You and Me Always by Jill Mansell

You and Me Always by Jill Mansell
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (382 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

On the morning of Lily’s twenty-fifth birthday, it’s time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.

Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum’s life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie’s attentions.

Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily’s friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again…

Humor, with a delightful British flavor, threads through the story like twinkle light strung in the trees. It varies from subtle to blatant and from dark to light, adding both fun and insight.

The back stories of many of the characters is sad; yet they cope with, survive, and overcome the past is a theme that tugs at one’s heart. Lily’s story is amazing.

Lily Harper, who could have been SO alone from early childhood, has a bevy of people who love her and claim her as friend and family. Every one of them adds depth to the plot.

Patsy, Lily’s used-to-be baby-sitter, had me smiling and feeling sorry for her at the same time. That dear woman had “to kiss so many frogs’ before she found a prince. But what a prince she did end up with—perfect.

Patsy’s younger brother Dan who had been Lily’s teasing, pestering, big brother figure as they grew up together, grew up to be a different story, complicated, gorgeous, with a secret he guarded well. Not until Lily has a fling with the much-sought-after movie star Eddie Tresslar does Dan come clean. The foreshadowing keeps the reader in the loop and kept me turning pages to see when it was going to happen.

Declan, who had been important in Lily’s mother’s life one year between high school and college, connects with the twenty-five year old Lily and ties in with the doings in Stanton Langley in a way that makes one’s heart happy—one of the best parts of the story

The villain in the story really sets one’s teeth on edge. Keir Bourne, with his self-centered, “poor-me” attitude and total disregard for others, stirs up things in Stanton Langley—Lily’s hometown. He causes way too much hurt to Lily and her friends. How the friendships survive his machinations reveals a special strength of character in the all these interesting characters.

You and Me, Always is a captivating, vicarious visit with some wonderful, good-secret-keeping characters. It’s an entertaining get-away. I’ll bet it’s been a while since you’ve read a love story that mentions a “re-velvet coffin.” Lots of fun things in this one!

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