The Unpredictable Consequences of Love

Wednesday 25 June 2014 by

The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, Jill Mansell, Headline, BookThe Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell

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In the idyllic seaside town of St Carys, Sophie is putting the past firmly behind her.

When Josh Strachan arrives in St Carys to run the family hotel, he can’t understand why Sophie has zero interest in letting any man into her life. He also can’t understand how he’s been duped into employing Sophie’s impulsive friend Tula, whose crush on him is decidedly unrequited.

St Carys has more than its fair share of characters, including the charming but utterly feckless surfer Riley Bryant, who has a massive crush on Tula. Riley’s aunt is superstar author Marguerite Marshall. And Marguerite has designs on Josh’s grandfather… who in turns still adores his glamorous ex-wife, Dot…

Just how many secrets can one seaside town hold? Love has the ability to change people, sometimes for ever. And the consequences are impossible to predict.

~*~

There’s nothing quite like some simple escapism every now and then, and The Unpredictable Consequences of Love is just that.

Based alternately between Birmingham and the seaside town of St Carys, the story flits between varying romantic complications, centring mostly on Sophie (the adorable-yet-unapproachable photographer) and Josh (the ex-band-manager-turned-hotel-owner).

Genuinely, this is pure escapism, with predictable plotline and characters with less depth than a cardboard cut-out. But there’s something joyously unapologetic about the clichéd dialogue and Disney-twee romance where they all skip off into the sunset happily ever after.

I can’t say I read what is loosely termed “chick lit” (but is really more often than not just feel-good romance) because often I am distracted by the literary big-hitters that grace the review pages, and the award ceremonies (and often the offer tables in my local Waterstones). But when I do, I totally immerse myself. Who doesn’t want to enter a world where your biggest problem is being swept off your feet by the tall, dark and handsome stranger?

For the more frequent reader of this genre, you will instantly recognise each of the characters – from brooding, to feckless, to wild-but-big-hearted, each have their role to play. But the joy of this is its predictability, and you look no further. The only thing that really, desperately bothers me is the use of suicide as a plot-ploy. It’s poorly done, and more offensive than sympathetic.

If I were to stand it up against the other books I have been reading of late, then it would fare badly indeed. But then stand it on its own or amongst its fellow romances, and things start to perk up. After the righteous feminism of The Vagenda, to the light-hearted romp of The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, I feel I have traversed the spectrum of the psyche of a woman, and come out all the happier for it.

Please don’t imagine this will take you on an exploration of the greater aspects on the meaning of life. It’s a light read, for the beach (or sun lounger in the back garden), and perhaps a particularly fruity cocktail beside you. It’s a romp – swiftly negotiating the many manifestations of love, whether it be unrequited or ever-lasting. But it’s nothing more.

You can follow Fran on Twitter: @CatwomanFran

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The Unpredictable Consequences of Love was a review copy courtesy of BookBridgr – all views are honest and my own.

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2 Comments

  1. Jill Mansell

    Hi Fran,
    I’m sorry you felt the use of suicide as a plot-ploy was poorly done and offensive. I worked in a neurological hospital with suicidal patients for almost twenty years and also have personal experience with the subject. My aim was to demonstrate the extent to which other people are affected by it and I worked very hard to portray that with complete accuracy. It was in no way meant to offend.
    Best
    Jill Mansell

    • Fran

      Hi Jill – thank you for taking the time to read the blog and write to me! And thank you for explaining further.

      In an attempt to clarify – for me, I felt that there was an imbalance of blame between Sophie and Theo, and that Theo seemed to fare better from it. Although I can see that if it were told from another perspective it may be different, and perhaps the term “offend” was wide of the mark here. In truth, I struggle to read about this topic, as I too have had personal experience with the subject, and that may have altered my opinion as well.

      For me, the book had merits without this part of the plot (I would have loved to see more of Marguerite!) and for me it was simply something that didn’t work.

      Thanks again

      Fran.

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