Do you ever look at the books in your To Be Read pile and say to yourself, "Hmmm... I'm really in the mood for Author X. I wonder if any of these are similar?" Well, I kinda went through that last week. The weather was nice and I had just finished (re-)reading Vernor Vinge
's A Fire upon the Deep
, which is very good, but actually requires one to pay attention and think about the words on the page, so I was in the mood for something lighter, but not completely weightless. I looked through my TBR stack and dug around looking for something like Jill Mansell
or Jennifer Crusie
, until I realized that I should probably just re-read Crusie or Mansell. And I did: three Jill Mansell books in three nights. (It's less impressive when you understand that these were re-reads, so I didn't need to pore intently over every syllable.)
I started the re-read with Millie's Fling, moved on to An Offer You Can't Refuse and finished off with Miranda's Big Mistake. Usually, I read the books months apart, because that's when they're released. But, since I was bingeing, this was a lot of Mansell in a really short period of time and the back-to-back reading really helped bring home to me what I like so much about these books. It isn't the heroes and heroines, though they're perfectly nice and seem like the sort of real people I'd enjoy spending time with. Nor is it the circle of friends, all of whom have their own quirks and foibles and end up getting their own Happily Ever Afters. Nor is it the fact that her heroines often experience heartbreak (and, occasionally, outright tragedy), but face it and overcome it in a realistic manner. I love all of those things, but it's the older folks that I love best in these books. I love to see parents and grandparents, most of them in their 50s and 60s, who aren't (usually) reduced to caricatures and who all get their own chances at love and happiness, no matter how odd or disheveled or seemingly over-the-hill they may be. Jill Mansell, like love itself, doesn't discriminate.
In short, this is what I find most comforting about Jill Mansell and why I turn to her books again and again: Everyone Lives Happily Ever After (except for the ones who really, really don't deserve to).