Celebrity couple Jack and Cass Mandeville seem to have it all—good looks, successful careers, a great marriage. Their children are also incredibly talented: stunning Cleo is a top model, devilishly handsome Sean a hot young comedian, and although sixteen-year-old Sophie hides her looks under big glasses and baggy clothes, everyone can see there’s a beautiful swan dying to emerge. In the eyes of the nation’s press, the Mandevilles can do no wrong. Until a gorgeous redhead called Imogen turns up to interview Jack and Cass on the morning that Jack hits the big Four-O. And the fabulous Mandevilles find they’re not so perfect after all…
I wanted to like this book, I really did but sometimes a book comes across my hands that I want to throw across the room and this was one of them. I don’t think there was another book besides Eclipse that moved me to want to slap a monkey the way that this book did.
This book pissed me off and when I say pissed off, it affected my mood for the entire day. If I wake up early in the morning (something that hasn’t happened all that often), I usually pick up the book that I’m reading or going to start and start reading for about a half hour and one morning, I picked this book up and started it.
It started off splendidly.
Right off the bat, I adored both Jack and Cass. I was interested in getting to know their kids and I was interested in getting to know more about the both of them. The book starts off on the morning of Jack’s 40th birthday. Jack and Cass are childhood sweethearts (well they got together in their teens) who are happily married with three kids. They’re madly in love with each other and instead of their relationship making me want to roll my eyes down the street, I thought it was sweet.
Jack wants breakfast but Cass has an interview set up for one of those Hi! Magazines and she wants Jack to participate in it…only Jack is like, HELL NO! So Cass goes off to do the interview herself down in the kitchen with Imogen, leaving Jack upstairs to wait for his breakfast. When Jack comes downstairs, Cass is still with the young reporter and when she tries to get Jack to engage in the interview, Jack isn’t about it so he grumpily heads out to play some British sport. Squash? I don’t remember. Anyway, Cass was a little embarrassed and swore to Imogen that Jack wasn’t a horrible beast and to prove it to her, Cass invites Imogen (whom she has hit it off with) to Jack’s birthday party that same night and Imogen accepts.
And then the story just falls afreakingpart for me.
I’m a romance reader at heart so a happy ending is what I’m all about. I’m also a reader who has certain things that I hate reading about. Infidelity is one of them and in this story, Jack, who was mad for his wife has a freaking affair. If it was one of those drunken affairs that he instantly regretted then I could probably have forgiven him that but it wasn’t. He knowingly walks into this affair and in that moment, I hated him. He may not have been the one to instigate the affair but he was tempted and he went behind his wife’s back and had the affair anyway.
The thing that made me hate him more than anything was this part:
They would have to be ultra-careful, he decided, that was all. Fate was already lending a hand, having supplied a door which led from the back of Imogen’s (the reporter) drive-in garage up to the flat above. This meant he would be able to enter and leave the flat without being spied on by nosy neighbors. They might not be able to go out and about much but at lest they had a safe house. Other people in his situation managed it anyway; look how often you heard about some respectable married media personality or politician suddenly announcing that he had been involved with another woman for the past six or seven years.
If they can do it, Jack decided, comforted by the thought, so could he.
This part was what stayed with me after I had to put the book down and get ready for work. So as I was getting ready to take a shower, my thoughts stayed on this book. I felt like Jack cheated on me because my heart was broken. I thought about the book while I was getting ready and on my way to work, the book was sitting on my passenger seat, staring at me and as each mile passed, I started getting good and pissed. By the time I got to work, I was steaming mad. I had to read more so I did and it became like a sickness, an addiction thats bad for me because the more I read, the more pissed off I became and yet…I couldn’t stay away from the book.
I emailed both Ames and Izzy while I was reading the book, telling them how pissed off I was and how I wanted to smack a monkey (poor monkey) because the book that I was reading has made me so mad. I was in a bad mood and I couldn’t believe how mad I was over fictional characters. I couldn’t concentrate on work because as I finished it, I could not freaking believe that they got back together. A lot of crap went down before they did but what made me mad was how Jack went back and forth between both women. Ugh, he just pissed me off.
Then there was Sean’s story and then Cleo and while I didn’t hate them as much as I hated their Dad, I didn’t really care for them either. Sean’s just as bad as his Dad but he’s got youth’s stupidity in his corner but I wanted to bean him in the head more than a couple of times. Cleo’s a cynical young woman who was just pretty blah to me.
Overall, Jill Mansell did a FANTASTIC job of keeping me turning the pages, I could not stay away from this book even though I tried many times. I had to know what happened and when I found everything out, all I did was get pissed off. The whole thing with Sophie and what brought Jack and Cass back together again felt rushed and forced to me so it just made me stew in my annoyance.
Did I enjoy this book? Yeah, at the very beginning but then it just went downhill for me. There was a couple of times that I had to check the cover to make sure I was reading a Jill Mansell because man, I LOVE THIS WOMAN but this book just did not work for me at all. It happens sometimes, it happened with me and Julie Garwood with Gentle Warrior. LOVE the author, hated that book. So, these things happen.
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com