Solo by Jill Mansell

Solo by Jill Mansell

Now available in paperback from Sourcebooks Landmark, please read on for my review, an excerpt, a quick Q & A with Jill Mansell and be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win one of Five (5) Paperback copies of SOLO.

Usually a book from Jill Mansell is a must-grab for me as her stories are full of humor and heart, often with multiple characters that are compelling and intriguing. I was hoping for the same in this bad boy makes good story.

Tessa is an artist, wholly different from her best friend Holly and completely unconcerned with the outward trappings of wealth, and not interested in a relationship. Holly is a bit more driven, focused, and completely convinced that Tessa needs a change, as well as wanting to further her own moments with her boss, Max.

Max and Ross are brothers, also very different from one another. These two own an upscale hotel that Max manages, while Ross reaps the benefits in terms of status, wealth and his own little black book. A well-known playboy, Ross is wholly unsuitable for a relationship, but Tessa surprises herself with her attraction to him. She’s aware of what he is – and isn’t looking for more.

So – if the book stopped here, I would have thought it felt a bit ‘written to request’ as the Billionaire Alpha Bad Boy Male trope is strong with Ross. And Tessa is just that right, slightly unfocused, not too bright but wholly supportive female friend that works for these stories. And then the wheels fell off the bus.

Who, in their right mind (and YES – I know this is fiction – but let’s at least pay nodding acquaintance to sexual health and good practice. Tessa is, oh woe is me, pregnant. From a one night stand – with a renowned player with a history of women in his past. So, she moves down from not too bright to perhaps too stupid for words – but the story goes on. She’s going to raise the child Solo, with no interference or assistance from the father. In fact, she doesn’t want him told. Perhaps a noble move in some respects, but wholly selfish – and I hate this sort of trope. But, I soldiered on hoping that Ross would show me some reason to like him, that Mansell’s previous skill in character development, dialogue and interconnecting stories and people would save me.

It didn’t. The book went from not for me to SO not for me: there was little character development, few moments of laughter or lightness, and I was left feeling as if the story was half-hearted. Flat and rather unispiring, I found Tessa insipid, Ross loathesome and while together Holly and Max were cute – there just wasn’t enough emotion or believability in any of them for me to care if their story ended happily. I struggled through to the end, but now struggle with my rating. Solid fans of Mansell may find this story entertaining and similar to Three Amazing Things About You. I thought this lacked the layered characters that brought that story to life. Perhaps not a first choice for a Mansell title, but fans who devour all her books are sure to like this.

Solo by Jill Mansell

Title: Solo
Author: Jill Mansell
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Romantic Elements
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1492632422
Published on: 1 January 2017
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 421
Audio Length: 14 Hours: 10 minutes
Rated: two-half-stars
Heat: One Flame

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When Tessa Duvall, a struggling artist, reluctantly agreed to accompany her best friend Holly to a party at the elegant Charrington Grange Hotel, she had every intention of sneaking off early. For parties full of strangers bored the knickers off Tessa and this one proved to be no exception - until she encountered Ross Monahan, whose wicked reputation was as high profile as the hotel he owned and ran with such panache. But whilst Holly set about ensnaring his reluctant brother Max, Tessa simply accepted Ross for what he was, a sensational one-night stand...until she realised, weeks later, that one-night stands can have far-reaching consequences.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Read an Excerpt

 

I must be drunk, thought Tessa, kicking off her shoes and sinking into a sitting position on the edge of the vast, canopied bed. When a man like Ross Monahan urged you to spend the night at his place and assured you that you were quite welcome to the bed—he would be happy to sleep on the settee—you knew you were playing with fire.

Either drunk or crazy, she told herself as she pulled her dress over her head, threw it in the direction of a large, red-velvet chair and wrapped herself in the dark-blue toweling robe he had left for her.

But she knew she wasn’t that drunk. She was enjoying the game which had begun so many hours earlier. The challenge had been thrown down and she couldn’t resist it. She was going to seriously enjoy being the only woman in the history of the world to have slept in Ross’s bed…alone.

His suite of rooms on the top floor of the hotel was as sumptuous as she had imagined, particularly since seeing the rest of The Grange earlier. Like stowaways, they had remained closeted in the conservatory until the early hours of the morning when the last guests had departed, either roaring off into the night in their smart cars or retiring to their rooms in the hotel.

Then, taking her hand, Ross had given her the full guided tour, showing her the elegant sitting rooms, the restaurant, the squash courts, the superb gym and the spectacular indoor swimming-pool built inside a second, even larger, conservatory, illuminated by underwater lighting and surrounded on three sides by more tropical vegetation. Ross was as proud of the hotel as a new father. Tessa had been touched by his enthusiasm. But if he was under the impression that she would be so overwhelmed by this display of his success that she would leap into bed with him, he was going to be disappointed.

Saying no was much, much more fun.

Firmly securing the belt of the far-too-big robe around her waist, she threw back the bedcovers and slid between cool white sheets, just as a cautious knock sounded at the door.

“It’s OK, I’m decent.”

“Pity,” said Ross lightly. He was still dressed, and carrying a folded blanket over one arm.

Tessa gestured at the bed. “This is awfully kind of you. You’ll probably have a terrible time trying to sleep on that settee.”

“Probably.” He gave her a mournful look, then grinned. “But I’ll survive.”

She watched him fling the blanket over the narrow leather Chesterfield. “And it’s four thirty now. Nearly time to get up again anyway.”

“Don’t remind me.”

“I’m very grateful.”

“Absolutely no problem.”

Tessa pulled the covers up to her chin and smiled at him. “You’re a true gentleman.”

“I believe you,” said Ross. “Thousands wouldn’t.”

She watched him hover for a few seconds beside the sofa, wondering no doubt if she might change her mind. Then, giving him one last big smile, she plumped up her pillows and turned over. “Mmm, well, thanks again. Good night.”

Tessa didn’t know what time it was when she shifted in her sleep and first realized that she was no longer alone in the bed. Her bare leg was resting against another bare leg, definitely not her own. Sleepily, almost subconsciously, she stretched out her hand and encountered a smooth, warm back. She became aware of the very faint scent of aftershave and toothpaste, and the quiet, regular breathing of someone deeply and peacefully asleep.

To her great surprise, Tessa was neither shocked nor annoyed by this invasion of her privacy. It was, after all, his bed and a narrow, slippery leather Chesterfield was about as conducive to a good night’s sleep as a tin bath.

In fact, she realized drowsily, she had forgotten quite how nice it felt to lie next to another body, accidentally brushing against an arm or a hip, sharing each other’s warmth and enjoying the primal instincts of simply being together.

With a guilty start she came properly awake. For the way her fingertips were trailing down Ross’s spine wasn’t in the least bit accidental. And, without even realizing it, her own left leg had managed to fit against the curve of his right one with all the snugness of a missing piece in a jigsaw.

This was taking the enjoyment of sharing each other’s warmth a little too far.

Regretfully easing her leg back to her own side of the bed and removing her hand from his back, she closed her eyes and attempted to distract her mind from its traitorous wanderings. She had always believed that physical intimacy—not just sex—was something like a video recorder or a Magimix: what you didn’t have, you didn’t miss, it just faded from your mind and became unimportant.

It had been almost a year since her last relationship had ended. At first, of course, she had missed the hugs and the kisses—and the sex—but certainly not enough to go rampaging round Bath in search of males, any males, with whom to satisfy the need for physical contact.

And pretty soon she had become used to being and sleeping alone once more. The withdrawal symptoms had been mild. Because hugging and kissing and sex weren’t physical addictions like heroin. They were something that was nice but also quite possible to live without.

On the other hand, a year was a long time.

 

A Quick Q & A with Jill Mansell

 

 Can you tell us one thing we may not know about you?

I am excellent at forging signatures. This is a skill I learned at school, and I still like to do it to this day. So if you ever come across a signed Harry Potter book at a thrift store, you never know, it might not have been signed by JK Rowling herself…

 

 

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About Jill Mansell

With over 10 million copies sold, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Mansell writes irresistible and funny, poignant and romantic tales for women in the tradition of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Jojo Moyes. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.

 

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