When Ellie Kendall tragically loses her husband she feels her life is over. But eventually she’s ready for a new start-at work, that is. She doesn’t need a new man when she has a certain secret visitor to keep her company… Moving to North London, Ellie meets neighbour Roo who has a secret of her own. Can the girls sort out their lives? Guilt is a powerful emotion, but a lot can happen in a year in Primrose Hill…
Reading this book was like curling up with a cuppa and a custard cream; easy and comfortable. It is full of warmth, it has the feel good factor and has a dash of humour and a bit of depth.
Ellie is a young woman in a fantastic marriage with a bright future when her husband, Jamie, is killed in a car accident and she has to start life all over again. Jill Mansel writes about this with so much realism. Ellie clings to the memory of Jamie, she stays in a horrible flat because it was their home, she talks to him and imagines him talking back,(or maybe he really does…), she blames his best friend for the accident that killed him and she feels guilty herself and she hates getting the sympathy card all the time. The story is not a complex dissection of grief, but it is accurate in showing how it affects people. It also helps to make Ellie an extremely likable, believable character for her faults and strengths.
When Ellie finally moves to a lovely flat in Primrose Hill, thanks to her film star father-in-law Tony, she meets a new friend in Roo and gets a new job as a PA for the delicious looking Zack. The very reason Ellie gets the job is because she is not available for romance. Of course at this point I instantly saw fireworks happening between them, but the story is clever and nothing is straight forward here.
The cast of minor characters are a great mix and I enjoyed the way they were pivotal to the plot in respects that only became obvious later on. The manner in which the characters crossed paths with each other and inter-linked was great too. I particularly liked the way that Roo’s relationship with Yasmin (Roo’s lover’s wife) became a bigger and bigger part of the story.
Verdict: As I mentioned before the journeys in this book are not predicable. There are ups and downs, dating disasters, disappointments, pleasures in the simple things of life and huge successes. It all revolves around normal life, sharing coffee, dinner, a glass of wine and living life together with people you care about. The dog share was genius! Ellie getting back on her feet surprises even her and that makes this a fresh and intelligent bit of chick lit.
Reviewed by Helen