“On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…
On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…
And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with…”
I am delighted to be on the blog tour today to celebrate the paperback publication of This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell and I want to thank Anne Cater for allowing me on the tour because I know places were hotly contested for this one. However, I am also approaching it with some trepidation because, by a weird quirk of fate, today Jill Mansell and I will be in close proximity as we are both attending the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference in Leeds; Jill as doyenne of the romantic novel and I as a lowly aspiring writer on the New Writers’ Scheme at my first one. So I am hoping that if she likes my review, she will seek me out to say hello and sign my book, which would make my year. It would be like that moment in Wayne’s World where they meet Alice Cooper.
(If she doesn’t, it isn’t me, it was someone else and I’m not there!) Let’s see shall we?
For starters, I just want to say how much I love the opening sentence of this book. As writers, we are always being told that you have to have a killer opening line that hooks the reader instantly. Well, listen to this one, “What could be more glorious than sitting at a pavement cafe on a sunny afternoon, wearing a marvellous new hat and witnessing an imminent crime?” I was fully invested in this book from the first moment and completely in love with the character of Zillah as soon as I realised she was the owner of the “marvellous new hat”.
Jill Mansell really knows how to create warm, engaging and fully developed characters and this book is full of them. Zillah was my favourite, and I defy anyone to read this book and not decide that this is who they want to be when they grow up but I also loved Essie. Poor Essie. What happens to her early on and sets in motion the chain of events that kick the book off is so cringe-making (and I speak as someone who slid off a wheeled chair TWICE in the space of five minutes in front of a crowd of virtual strangers last night, so I know a thing or two about embarrassment) that you can’t help but feel her pain and be rooting for things to improve for her through the rest of the book. The central male characters are equally well drawn and interesting – no cardboard cut out heroes here – they all have complete and compelling lives and stories and personalities that jump off the page and into your heart.
Jill’s writing seems so effortless, the story just flows – it drew me through the pages gently but with such a firm grasp on my curiosity that I had to keep reading and find out what happens to the characters that she had made me care about so quickly that I could not put it down. As a reader I was delighted and satisfied, as a writer I was sighing with envy at the skill and talent this takes and determined to try and emulate it myself (some hope, but one can dream!)
The relationships between the characters are wonderfully drawn and the way they interact, grow and develop in relation to one another is beautiful. It almost restores your faith in humanity. You want to climb right inside the book and get in on the action so you can be part of what is unfurling before your eyes through the pages.
The setting of the book is charming and enticing, there is fun, laughter, tears and love in this book and plenty to think about. I really loved it, it was everything we have come to expect from Jill Mansell at her best. I will definitely come back to this book again, it has everything you could want in a piece of warm, interesting, satisfying piece of summer fiction.
This Could Change Everything is out now in paperback, as well as all other formats, and you can buy a copy here.
You can follow the rest of this epic tour below:
About the Author
Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT, TO THE MOON AND BACK, YOU AND ME, ALWAYS 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 NHS, after she read a magazine article that inspired her to join a local creative writing class. Her first book was published in 1991 and she is now a full-time novelist. She is one of the few who still write their books by hand, like a leftover from the dark ages. She lives in Bristol with her family.
Connect with Jill:
Facebook: Official Jill Mansell
Goodreads: Jill Mansell