Originally reviewed on Becca's Books.
It's no secret that I'm a bit of a (okay, a major) fan girl for Jill Mansell. I've been reading Jill's books since my teens and have fallen in love with her style, stories and characters incredibly hard over the years. That love is still going strong now, and I am always anticipating her next release because I love how I feel when reading a Jill Mansell novel. Happy, hopeful and like I'm taking a leisurely stroll through the novel alongside her characters, it's a feeling I will never, ever tire of.
When the cover and blurb of You and Me, Always was revealed on social media, I was instantly drawn to the title. It's beautiful and moving, and once I'd read the blurb, I couldn't wait to get to the story within. Set within the gorgeous Cotswold Village, Stanton Langley, I had a feeling that I'd sink into this story in the same way I'd sink back into a hot bubble bath. Comforting and inviting, and entirely satisfying. I know, I know, how on earth did I get all that just from reading the blurb? Well, that's Jill Mansell, ladies and gentlemen.
You and Me, Always begins in the most tender of ways. Lily, now twenty-five, opens the very last letter written by her late mother. Now, I don't know about you but when it comes to letters, especially if the writer is now longer around, my heart breaks over and over again. Handwritten letters, in such a technology-driven age, are something to be cherished, and Lily does exactly that. But the most recent and last letter reveals something to Lily about her mother and her first true love, which sets the wheel in motion in Lily's beautiful mind. Alongside this stunning thread of self-discovery and her mother's past, Jill also introduces readers to the character of Eddie Tessler, who's escaping the spotlight in his fame-flooded life, Dan, Lily's flirtatious long-time friend, and a couple more characters who truly bring this story to life. In true Jill Mansell style, at one point or another, these characters' lives entwine, and I couldn't wait to see when it would happen and what the consequences would be.
Each of Jill's characters within You and Me, Always were brilliantly developed, Lily being a particular favourite of mine, not only because she was the heroine but because she was so incredibly lovely. I warmed to her right from the beginning of this book and truly hoped that nothing but good would come her way. She was so positive, even her dialogue made me smile. Despite losing her mother, she was still a strong lover of life and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her and following her story. Dan, too, was another favourite of mine, and later on into the novel when his deeper layers were revealed to me, I think I may have swooned just a little bit. At first, he seems like your typical lad's lad, but there is so much more to his character, it just took some time for it to simmer to the surface. In fact, I loved watching each of Jill's characters becoming more prominent as the novel progressed and by the end of it, I felt as though they were firm friends of mine.
The plot itself was wonderfully uplifting and heart-warming. Different tales from the different characters weaved in and out and I couldn't get enough. I particularly enjoyed Lily's story as she set out on a journey to discover the man who had been her mother's first love. I adored the cosy, charming setting of Stanton Langley, and I wanted to step inside and take a stroll down the street myself. I was completely invested in the characters and couldn't wait to see where they'd end up when the novel came to its end. It was exciting and oh-so-satisfying, and it has only left me feeling the same way I do whenever I finish a book by this author. Desperate for more!
Becca's Books is awarding You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell with five stars! The setting, the plot, the fantastic characters. I really can't think of a single bad thing to say about this one, except perhaps that it didn't last forever and ever, which I would have been more than happy with. Reply