When Josh Strachan, newly returned to his home in north Cornwall from sunny California, first meets Sophie Wells, he's immediately smitten. Sophie's pretty, she's funny, she has lots of friends and she clearly loves her job as a photographer, despite the sometimes tricky clients. There's just one problem: Sophie has very firmly turned her back on love. It's nothing personal, she tells Josh, but she just doesn't do dates. And no one - even Sophie's scatty best friend Tula - will tell him why. Josh is sure Sophie likes him, though, and he's just got to find out what's put her off romance. And then put things right...
Review: Although she has written a large number of books, this was the first Jill Mansell story that I have read. I actually listened to it as an audiobook and found it a very entertaining companion on a long car journey. The storyline drew me in right from the start and kept my interest all the way through.
The story has a really powerful cast of varied characters, all of them strong and interesting, with well-described back stories. Among the central characters, are: Sophie, a young professional photographer who has settled in the area; her friend, Tula, who moves from the city to join her; Josh, who has returned to the town to run a local hotel with his grandmother; and the apparently lazy and work-shy local boy, Riley, who lives with his writer aunt.
There are all sorts of storylines going on within the book. Sophie is struggling to overcome a tragedy in her past and trying hard to move on. Josh in particular, is puzzled by her attitude and is keen to help her. Tula's attitudes to men are also coloured by past experiences. Even the more minor characters are involved in dramatic situations. It's not plain sailing for anyone.
The action takes place in a small Cornish seaside town, lots of it in the hotel run by Josh and his grandmother. The hotel has a really picturesque setting overlooking the beach, with a path down to the sand. It sounds really idyllic. You can almost picture the beach, with its mixture of families playing in the sand and surfers taking advantage of the waves.
I thought that this story was really skilfully written. It has great depth to it and plenty going on to keep the reader's interest. It would make a great addition to anyone's pile of holiday reading. Having now read my first Jill Mansell book, I shall be looking out for her next one with anticipation.