I am a big lover of reading chick lit though for a while due to financial constraints I haven't bought any new books nor had time to get to the library to borrow any. Luckily for me, my friend has a 'book circle' at her work who pass books around to one another when read and she kindly included me as a 'special guest' (honoured!)
This is where I came across Jill Mansell. Having been aware of this author I had yet to sample any of her work, so when I read Perfect Timing just before Christmas last year and thoroughly enjoyed it I was keen to read more books by her. When my friend dropped this latest book off for me - Kiss- and said it was just as enjoyable as Perfect Timing I was very eager to start reading it and have just finished the book.
Brief plot synopsis & characters:
Izzy is a club singer waiting for her big break - she will be famous one day she is sure of it..it's just not quite happened yet. She lives with her 17 year old daughter Katerina and juggles a hectic life of robbing Peter to pay Paul with her wages from singing in seedy clubs, not to mention the fact that she has two boyfriends so life is certainly never dull. When an unexpected collision (literally) with Gina occurs both of their lives mingle and life for both will never be the same again..
Kiss features several main characters but the key character is called Izzy and we meet her almost immediately. The whole book revolves around Izzy at first, then the other characters that are introduced throughout the story all intertwine in Izzy's life. Gina's back story comes to light quite early on in the book and we learn that on the ill fated night that she meets Izzy (meets? well knocks her off her motorbike leaving her with a broken leg!) her husband of several years has announced he is leaving her to live with his pregnant mistress so Gina comes across as very fragile at first and the complete opposite to Izzy, who is confident and full of optimism.
Katerina is not the average teenager and is far more the adult out of her and her mum, so when she meets someone from Gina's life she does something very unexpected that not only shocks everyone but something that Izzy finds unforgivable.
Sam is a main character who is also introduced early on and is a mutual friend of Gina and her love rat of a husband Andrew. He is described as being a bit of a playboy yet in a good way, being achingly handsome and the owner of a string of successful nightclubs. There is an obvious frisson between Sam and Izzy but will they get together? Throw in Gina's philandering husband, an OTT pop star and Sam's american ex girlfriend who always gets what she wants and you have one fantastic read..
My thoughts on the book:
I really enjoyed Perfect Timing so when my friend said she thought this was far better, I was slightly cynical at first admittedly, but really I have to agree on every aspect. On reading the first few pages I noticed it was easy to become absorbed in the characters almost instantly and the story just flowed from page to page. I am currently reading a book at the moment (not a Jill Mansell book may I add) that I am finding difficult to get into and I can honestly say with Kiss this wasn't the case at all.
I really liked all of the characters involved and in their own way they all brought a little piece of enjoyment to the story, I even liked the side story of Gina's husband Andrew as we see that maybe the grass isn't always greener and I was interested enough just in that one story line to see what happened to him in the end.
I thought all of the characters were entertaining and enjoyed how their own lives intertwined and became the main story line towards the end of the book. At first there seemed to be more and more characters being thrown in throughout the book and I was at first getting a bit confused trying to keep track of who was who, though this soon all became clear as their characters all became vital to the story line and there wasn't anyone that I took a liking to.
I loved the character of Izzy and just found the situations she landed herself in were so obscure but I loved her 'get on with it' attitude each and every time and actually found her uplifting attitude a refreshing change from some heroines. There were so many cringe worthy situations and on several occasions I found myself laughing out loud whilst reading this (much to the annoyance of my hubby who was asleep at the time).
There really isn't anything not to like about this book - even down to the soft and soothing images on the front cover which for some reason depict a Christmas theme (baubles, snowflakes, a robin etc). As tranquil as it appears the front cover does confuse me somewhat as there is only the smallest reference to the festive period at one point so if anyone sees the book they may be swayed into thinking it is set at Christmas time which it isn't.
This is an enjoyable read that I found flowed easy enough from page to page and I found it hard to put the book down on an evening it was so engrossing. Having only read one other of Mansell's work I was pleasantly surprised at how much more I did actually enjoy this and think it would make an ideal holiday read as it's easy to lose yourself in Izzy's hectic world.
This was first published in 1993 though it didn't seem remotely dated at any point and could easily have been set now. At 503 pages it's an ideal length with reasonable sized bold font making it clear and easy to read and I would highly recommend it.