Staying at Daisy’s, by Jill Mansell, is an enjoyable and fun piece of fiction. Like many of Mansell’s other books, it pulls the readers right into an idyllic piece of English country life.
Daisy may have the same problems of the heart as most other heroines in this type of book, but she likes her job, running a hotel, and is very good at it. Even if there is an impossibly handsome and wealthy man—former rugby player Dev—as the object of Daisy’s affection, the rest of the book manages to avoid clichés by including many refreshing nods to reality—like how frustrating it is when repairmen don’t repair things.
One thing I especially liked about Staying at Daisy’s was the way it alternated between so many characters’ points of view. The book has subplots galore, so in some ways reading it is like watching a (good) soap opera: there’s a lot going on and it’s never boring.
While Daisy gets the slight majority of the narrative, it’s fun to get in the heads of other characters like Tara, the best friend, and Maggie, Tara’s aunt. Tara is a bit of a mess, but that may make readers sympathize with her romantic problems all the more. Maggie is somewhat older than the typical romantic heroine, but that doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t have a happy ending as well. Her escapades, which involve a broken washing machine, are highlights of the book.
In addition, it’s nice to read about characters who can be friends with benefits and don’t suffer any ill consequences. While nearly every character wants to find love, the book makes it plain that doing so is far from the easiest thing to do. Unless, that is, love has been right under their noses all along. Staying at Daisy’s doesn’t place any judgment on characters who settle for sex when they can’t find love; instead, most of the characters have a moment of self-realization where they discover they have fallen in love, in spite of themselves.
Rachel, who has a Ph.D. in English, is a freelance writer/editor and a voracious reader. You can talk to her about books at http://twitter.com/writehandmann.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Sourcebooks Landmark. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.