Today I am over the moon to be a stop on the blog tour for Jill Mansell’s most recent book, You and Me, Always. Keep reading to find out what I thought, and you could even win yourself your very own copy!
After losing her mum at the age of eight, Lily has always looked forward to her birthdays. Each and every year, a new letter from her late mother is waiting for her. On her twenty-fifth birthday, however, Lily receives her very last one, and it’s the one that changes everything.
Reading the letter, Lily learns all about the only real love of her mum’s life, and she is determined to find out more. On the very same day, Lily meets Eddie Tessler, a man hiding from fame who could totally spin Lily’s life around. But when old time friend, Dan, has his own reasons for wanting the relationship to fail, and secrets start to emerge, the lives of Lily and the friends and family surrounding her will never be the same again…
” ‘If they hadn’t done that, everything would have been different,’ Lily marvelled. There were so many what-ifs; life was like a ball of string with three hundred ends.”
Book lovers around the world are going to gasp in horror as I admit this: I’ve never read a Jill Mansell book before this one. Argh. I know. Slap my wrist. But don’t worry; her wonderful writing style and perfectly flowing words have definitely added Jill Mansell to my go-to authors list… I have plenty of catching up to do!
You and Me, Always* takes place in the idyllic village of Stanton Langley in the Cotswolds, and Jill Mansell has done a fabulous job of creating a charming setting with an endearing community. I could have happily jumped into the book to stroll past the scenery, spend time at Star Inn, and become one of the locals.
At the start of the book, we are immediately thrown into laughs as we first meet the characters and come across Mr Turquoise-Lycra-Leggings, and then we move on to the tender moment of Lily opening and reading the letter from her mum. Before the story even truly begins, we get an insight into the characters lives, and I found myself liking each and every one of them.
” ‘I didn’t plan for it to happen quite like this, but I’m saying it now… I’d still love you. I just would. Because… I already do.’ “
The diverse and vibrant characters throughout You and Me, Always* are all incredibly well developed and realistic, and my heart truly warmed to them all, from the village ladies’ man Dan, to lonely and grieving Coral, who is determined to start living again. Every time we met someone new in this wonderful tale of loss, love and friendship, they left footprints on both the story and on me as we realise just how their past experiences in life have shaped them.
Although primarily a story focussed on Lily finding her way in life, we
as readers get to witness so many other dynamics and relationships. Observing the world through different eyes and minds throughout the book, we begin to see the paths of each heart-warming character intertwine time and time again until their relationships and feelings emanate from the pages and into our hearts. Although I predicted some of the relationships that were yet to form, I enjoyed watching them unfold page by page nonetheless, and I became sincerely invested in everybody’s outcome.
Filled with laughter and tears, friendship and love, You and Me, Always* is an uplifting tale filled with soul stirring characters that is perfect for travelling the countryside, all whilst sat on your sofa.
And now the part you’ve been waiting for… a chance to win your very own copy of this fabulous book! Simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. It’s open to UK only and closes at midnight on Tuesday 16th February. Good luck!