To The Moon And Back, by Jill Mansell

>> Monday, June 04, 2012

TITLE: To The Moon And Back
AUTHOR: Jill Mansell

PAGES: 416
PUBLISHER: Headlines

SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: Women's fiction / Romance

The hardest part of love is moving on...

It's been a year since Ellie Kendall's husband, Jamie, was killed in an accident, but she's still haunted by his memory. In fact, she finds herself talking to him regularly. At the urging of Jamie's successful actor father Tony, Ellie moves to London's glamorous Primrose Hill, where nobody knows her past...

But even in her new home-and with her hardworking new boss, Zack McLaren; and Jamie's best friend Todd to distract her-Ellie can't seem to leave Jamie behind. Will Ellie stay stuck in the past? Or will she realize the man of her dreams is flesh and blood-and right in front of her eyes...

Discover why readers across the globe can't get enough of Jill Mansell's poignant, funny love stories. You'll laugh and cry-at the same time!
A year an a half after her husband's death, Ellie Kendall is still grieving. It takes her father-in-law's intervention to get her out of the flat she shared with him (the building has really gone downhill since Jamie's death), and into a lovely new place in Primrose Hill. And once she has started making changes, Ellie keeps going. She becomes good friends with her neighbour, Roo, the flaky but goodhearted former member of a girl band, and finds a new job close to home, working for sexy entrepreneur Zack McLaren.

To The Moon And Back has quite a strong romance, but I think it fits best under the women's fiction umbrella, as the emphasis is on Ellie coming back to life. For a lot of the book, she really is not in a place to go into another relationship. I mean, for much of the book, Ellie has long conversations with Jamie. As in, she speaks to Jamie, and Jamie answers back. This could have been much too weird, but it just wasn't. Ellie is well aware at all times that she's making up all these conversations, as a sort of security blanket, so there are no delusions involved. But that she needs this security blanket makes it very clear that she's not ready to move on just yet. She makes a half-hearted attempt at one point, but it doesn't work out.

Now, Zack is crazy about her for the entire time they know each other, but the timing is never right for him to make his move. Either Ellie has just started seeing someone, or he thinks she's seeing someone, that sort of thing. It should be as obvious to Ellie as it is to the reader, but she just doesn't see it, isn't ready to see it. She appreciates intellectually that he's a very handsome, sexy man, but just can't mentally make the connection of feeling attracted to him. Until she is ready, and then it's lovely. Because of the time it takes for them to finally connect, by that time, they've become true friends, and this made the romance really nice and satisfying.

In addition to Ellie's story, there are also some nice secondary plotlines. There's Roo, who's lovely and determined to change her life as much as Ellie is changing hers, there's Jamie's former best friend, Todd, but my favourite was Tony, Jamie's famous actor dad, who falls in love with a woman who's not quite free to love him back, much as she'd like to. That was extremely touching, and it made me a bit weepy.

I enjoyed this very much. My only criticism is that it felt a bit too long, but that wasn't a huge problem. It was charming, and had very nice, gentle humour. I've seen Mansell compared to Katie Fforde, and I guess I see why. They've both got that "feels like slipping into a warm bath" element, but Mansell felt a little bit more modern. I'll have to try more of hers and test this out!



jill mansell 4 June 2012 at 10:35  

Hi Rosario,

A million thanks for the gorgeous review - I'm thrilled you enjoyed my book and liked the characters so much!


Jill Mansell xx

Ro 4 June 2012 at 19:26  

Thanks, Jill, lovely to hear from you. I liked it so much I'm planning to make my way through your backlist. Nadia Knows Best is next, as is seems to be so many people's favourite!

jill mansell 5 June 2012 at 14:43  

Hope you enjoy it too! xx

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