Dexter Yates loves his fun, care-free London life; he has money, looks and girlfriends galore. But everything changes overnight when his sister dies, leaving him in charge of her eight-month-old daughter Delphi. How is he ever going to cope?
Comic-strip artist Molly Hayes lives in the beautiful Cotswold village of Briarwood. When it comes to relationships, she has a history of choosing all the wrong men. Leaving the city behind, Dex moves to Briarwood – a much better place to work on his parenting skills – and he and Molly become neighbours. There’s an undeniable connection between them. But if Dexter’s going to adapt, he first has a lot to learn about Molly, about other people’s secrets…and about himself.
Before I picked up Don’t Want to Miss a Thing I was a little wary; I’ve read quite a lot of heartbreaking books lately that deal beautifully with the loss of a loved one but to be honest, I wasn’t sure I could cope with another sad read. But I love Jill’s book and have faith that she’ll always make smile so I grabbed a box of tissues and started reading.
I’m so pleased I did because Don’t Want to Miss a Thing is actually my favourite of Jill’s books that I’ve read so far. And although there is a sad story behind Dex’s change of lifestyle, this is a witty, romantic and surprising story about moving forward and taking chances in life and love and left me with a big smile on my face.
The book’s opening shows two sides to leading man Dex; the handsome, sports-car driving, fashion conscious ladies man with the pristine apartment and high-flying job and the sweet, caring brother who dashes to his sister’s side on the night she gives birth (charming the nurse to let him in after hours on the way!). As Dex meets his niece Delphi for the first time just hours after her birth it is love at first sight and despite his best efforts to appear otherwise, this encounter with Delphi and his relationship with his sister proved to me that he was really a nice bloke.
As tragedy strikes and Dex is left the sole relative of baby Delphi, he has a choice to make and I loved his development as a character as he decides to take the leap and fulfil his sister’s wishes by caring for Delphi. I felt Jill captured the feelings that come with being a new parent really well and there was a lot that I identified with as Dex moves to the country town of Briarwood to begin a new life with Delphi. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see if it would all work out for them.
There are some wonderfully true and funny moments with baby Delphi that anyone who has looked after a small baby for any length of time will identify with and despite not being able to speak, she stole the show for me. I loved Jill’s descriptions of her noises and actions and as mum to an 18 month old I felt that they were very realistic and gave Delphi a wonderful personality of her own.
Mansell has created a great village community in the residents of Briarwood and Don’t Want to Miss a Thing is so much more than Dex and Delphi’s story. Dex’s neighbour Molly was one of my favourite characters throughout and from her unconventional first meeting with Dex (involving a dead fish), I thought the chemistry between them was great. I loved the way that she didn’t hold back in her opinions or emotions! Despite the fab chemistry though, Mansell kept me guessing throughout as to whether they would actually end up together!
There are several detailed sub-plots to the novel too as cafe owner Frankie and her daughter Amber make a shocking discovery and an old face returns to the village stirring memories of her romantic past. Don’t Want to Miss a Thing has a great message about what ‘family’ is and the ups and downs of parenthood in all its guises. It’s also a fresh, funny and surprising story of love at any age and I absolutely loved all the different love stories throughout the novel.
With so many varied and engaging characters and a host of surprise twists and turns, I was as engrossed with the sub plots as with the main story and found it an uplifting, romantic and very entertaining read – highly recommended!
Don’t Want to Miss a Thing is out now in Hardback and ebook formats.
I’d like to thank Helena at Headline for sending me a review copy of this book.
You can find out more about Jill and her novels at: http://www.jillmansell.co.uk/