February 9, 2012

To the Moon and Back

To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell
2011 Sourcebooks
Finished 1/29/12
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher’s Blurb:

The hardest part of love is moving on…

It’s been a year since Ellie Kendall’s husband, Jamie, was killed in an accident, but she’s still haunted by his memory. In fact, she finds herself talking to him regularly. At the urging of Jamie’s successful actor father Tony, Ellie moves to London’s glamorous Primrose Hill, where nobody knows her past…

But even in her new home—and with her hardworking new boss, Zack McLaren; and Jamie’s best friend Todd to distract her—Ellie can’t seem to leave Jamie behind. Will Ellie stay stuck in the past? Or will she realize the man of her dreams is flesh and blood—and right in front of her eyes…

I first learned about Jill Mansell and her latest novel, To the Moon and Back, last fall after reading Bookfool's glowing review. Eager to try a new author, I added the title to my list, but I need not have bothered as Nancy was sweet enough to send me her copy. I finally moved it from one of my towering stacks in my office to one of my towering stacks on my nightstand, vowing to read it in January. Success!

Reminiscent of Bridget Jones’ Diary and Holly’s Inbox, I was quickly drawn into Ellie’s story, enjoying the London setting and all the wonderful references to England. (I am such a British word nerd and have to make a conscious effort to not say “queue” or “lorry” or “Bloody Hell!” after reading these sort of books.) Nancy said she whipped through it in a couple of days, but it took me closer to a week. Of course, I’ve been juggling a few books at a time (not my usual routine), so I may have been able to finish this one in a few short days, had I been reading it exclusively. As Nancy said, it’s fun and breezy, and the pages practically turn themselves.

So why didn’t I love it? The three main male characters never sounded convincing. I couldn’t get past the fact that they sounded more like women than men. What do you think? How often do you hear a man say “thingy?” As in, “What was that invention thingy he’d heard about? Some kind of dexterity test connected to your computer that you had to pass before it would allow you to access the internet.” And, “But since he hadn’t had that particular invention thingy installed, he hadn’t even needed to do that.” Or, what about this, “Earlier, as he’d been standing outside the restaurant taking a phone call, a girl in a pink coat had caught his eye as she headed down the street towards him. Her hair was long and dark, her eyes light brown, her cheeks rosy, and the effect she’d had on him was extraordinary; he couldn’t stop looking at her. Whoever she was, he wanted to know more. Heavens, what a weird feeling; he’d never experienced anything like this before.” Heavens? Really? Do men say that? Even in their heads?

I enjoyed the book, but found myself getting a bit restless, wishing for something a little more literary or thought-provoking. Can I finally admit that chick-lit is not my thing? But maybe it’s yours. If you’re in the mood for a fluffy British romp, Jill Mansell may just be your cuppa tea.

Go here to read Nancy’s review.

Final thoughts: What the heck is a wine gum?

Pretty British cover art:


  1. I enjoy Mansell's books from time to time, but they are light and fluffy!

  2. Wine gums are soft, chewy candy which comes in different flavours.

    I like Mansell's books, especially when i am in the mood for something light and fluffy!

  3. I'm with you. Not my thing. I always kind of chuckle when I read a book by a woman with a man who notices things - rooms, clothes, hair. This doesn't happen in my reality. :<)

    It is such an enervating feeling to not love what you're reading. I've been working on the same slim book since January, and finally just stopped last evening. I'd had it. The author was sweet and kind, but I wasn't interested in his life.

  4. I love Jill Mansell's books when I want to read something light and upbeat, but I admit I didn't think you'd like her (although, sometimes I'm actually *wrong* about your taste, haha -- oh, well, not this time). I'd never given any thought at all to the fact that the men think like women! Funny! I love her heroines because they tend to be very perky and I find the reading refreshing.

    As to the wine gums . . . I cannot tell you how many funky-sounding foods I've looked for in England because of Jill Mansell's books! She has a tendency to have her characters munch on things I've never heard of, even after several trips to the UK. Last time, we found Jammy Dodgers and brought some home to see what they were like. Ugh, I thought they were disgusting. Kiddo liked them, but he'll eat anything.

    The parcel you sent arrived safely and I am *loving* it. Will try to write you soon. Thanks so much!

  5. I loved this one. Was actually my favorite of hers that I've read to-date. I honestly didn't even think of those words coming out of a man's mouth!! LOL! But at least you liked it and didn't hate it!

  6. I'm so rarely in the mood for books like this...

  7. Kathy - Who knows. I may give one of her earlier books a try, but I'll have to be in the mood for light & fluffy. Could happen. :)

    Marg - But they don't taste like wine, right? I'll have to try some next time I visit London. Thanks for the info.

    Nan - I gave up on three audio books and one printed book all within a span of a week! I'm through with plodding through books that don't capture my attention. (That said, I did stick it out with Eugenides' The Marriage Plot. Ho-hum review coming soon.)

    Nancy - I felt bad that I didn't love this as much as you and I so appreciate you sending it to me. I'm going to "pay it forward" and include it in a give-away later this month. Hopefully, it will go to someone who falls in love with Mansell's writing. I did think it would make a cute movie, maybe starring Jude Law and Zooey Daschanel? ;)

    Glad the cd arrived and happy to hear that you love it! You're very welcome.

    Staci - Hmm, if this was your favorite, maybe I shouldn't try any of her others. LOL! Yep. I liked it. Pretty well actually. Just didn't love it.

    JoAnn - I used to enjoy them, but anymore I'm looking for something with a bit more substance.

  8. Well, at least ultimately you thought it was "good." My attempt became a DNF! : /


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