It was difficult to come down from my Harry Potter high and choose another book to read, but alas, the show must go on. I softened the blow with another cotton candy fluff of a novel from Jill Mansell: Rumor Has It.
Tilly Cole has recently departed London, the scene of a rather surprising breakup, to visit her dearest friend Erin in quaint little Roxborough (picture Stars Hollow but in England) where Erin owns the local dress shop. The intense small-town charm is enough to make Tilly want to stay for good, especially when she ends up with a job as personal assistant to interior designer Max Dineen. Tilly’s main task is to help Max care for his 13-year-old daughter Lou, whose mother Kaye is off in America being a soap opera star, but she soon finds herself in the midst of multiple scandals.
Despite her best efforts, Tilly falls fast for the town playboy, Jack Lucas. Jack has a sordid history of womanizing, and every single female in town is constantly throwing themselves at him, even the Dineens’ dog Betty. Tilly learns that it all stems from Jack losing his fiance Rose in a tragic drowning accident years ago, which only makes her want him more. Tilly also soon learns that sweet little Erin has been shacking up with a married man, Fergus. It’s not as bad as it sounds, though; Fergus is separated from his wife Stella and did not start seeing Erin until after they broke up, but that doesn’t stop Stella from making a huge fuss about it all around town. So now Tilly and Erin are just trying to stay sane and keep their heads above water while their personal lives get messier by the minute.
This novel goes a little deeper and gets a little darker than Thinking of You — there’s the dead fiance Rose, Max is gay (hence the divorce from Lou’s mother Kaye) and it causes a bit of ruckus at Lou’s school, Stella winds up getting very aggressive cancer, Kaye runs over a poor little chihuahua (I obviously did NOT enjoy that part) thus ruining her entire Hollywood career — but all ends up pretty much OK in the end. Possibly a little too OK, but isn’t that exactly what this type of novel is for?