Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including The One You Really Want and Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay. Take a Chance on Me won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.
Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is Three Amazing Things About You, which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.
Jill started writing fiction while working in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology in the NHS, but now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.
About the book
The trouble with secrets is that you can’t guess what the consequences will be . . .
Lainey has just lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she’s living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired – if far-from-retiring – actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. Yes, everyone thinks she’s part of a couple and it’s tricky keeping this secret. But at least she’s not looking for love: with her disastrous relationship history, men are definitely off the agenda.
Except Seth, the actor’s grandson, really is very attractive. There’s growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. What would happen if he knew the truth?
But Lainey’s not the only one with a secret – it seems everyone has them! And they’re all about to start unravelling…
Lainey finds herself out of a job and applies for a new one as one part of a happy couple. The only problem is she isn’t part of a couple. So she needs a man who will pose as her happy ever after asap. Her friend is willing to do the honours, except his small catch is that he likes his romantic interests tall, dark and handsome.
They get the job based on a lie, which is a bed of quicksand waiting to suck them both under. Lainey feels comfortable with the eccentric family. The unpredictable grandfather, the sulky teens and the attractive and very suspicious step-son – they are all chaotic and yet simultaneously incredibly entertaining.
It’s about forgetting the construct of family as we know it and as society has taught us. It isn’t about being genetically related, it’s about emotional bonds. Family is the people you let surround you, especially in times of joy or sorrow. It doesn’t have to be mother, father and 2.5 children. It can be any combination you want, as long as it makes you feel safe.
I loved the way Mansell gave every character the same kind of reverence and attention, which doesn’t always work by the way. No person is left behind and all the threads are tied up neatly by the last page.
Mansell delivers a lovely feel good read – a contemporary romance with family at the core. There is this general aura of warmth and love regardless of whether the characters are going through painful or emotional moments. It’s Mansell moments of magic that makes the read.