Promise Me by Jill Mansell – ARC Review!

One minute Lou is happily employed, with a perfect flat. The next, her home and job have gone. Suddenly she has to start over.

The last thing Lou wants is to move to a tiny Cotswolds village. She certainly doesn’t intend to work for curmudgeonly eighty-year-old Edgar Allsopp. But Edgar is about to make her the kind of promise nobody could ignore. In return, she secretly vows to help him fall in love with life again.

Foxwell is also home to Remy, whose charm and charisma are proving hard to ignore. But Lou hasn’t recovered from the last time she fell for a charmer. She needs a distraction – and luckily one’s about to turn up.

Secrets never stay hidden for long in Foxwell, nor are promises always kept. And no one could guess what lies ahead…

Jill Mansell has done it again! Her books never fail to make me feel good, as well as a rigmarole of emotions, and Promise Me is the latest book that does just that. Lou needs a change in life, she just didn’t plan on having everything change in one big swoop. Job, gone. House, gone, she finds herself moving in & working for the grumpy Edgar Allsopp, especially after he offers her a benefit no one could turn down. Now living in the same quaint little Cotswold town as her best friend, and his devastatingly handsome older brother Remy, Lou finds herself on a mission to bring Edgar out of his shell and make him fall in love with life again, and if Lou herself falls in love along the way, well, whats a girl to do?

I’m going to say it… Yes, this is Lou’s story, but if you’ve ever read a Mansell book before you will know she likes to weave in multiple, smaller story lines & characters to really get you invested in the story and I quickly fell in love with grumpy old Edgar Allsopp. Yes, he was a miserable old man who could be quite cutting and mean, but there was just something about him, something a little broken that really endeared him to me, and when he was introduced to Captain Oates, the dog version of himself, you could see him start to open up a little more. Lou herself was fantastic, she’s witty, helpful to a fault and also incredibly determined. Determined to help Edgar find happiness again, always putting herself after others. Lou is also someone who is recovering from a past, abusive relationship, and I loved how Jill dealt with this, allowing Lou the time to work through it and grow to trust herself before jumping into anything new. Though this is a romance book, the scenes between Lou and Edgar really stole the show for me and I loved seeing the progression of their relationship.

As well as Lou and Edgar, Mansell, as always, gives us a standout cast of side characters from our love interest, Remy, to Sammy, Lou’s best friend and Remy’s younger brother. And while I found myself loving most of them, there were a few that I just couldn’t help but hate a little. These characters are written so incredibly well, their sleaziness and entitlement leaps off the page and I was certainly happy when they got their comeuppance.

One thing I always love about Jill’s books, and romance in general, is knowing what’s going to happen. There’s something comforting about going into a story knowing who is going to end up with who, that our characters will get their HEA and, apart from a few emotional plot twists along the way, Promise Me does just that. It’s filled with emotions, drama and plenty of romance and there is a certain bit that had me in sheds of tears, but Jill is a master at putting a happy spin on even the most traumatic of events, getting the balance between heartbreak and happiness just right. I’m also constantly in awe of, and constantly wanting to visit the settings for her books. From sleepy seaside towns, to quaint villages, she never fails to make the setting a character in itself and Foxwell is the perfect sounding Cotswold village filled with quaint little shops, and neighbours who know everybody’s business.

There were multiple romances weaved in throughout the story, as is Jill’s way, and these all come with their own drama, tension and happy moments. Lou and Remy are the slowest of slow burn, filled with crackling tension, plenty of will they/wont they scenes and is the epitome of two idiots in love, and I adored every second we got to spend with them. And alongside them we have Sammy & Jess which is a relationship we get to see progress throughout the story and is one that shows the realities of being together, and theirs added plenty of drama and emotion to the story.

If you’re looking for a feel-good, uplifting style romance filled with characters you will both love and hate and set in the quaintest little Cotswold town… look no further. I have been a fan of Jill’s for years now, and Promise Me is just the latest story that ensures I continue to love everything she writes.

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