This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Sometimes after a bad day, when it’s cold and dark outside, you just want to light some candles, grab some chocolate (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my weapon of choice), and snuggle up with a good book that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. That, for me, is always a Jill Mansell book. It’s a fail safe. Three Amazing Things About You is Jill’s 26th novel and it is as much of a delight as her last 25.
Hallie is dying – she has Cystic Fibrosis and the only solution is a lung transplant, but Hallie is realistic and knows that the chances of a donor becoming available are slim. So, until then, she is enjoying her life as much as her disease will allow and harbouring a secret crush on her doctor, knowing that nothing can ever really happen between them.
Flo, meanwhile, is a care assistant who loves her job. When her patient and friend, Elsa, dies and leaves both her cat and her flat in Flo’s hands, Elsa’s relatives are none too pleased, and Flo must deal with the disgruntled family members the best way that she knows how.
Finally, happy-go-lucky Tasha meets the man of her dreams whilst arm-deep inside a litter bin (I’ll let you find out the story yourself), but will the fact that he enjoys spending weekends hanging from cliff faces and riding motorbikes cause a problem for constant worrier Tasha? Can love still work if you have nothing in common?
Three stories, seemingly not linked in any way, Three Amazing Things About You is a bit like three books in one. The female protagonists all live in different places, but their lives are set to clash in ways you do not expect.You may be thinking: “the main character is dying and I don’t really fancy that”, but there is nothing morbid about this book. In fact, Hallie’s attitude towards her disease is as positive as it can be; she loves life, her friends and she doesn’t let her health hold her back. She also remains very truthful about her illness. It’s clear from the story itself and the acknowledgements that Jill Mansell spent a lot of time making sure every aspect of the disease she so beautifully writes about is accurate and it pays off. I really felt Hallie’s disappointment when she sometimes – inevitably – had to give in to the exhaustion that the disease causes her to feel.
Tasha and Flo’s stories are equally joyful to read – I particularly like the attitudes to life that all of these women have. I especially sympathised with Tasha’s continuous worrying about everyone and everything, but mainly her adventurous boyfriend, Rory, and the scrapes that he gets into. I loved Flo’s caring nature and her relationship with Jeremy the cat, too.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Jill Mansell novel without a generous helping of love and dishy male protagonists – one of my favourite scenes in the book involves Tasha, Rory, a lost credit card and a bin. Believe it or not, it made me hope that chivalry isn’t dead after all!
What I enjoy most about Jill Mansell’s storytelling is that she has found a formula for enjoyable, addictive writing that rarely disappoints. She creates characters that I root for and that are so realistic, I feel I could bump into them in my local pub.
For fans of Jill Mansell (and new readers alike), you won’t be disappointed by this book. There is a level of subtle happiness to it, a reminder throughout that life is really all about what you make it and if you want to be happy just … be.
9/10MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK