Chick lit and jet-lag go together like … well, chunky toast with vegemite. (Also good for jet-lag, in case you were wondering.) So when Jill Mansell’s latest book landed on my doorstep shortly after I’d just survived 48 hours of long-haul flights, delays and insomnia-plagued transit, I took to my bed and devoured it in one go. The story revolves around Dexter, a Londoner and die-hard party boy who’s literally living the dream with good looks, pots of money and oodles of hot chicks who are simply panting to be lured back to his gleaming bachelor pad.
But, Dexter’s bubble bursts in a big way when his beloved sister Laura dies suddenly, leaving him the unexpected guardian of her eight-month-old daughter, Delphi. Dexter knows as much about babies as he does about long-term commitment, but it’s soon clear to the army of social workers gauging his potential parenting skills – and Dexter himself – that his old life isn’t going to cut the mustard. So, he decides to pack it all in and move with Delphi to his holiday cottage in the Cotswolds, where he’s befriended by his next-door neighbour Molly, a cartoonist, and the other motley crew of villagers.
Although you think you know where this is all going, Mansell plugs this fast-paced story with lots of twists and turns, and plenty of subplots about the other characters. There’s Frankie and Joe, whose perfect marriage might not be so perfect. Barmaid Lois, whose bawdy charms hide a gentle soul desperate for real life. Shy but hunky Henry, Dexter’s mate from the big smoke. And more. Lots of romance and a few guesses along the way make it a fun read. And not just for jetlag sufferers.