Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Staying At Daisy's by Jill Mansell

Title: Staying At Daisy's 
Author: Jill Mansell 
Genre: Chick Lit (British) 
Publisher: Sourcebooks (reprint)
Release date: March 1, 2011 
Number of Pages: 512

I've really come to love books by Jill Mansell. They are filled with lots of great characters that you feel like are apart of your family by the time you finish the book. You sometimes want to shake them for their actions, but in the end when everything works out you can't help but smile and shout out "Yes! Finally!"

Staying at Daisy's is about Daisy MacLean, who helps her father run a hotel in a touristy English village and the people in her life. The tales of her friends and co workers had me laughing out loud, and I loved how each of them had a voice in the telling of the story happening. There is so much going on that it's impossible to write a short summary of what happened and do the book justice. I just loved all the characters, faults and all.

The story opens as Daisy is getting over the loss of husband, who was the king of jerks. He was cheating on her at the time of his death, and she was clueless about it. Daisy is determined not to ever date someone like him, but then she meets Dev Tyzack a year after her husbands death.  He's an ex-rugby star player for England, who is best man for a wedding going on at the hotel. There is definitely chemistry between Daisy and Dev when they first meet, but she's sure he is all wrong for her and is just a jerk used to getting his own way.

Her views on him seem solidified when the groom who just happens to be an ex of her best friend and co-worker Tara are caught together in a situation that is kind of innocent, but looks bad. Dev of course thinks that Tara is a home wrecker while Daisy defends her friend and refuses to fire her like everyone in the wedding party wants.  Tara feels awful about what happened with the groom-Dominic, and manages to take the blame for everything that happened and saves the wedding from being canceled. Dev and Daisy keep having run ins where Daisy is at her worst, and eventually they both feel bad about being so awful to each other and gradually warm up to each other after Dev takes her on a drive to sort things out and she helps him pick out the most adorable little dog ever featured in a book, Clarissa. 

Through out the past year  Daisy's been corresponding with Barney, one of the people who received an organ from her husband. Barney wants to meet Daisy in person to thank her for the donation of a kidney that saved his life. Daisy agrees to meet him, and falls instantly in love with the hotel and the village. He's tired of his dead end job and wants a change~it of course has nothing to do with the nice, cute girl with the adorable little boy he met in the village before meeting Daisy. The hotel just happens to be hiring a porter, and Barney of course jumps at the chance to get that job. Daisy can't say no to him, and he's hired on at the hotel. He settles in nicely at the hotel, and is thrilled when he meets up with the girl in the village again and they start dating. It doesn't matter to him that she lives a bit away from the village.

No one is more surprised then Daisy when Dev and Clarissa show up again to arrange a conference for his business. It requires planning, and the two are thrown together and start to become really good friends. Daisy is just afraid to take it to the next level because of everything that happened with her jerk of a husband...meanwhile Dominic has convinced Tara that he's in a heartless marriage, and she's the only one who can understand him. Against her better judgment, she starts seeing him just to talk about stuff. She feels horribly guilty, but has had such bad luck with men that she feels that Dominic is the only one who understands her. She also feels horrible because she can't Daisy what's going on because of everything that went on in her marriage.We also have Maggie, Tara's aunt who is going through a trying time of her own~she's secretly been seeing Daisy's dad, Hector.  It wasn't a serious relationship, but she is devastated though when Hector starts seeing someone else~a famous guest at the hotel. 

All the characters mentioned above (and a few more) come together to create a great story filled with lots of  great life lessons (follow your heart, nothing ever comes from lying and be true to yourself) and twists and turns that you won't see coming. Daisy, Maggie and Tara made me love them even though their actions on their way to self discovery made me want to shake some sense into them! One of the truly great but sometimes confusing part about Jill Mansells books are that every chapter or so the voice of the character telling the story changes. I found myself wanting more of each persons story then what I was getting, but was happy with how everything turned out in the end. This is one of the few books that I cheated and read the ending after the first chapter. I just had to see who Daisy ended up! Even though I cheated, I was still surprised with how everything came together. I loved how all the characters involved story lines ended and weren't forgotten.

Staying at Daisy's will have you laughing, crying and groaning out load. This book  may seem a little daunting because of the length of the book and all the characters involved, it's definitely worth it. I can't wait to read more by Jill Mansell. I'm not doing a meter because while it's chick lit, there is romance involved, but it's not the entire story.