didn't like, and skimmed in order to finish.

So recommend or not...not sure.  I didn't like it but you may.  Here are what some other readers thought:

Royal Reviews
Diary of an Eccentric
Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

Would I change anything?

Try and shorten the story a bit, maybe.  I don't know.  

My Rating: 80/100
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Romance, British chic-lit
Trade paperback 480 pages
Book Source: Sourcebooks

Thanks to Sourcebooks for my review copy :)

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