Blog 114: Miranda’s Big Mistake by Jill Mansell – an average romance

Miranda is thrilled when she meets Greg at a cocktail party. He’s gorgeous, he’s funny – and he’s very keen. Just what a girl needs to put some sparkle in her life. Heavens, he’s practically perfect! Greg likes Miranda a lot. She’s young, she’s pretty, and she never talks about babies. Of course he hasn’t told her everything about himself – even the sweetest girls can be a bit funny about a man who’s just left his newly pregnant wife. But there’s no way she’s going to find out – or is there? Luckily for Miranda men are like buses – you don’t see any for ages then three come along at once. She just needs to catch the right one…

This started off well enough, though I did find Miranda faintly irritating from the start – she’s just too ditsy and so terribly nice that I instantly took against her, as it were. However, that’s not a huge problem, as her friends and colleagues provide a far greater level of interest and have a decent-ish amount of page space – so if you get fed up with Miranda, then you soon have Chloe (who is Greg’s newly pregnant and abandoned wife) and Bev (the man-mad colleague) to look forward to and concentrate on.

Greg, of course, is the man we all love to hate – he blames Chloe for getting pregnant and breaking her word to him about not wanting babies and instantly leaves her. Because he’s just a very nasty man, to be honest. He’s also rather unbelievable as I simply didn’t credit that Greg could be such a downright despicable cad and yet get two nice women (Chloe and later Miranda) to fall for him. He’s really more caricature than character – and this is also the case with Chloe’s dreadful boss and his wife. Both of these people are frankly so horrible that I just kept laughing at them, and I’m not convinced that was the reaction Mansell was intending. Oh well.

Never mind, as there are a couple of menfolk in the mix who are adorable in every way – Fenn, the definitely straight hairdresser, and Miles, the lovely and witty famous racing driver, are a delight and should have had far more page space here than they actually do. It’s a bit of a lost opportunity for the men, to be honest. Also, something dreadful happens to Miles about three-quarters of the way through which I think was totally unnecessary and rather stupid – and this leaves the way free for journalist Danny to take the place of the dreadful Greg as Miranda’s potential partner. Are you keeping up at the back? I do hope so!…

It’s a shame then that Danny is so terribly shallow and unattractive – in fact at one point after the Miles Debacle, he thinks something so utterly prejudiced and unloving about Miranda’s potential relationship with Miles that I wanted to beat him to death with his own laptop. What a horrible man! Really, he and the irritating Miranda probably deserve one another but they’re definitely not going to be happy as they simply don’t gel …

So there it is. A mixed bag of a book, with an unlikeable heroine and hero, but with some very good secondary characters we should have seen more of.

Verdict: 3 stars. Average.

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