Ellie Kendall's beloved husband, Jamie, is killed in an auto accident. She's had a really hard time dealing with it and finds herself talking to him frequently. It's not just that she's talking to him either she conjures him up like a ghost and carries on conversations with him. Ellie just doesn't want to give up anything that reminds her of Jamie, even their apartment until Jamie's father almost forces her to move.
With that move, Ellie recognizes that she needs to make some change in her life. She reconnects with Jamie's best friend, Todd and makes a new friend in her neighbor Roo. She also changes jobs so her co-workers won't look at her with pity and her boss will stop trying to suggest inappropriate things.
Ellie's new boss, Zack wants someone who is not going to bother him according to his last PA, personal assistant. What neither the past PA or Ellie know is Zack has been attracted to Ellie since he saw her in a restaurant! He'd like for Ellie to let him take her out.
As Ellie begins to regain her life, Zack watches and waits for the right time to approach her. But when she starts dating, he wonders if he's waited too long.
Absolutely, positively an outstanding story.
The characters are fantastic. Ellie comes to life within a few pages as does Jamie. Hard to believe but even though Jamie is dead his character carries on! Anyway, Ellie has a life and sometimes it's fun and easy, like going to the Rocky Horror Picture Show and sometimes it's confusing like kissing Todd and sometimes it's wonderful like when she falls in love. Along all of this though she brings Jamie to help her, comfort her or to just be there. Zack has a complex business, shares a dog with a neighbor and starts off with a girlfriend he doesn't really want. He likes to do the right thing but around Ellie, he's not always right.
The primary setting is London. There are lots of parts of London, some better than others. Ellie starts off in a section that goes from okay to bad very quickly. The reasons and how are explained in a matter of fact way which makes sense. She moves to a much nicer neighborhood and that neighborhood feel comes across. The fact that you know that this is part of London doesn't lessen the feel that this is a small town. From the neighborhood cafes to the charity stores, it's a small bit of London come to life.
Friendship is a theme throughout. Friends help friends and feel for friend and are there for friends. All of those thoughts are there and much more. Todd was primarily Jamie's friend but he was also friends with Ellie. After Jamie's gone, how can Ellie not blame him? At first Roo has no idea that Ellie is a widow and tells her it's time to get over the guy who left her. Ellie's not sure if she should be appalled or thrilled. Relationships are always changing, including friendships.
I loved this book. I felt for Ellie, for Todd and occasionally could smack Roo. I got involved with these characters as they worked their way through their lives. From beginning to end, my interest was engaged and I couldn't wait to find out the ending.
Jill Mansell is one of the biggest authors of women's fiction in the UK with a growing audience in the U.S. Her appeal lies in her poignant, funny, romantic love stories with secondary characters from different generations that draw a huge female audience from 16 to 60, and the kind of plot twists and complications that make every book a pageturner.
Newly widowed Ellie moves to London's glamorous Primrose Hill to start over, and life is looking up. But her new boss, Zack McLaren, is terribly distracting as he does everything he can to win her attention and her affection.