Book review: ‘Rumor Has It’ by Jill Mansell

It’s official: I have a literary crush on Jill Mansell.

Her writing is quick-witted, fast-paced and entertaining. She’s quirky. She’s irreverent. Each of her characters is infused with personality and charisma, fully fleshed-out and, often, hilarious. And Rumor Has It is awesome.

Londoner Tilly Cole walks into her home one day to discover her live-in boyfriend of many years has “done a runner.” Startled by just how heartbroken she doesn’t feel, Tilly gets away to visit her friend Erin in Roxborough, out in the Cotswolds, for a little fresh air and time to regroup. It’s there that she meets Max Dineen, a local single dad, and his daughter Lou — as well as Jack Lucas, the “tragic widower” whose gorgeous physique competes with his wit and friendly manner in terms of grabbing Tilly’s attention.

Knowing she has little left for her in London and eager to begin a new phase of her life, Tilly takes a job working as Max and Lou’s “Girl Friday,” helping out with Max’s interior decorating business and generally being a pal and helper for teenage Lou. When Kaye, Lou’s mom and Max’s ex-wife, is caught up in a Hollywood scandal and returns to England, Tilly immediately worries her easy relationship with the Dineens will be threatened — and her services no longer required. But it’s not as simple as all that.

In fact, nothing in Rumor Has It is simple — or an easy out, as far as Mansell’s concerned. Bring into the fold the burgeoning love between Erin and Fergus, a man still plagued by his drama queen ex-wife Stella, and a complete cast of extra quirky characters and then just try not to be bewitched by Roxborough. I certainly was.

We all know of my notorious obsession with England, so I gobbled up the British idioms and vocab like a fresh package of Peeps. In all of my far-ranging experience with chick lit, it doesn’t get much more “chick lit-y” than Mansell — and, for that matter, no British chick lit author surpasses her in my eyes. Her writing is so fresh and fun and the male leads so charismatic, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the men in her books.

In Rumor Has It, I was thoroughly charmed by Jack and further entranced by him as more of his story comes out. Tilly is warned off him from the start, told that he’s a womanizer and a heartbreaker — but Jack’s easygoing manner don’t seem to match the image she’s presented. And as she worked to set aside her insecurities and get to know him, I did, too.

What I love about Mansell’s novels are the realistic, fun and funky heroines — ordinary women who aren’t models, aren’t wildly successful, aren’t supernaturally beautiful: just regular people capable of great feeling. Tilly thinks like I do, acts like I do — has ridiculous things happen to her, just like we all do. (Think reeking of garlic breath just as the man of your dreams finally comes in for a romantic kiss. Yeah.) It’s the tiny details that set this and other novels, like Millie’s Fling, apart for me. And I adore them.

4.5 out of 5!

ISBN: 1402237324 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by publisher

20 thoughts on “Book review: ‘Rumor Has It’ by Jill Mansell

  1. Ooooh….fantastic review!!! I wish that you lived closer to me, we could grab coffee and chat about our love for chick-lit and Jill Mansell, *sigh*. For now, I’ll just have to leave a comment on this post!


  2. Lovely review I will make sure to read this, years ago I read “Falling for you” and it was really good.
    I am also a fun of british chick lit there are so many good authors. I would like to recommend “Bachelor Boys” by Kate Saunders, it’s a favorite of mine but pretty much unknown.


  3. I can completely relate to your obsession with England. Peeps … well … not so much! This sounds like something I’d really enjoy — I love what you said about “regular people capable of great feeling!”


  4. I can’t believe I haven’t read a Jill Mansell novel yet! Thanks for the great review and the rec. I’m going out tomorrow to see if I can find some of her books at my local bkstore.


  5. i love it when you love books.
    it makes it easier for me to add things to my reading list. 😉

    thanks for the congrats, meg! and that’s so cool that your sister decorated her cap too. it makes me feel less crazy.


  6. i miss living in europe and having all sorts of wonderful brit-chick lit easily available. i have just tried to request this, but library doesn’t have it yet. but i did put on hold 3 of her other books!

    i can’t wait to read them 🙂


  7. i keep waiting for you to start spelling ‘english-style’…and now that i’m thinking of it, shouldn’t the title be rumour instead of rumor? lol.

    i’m glad this book was one of your ‘favourites’, my little english darling. i need some light and fluffy reads…maybe i’ll snap this one up! xo


  8. Nat, the title is Rumour Has It in the UK. When a book is adapted for the American market all the spellings and quite a few of the British terms are altered, to make it more readable. But quite a few British expressions still slip through!


  9. I love this quote: “It’s official: I have a literary crush on Jill Mansell.” I’ve already called myself a Jill Mansell Junkie! LOL I’m reading this one now, and I love it. Her books are just good fun!


  10. Well, if I hadn’t already been planning on reading Mansell soon, I certainly would be now after reading this review! It’s a great review and I have now officially put her novels on a “buy soon” list.


  11. I’ve never read anything by Mansell, and how is that that she’s not even on my to-read list? Must change that right now. I love me some good british chick lit 🙂


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