Published 30 January 2014 by Headline Review
When Josh Strachan, newly returned to his home in north Cornwall from sunny California, first meets Sophie Wells, he’s immediately smitten. Sophie’s pretty, she’s funny, she has lots of friends and she clearly loves her job as a photographer, despite the sometimes tricky clients. There’s just one problem: Sophie has very firmly turned her back on love. It’s nothing personal, she tells Josh, but she just doesn’t do dates. And no one – even Sophie’s scatty best friend Tula – will tell him why. Josh is sure Sophie likes him, though, and he’s just got to find out what’s put her off romance. And then put things right…
I’ve been a fan of Jill Mansell’s books ever since her first novel, Fast Friends in 1991, and she is one of the few authors whose books I will always buy regardless. I very much enjoyed her last book, Don’t Want to Miss a Thing (reviewed here) and have been eagerly awaiting the next one. A new book is always a treat worth waiting for and this, her 25th novel, is no exception.
The story is set in the fictional, idyllic sounding St Carys in Cornwall. The main character, Sophie is a photographer and has moved to Cornwall to set up her own business. She is pretty and popular and soon catches the eye of a local hotelier, Josh Strachan. Josh has recently returned to the UK from California and co-owns a local hotel with his grandmother Dot. When Josh’s repeated attempts to date Sophie are rebuffed he is intrigued to know why. He’s good looking and successful and is not used to being turned down. Sophie however has vowed to stay away from relationships and men and as the story unfolds we learn the reason why.
There are several other characters featuring heavily in the book and they are all interesting and people that you could care about. Sophie’s best friend Tula, Josh’s fun loving friend and co-conspirator Riley, Dot and her ex-husband Lawrence, and local author Marguerite. All have their own sub-plots and dramas which are perfectly woven throughout the story. What I love about Jill’s books is that all the characters are so well drawn, you feel that you know them and could be friends with them – I could have fallen for Josh myself! Riley has a thing for Tula and is described as being a “lazy, work-shy, pleasure-seeking hedonist” – could he really be that shallow?
There are ups and downs for all our characters and a twist that I didn’t see coming. I love the Cornish coast and the gorgeous location was a big plus for me. The story isn’t all frothy and light – there are deeper issues covered but these are dealt with sympathetically and made to feel an integral part of the story.
This was a lovely feel good humorous story and another 5* read for me. I’m now keenly waiting for book number 26!
My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the digital copy to review.
author website: http://www.jillmansell.co.uk