Take a Chance on Me

Take a Chance on Me

4.2 222
by Jill Mansell
     
 

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Even in a small town the drama is larger than life...

Cleo Quinn doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to men, but now Will's come along. Handsome and attentive, he could be her Mr Right. Things are definitely looking up for Cleo... apart from one small problem with a rather large ego. Johnny LaVenture, sculptor extraordinaire and her

Overview

Even in a small town the drama is larger than life...

Cleo Quinn doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to men, but now Will's come along. Handsome and attentive, he could be her Mr Right. Things are definitely looking up for Cleo... apart from one small problem with a rather large ego. Johnny LaVenture, sculptor extraordinaire and her personal childhood nemesis, is back in Channing's Hill and tormenting her as if he'd never been away.

Meanwhile Cleo's sister Abbie has a problem of her own-husband Tom has become distant and withdrawn, and she's determined to find out why. But will the shocking truth mean the end of their idyllically happy marriage?

The sisters are about to discover that the past can come back to haunt you, and that love can flourish in the unlikeliest of places...

Praise for Jill Mansell:

"Pick this up at your peril: you won't get a thing done till it's finished."
-Heat Magazine

"Witty and charming, this easygoing tale is full of twists that make it hard to put down."
-Woman Magazine

"Mansell knows her craft and delivers a finely tuned romantic comedy."
-Kirkus

"A fast pace and fun writing make the story fly by."
-Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cleo has lived in the same small English village her whole life. Johnny, following the death of his father, returns from his wealthy glamorous New York life to sell the estate and reacquaint himself with his hometown. Despite a turbulent history growing up, Cleo and Johnny fall for each other. In the meantime there are plenty of other romantic hijinks going on in the village, proving that while small town life may be close-knit, it's never boring. Mansell, who has perfected the ability to portray her characters convincingly, shows a breezy familiarity with British village life, and definitely exudes charm in her latest. The characters are comical, the situations are funny, and it's a generally entertaining experience. Readers will giggle throughout and forget the whole thing by the last page.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist
Quirky characters, a charming setting, and misunderstandings aplenty make this madcap romantic comedy a fun, light read.
Queen of Happy Endings
Such an eclectic mix of characters all with their own unique ability to entertain you.
Book Girl of Mur-Y-Castell
This book [makes] me want to go to this English village and drink some tea.
Bellas Novella
I adored it.... As usual, a must read from Jill Mansell.
Book Hounds
This one has it all -- comedy, romance, great characters and a lot of action.
The Book Tree
Affairs, gossip, meddling, and hot romance are all entwined to keep the reader turning the pages.
Debbie's Book Bag
Engaging right from the beginning...
Booksie's Blog
Mansell has written another hilarious, engaging romance with characters the reader would love to meet and a plot that twists and turns and somehow manages to resolve all these romantic entanglements neatly and successfully by the end of the book.
A Bookworm's World
Yet again, Jill Mansell has created a fantastic fictional world populated with lovable, quirky characters.
Drey's Library
The humor shines through brightly, and the characters are so vivid that you can imagine this on film. This is another must-read from Jill Mansell.
Life in the Thumb
A fun, fresh romp with some delightful characters!!
Fresh Fiction
A great book full of wonder, love, and family... Jill Mansell successfully meshes all the characters' stories together, and makes it so believable you feel you are there.
The Book Chick
Jill Mansell has mastered the formula for writing fantastic chick lit.
Rundpinne
Mansell brings this cast of characters together with their joys, sorrow, foibles, and misperceptions creating flawed, realistic characters that the reader can identify with and quite easily connect. Mansell uses her trademark wit in once again creating a successful comedic romance in a delightful setting.
Smexy Books
A delightful contemporary romp that explores love, friendship, and second chances in an engaging delightful tale.
Best Romance Stories
You must take a chance and read Take a Chance on Me!
Pudgy Penguin Perusals
Mansell's unique and witty style of writing brings her characters to life like no other. By the end of the story, I felt like the characters were dear friends
Apprentice-Writer
An entertaining and thoughtful tale from the always reliable Jill Mansell.
Peeking Between the Pages
A great and fun read! This was a really good book to just sweep you away for a while...
Cindy's Love of Books
Funny, entertaining and quick reads.
Diary of an Eccentric
Mansell has become my go-to author when I need a feel-good, humorous book with well-developed, entertaining characters.
Savvy Verse & Wit
Each character is quirkier than the last, but each is endearing to readers in their own special way.
Thoughts in Progress
As with her other books, author Mansell takes everyday activities, problems we all face, charming characters, and weaves it all together into a humorous and touching story.
Between the Pages
[Jill Mansell] has the most unique style, enjoyable humor, and quirky stories.
Bookfoolery and Babble
A funny, sweet, touching, wonderful story with several flawlessly interwoven plotlines and a magical ending.
Stiletto Storytime
Sometimes it can be so nice to just cuddle up with a good book and relax...Take a Chance on Me is a great candidate for any relaxing day of reading.
Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
A very light and fun read with great British humor... Snarky repartee and sweet romance.
The Royal Reviews
A very witty book where the characters are both realistically flawed and loveable. For me Jill Mansell is the queen of British Romanic Comedy.
Books and Needlepoint
I love the way that Ms. Mansell writes and brings life to her characters.
Starting Fresh
Mansell delivers another fun chicklit escape.
From the Publisher
"Jill Mansell has mastered the formula for writing fantastic chick lit. " - Book-Chic

"Sometimes it can be so nice to just cuddle up with a good book and relax...Take a Chance on Me is a great candidate for any relaxing day of reading." - Stiletto Storytime

"Sheer escapism for those times you want to indulge in some fun, light-hearted reading." - Pudgy Penguin Perusals

"A very light and fun read with great British humor... Snarky repartee and sweet romance." - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf

"A very witty book where the characters are both realistically flawed and loveable. For me Jill Mansell is the queen of British Romanic Comedy." - The Royal Reviews

"I love the way that Ms. Mansell writes and brings life to her characters. " - Books and Needlepoint

"Mansell delivers another fun chicklit escape. " - Starting Fresh

Mansell juggles these multiple threads with effortless expertise. The writing is delightful, mixed with absurdity, humor and comedy.

Another winner by Jill Mansell. And the secondary characters are just as good as the main characters!

RT Book Reviews
Mansell's characters are quirky, charming and entertaining.
— Sabrina Cooper

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402237515
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
10/01/2010
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

'Come on, come on, late as usual.' Waiting on the porch, Ash Parry-Jones tapped his watch as Cleo and Will hurried up the graveled path. 'Better get in there and grab a seat. Place is filling up fast.'

Like it was an Elton John concert or something. Cleo paused to straighten Ash's wonky yellow-and-grey striped tie. 'Don't nag. And I can't believe you're wearing this shirt.' He looked offended. 'Who are you insulting?'

'You.' She gave his collar an affectionate tweak. 'Stripes and swirls don't go.'

They found somewhere to sit in a pew on the left-hand side of the church. As the organ music played and Will studied the order of the service, Cleo composed herself. Of course it was a sad occa­sion-it was the end of a life, after all-but as funerals went, it had to be one of the cheerier ones she'd attended.

Then again, as deaths went, Lawrence LaVenture's had been better than most. It may even count as enviable. As Lawrence himself had been fond of remarking, the family name was descended from the French word for lucky or fortunate, and he'd taken enormous pleasure in living up to it. And what rakish seventy-three-year-old widower, given the choice, wouldn't want to go as he had gone, following a sublime meal and a bottle of delicious St Emilion, in bed with an attractive blonde many many years younger than himself?

Mind you, it had given the poor woman he'd hired for the evening a bit of a shock. One minute they'd been having a high old time together, getting up to all sorts of naughtiness. The next, she'd come back into the bedroom carrying the bottle of Cognac and two glasses Lawrence had asked her to bring upstairs and there he'd been, collapsed back against the goose-down pillows, stone dead.

Peering around the church, Cleo whispered, 'Do you think she'll turn up?'

'Who?'

'The woman who was with him when he died!' Who had actu­ally technically killed him, when you thought about it. 'I want to know what she looks like.'

'She'll be the one in the black leather basque,' Will murmured. 'Stockings, garters, spike-heeled stilettos...'

Cleo dug him in the ribs, then slipped her arm through his, grateful to him for having come along. Will had never met Lawrence LaVenture, but she'd wanted him with her today and he'd obligingly taken the afternoon off work. He even knew why she'd asked him and hadn't laughed, for which she was grateful. Meeting Will Newman in a nightclub three months ago had defi­nitely been one of the happier accidents in her life. She'd been nudged from behind in a crowded bar in Bath, her drink had splashed over his sleeve, they'd got chatting as a result... and what a result it had turned out to be. Will was handsome and charming, hard-working and intelligent... basically, he was perfect in every way. Her Mr Right had finally come along and she couldn't have been happier about it.

'Could be her.' Pointing helpfully to a roly-poly woman in her sixties, squeezing into an already full pew across the aisle, Will said, 'There's a high-class hooker if ever I saw one.'

'That's Effie Farnham from Corner Cottage.'

'There's a studded leather whip hanging out of her handbag.'

'She breeds Cairn terriers. It's a dog's lead.'

'Are you sure?'

'Trust me, Effie's not the whippy kind.'

'You never know. Under that coat she could be wearing some­thing completely outrageous.'

OK, this definitely came under the heading of Too Much Information. Thankfully, before Cleo could start picturing Effie in a tasseled thong, distraction was provided by the arrival of Lawrence's family. Well, such as it was. She held her breath and watched as the three of them made their way up the aisle, two ancient creaking older sisters swathed in politically incorrect fur and supported by silver-topped ebony canes. And between them, matching his pace to theirs, Johnny LaVenture.

He was looking smarter than usual in a dark suit and with his habitually wayward black hair combed back from his forehead. For a split second, he glanced to the left and their eyes met, prompting a Pavlovian jolt of resentment in her chest. She couldn't help it; old habits died hard. Then Johnny looked away, carried on past, and took his place between his ancient aunts in the front pew.

Cleo bent her head. OK, don't think about him now. Just concentrate on the funeral. Lawrence might have been an off-the-wall character, fond of a drink and, well, various other lusty pastimes, but he'd been entertaining to have around. They were here to celebrate a life well lived.

After the service, everyone huddled up against the icy wind and made their way across the village green to the Hollybush Inn where food had been laid on and the drinks were free, as stipulated in Lawrence's last will and testament. For so many years a cornerstone of the pub, he knew how to guarantee a good turnout.

Ash, catching up with Cleo and Will, rubbed his hands together and said cheerfully, 'All went off pretty well then. I really enjoyed that, didn't you?'

And still he was managing to make it sound like an Elton John concert. Cleo said, 'You're not supposed to enjoy funerals. Next, you'll be giving it five stars on Amazon.'

'Actually, that's not a bad idea. We could do it on the show, get the listeners to call in with reviews of their favorite-'

'No you couldn't. That's just wrong. Oh God, look at my heels.' As they reached the entrance to the pub, Cleo leaned against one of the outdoor tables and used a tissue to clean away the clumps of mud and grass. 'Did you see me sinking into the ground while we were standing around the grave? I thought I was going to tip over and fall flat on my back.'

'That's why I didn't wear mine.' Ash nodded sympathetically. 'You know, you're looking good today. Scrubbed up well. Even if you don't deserve a compliment when you think of all the grief you give me.'

'It's not grief. It's constructive criticism. Which you badly need, by the way.' Having more or less cleaned her heels, Cleo lobbed the muddy tissue into the bin and adjusted her narrow cream skirt. Of course she was looking good-hadn't she put in a whole heap of extra effort making sure of it? But that was pride for you. It was also the reason she'd dragged Will along for the occasion. When you'd spent your teenage years being mercilessly teased and humiliated, you didn't want to turn up to meet your tormenter looking like a... a donkey. You felt compelled to prove to them that you weren't still a complete loser, not to mention capable these days of bagging your­self the kind of boyfriend any girl would be thrilled to... well, bag.

And here he was, standing just inside the entrance to the pub, greeting everyone as they came in, and gravely receiving condo­lences in return. Oh well, on an occasion like this, at least he wouldn't call her-

'Hello, Misa.' Dark eyes glinting with amusement, Johnny gave her hand a cross between a shake and a squeeze. He may even have been about to lean forward and plant a polite kiss on her cheek but she pulled back before that could happen.

I can't believe he just called me that.

'Hello, Johnny. I'm sorry about your dad. We'll all miss him.'

'Thanks. I guess this village is going to be a quieter place from now on.' His gaze flickered over her and the smile broadened. 'You're looking very well.'

Damn right I am. Turning to indicate Will, Cleo said, 'This is my boyfriend, Will Newman.'

'I'm so sorry for your loss,' Will said politely as they shook hands.

'Thank you. So, Misa, gone and got yourself a new man. Excellent.' Evidently pleased with his play on words, Johnny said, 'From what I hear, the old ones haven't been much cop.'

Meet the Author

With over 4 million copies sold, Jill Mansell writes irresistible and funny romantic tales for women in the tradition of Jilly Cooper and Catherine Alliott. She worked for many years at the Burden Neurological Hospital, Bristol, and now writes full time. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.

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Take a Chance on Me 4.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 222 reviews.
BookAddictPatti More than 1 year ago
3 1/2 stars. This was my first book by Jill Mansell and I must say I enjoyed it. It's not what I would call a "Romance Novel", it's more Chick Lit but it's British. Would that be Brit Lit? Is that a term? Moving on.... This book was cute. Cleo is a young single woman who thinks she's found the perfect man, until she finds out he's not. That's okay, right? She's got a fun job, a wonderful best friend and a place of her own. Then HE comes back into town - Johnny LaVenure, her childhood nemesis. He's rich and famous and makes her feel like she's back in school again. But he's here to stay, and she keeps running into him...and really, he's so nice now.... I really enjoyed Cleo and Johnny's story. I rooted for them throughout the book. Not from the beginning of course, I thought he was such a smarmy guy, but, just like he did with Cleo, he won me over :) Meanwhile, Cleo's sister Abbie is having her own crisis, and her best friend Ash is trying to sort out his love life, with the ex-wife of Cleo's ex-boyfriend! Tie that in with Abbie's husband's secret (it's not what you think!) and there's a whole lot going on... There were a lot of POVs in this book, which threw me a bit . I haven't read many books by British authors, this was a bit different for me and I liked the bits of British slang and overall "feel" of the writing. I laughed a lot, Cleo is a spunky leading lady, sometimes even if she doesn't want to be. The tension between Cleo and Johnny was good. I didn't like the storyline about her sister so much, but it did tie in nicely with Cleo's story. Now I want to go visit the UK. In lieu of that, I will definitely be checking out Ms. Mansell's backlist.
laura24 More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed it- a lot and will read more from this talented writer.
acb8791 More than 1 year ago
The cute whimsical covers are what caught my eye on this authors books and I'm glad I decided to read. Think "Love actually"or "Holiday". It also reminded me if a Maeve Binchy novel with all the great characters except in a British story. Will be reading more by Jill Mansell.
RNanlovinit More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to "get away from it all" for a bit. Mansell's writing causes you to feel like you are a part of it all and like you really know the characters. The book includes humor and a very good story. I couldn't put it down! I will be reading all of Jill Mansell's books!
sandiek More than 1 year ago
Love doesn't run smoothly in Channing Hill, and there's no more entertaining narrator than Jill Mansell to document it's rocky course. There is Cleo, local limo driver, who has finally settled down into a job she likes and a man she adores, Will. Unfortunately, she runs into Will and his wife, Fia one day while out on a trip and realises that once again she has fallen for someone totally unsuitable. Fia, who didn't know about Cleo but did know about Will's propensity to lie and cheat, ends their marriage and ends up as the new chef at the pub in Channing Hill. Cleo's neighbor and best friend, Ash, falls in love with Fia the moment he sees her, but doesn't stand a chance. Fia has fallen in love with the local gentry, Johnny LaVenture, a world-class sculptor. Cleo who grew up with Johnny isn't thrilled to have him back in town as he made her adolescent days a nightmare with his constant teasing. Does no one have it right when it comes to love? Cleo's sister Abbie and her husband Tom, seem to have the right recipe. But their world comes tumbling down when two things occur. Abbie's boss falls in love with her and Tom discovers he has a teenage daughter he knew nothing about. She turns up on their doorstep and has soon moved in, while Abbie has moved out and in with Cleo. Mansell has written another hilarious, engaging romance with characters the reader would love to meet and a plot that twists and turns and somehow manages to resolve all these romantic entanglements neatly and successfully by the end of the book. The reader is treated to a cozy yarn that never fails to entertain. This book is recommended for readers looking for a lighter book that will make them realise that love exists for us all, no matter how long and difficult the journey.
ArtisticMess More than 1 year ago
This was the first book by Jill Mansell, I had the pleasure of reading. It was a funny, romantic, and bittersweet read. Jill Mansell has a wimsical way of making her characters come to life. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to reading her other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice enough I suppose but nowhere near as entertaining as "Millie's Fling" which had a much more substantial plot-line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because when you least expect it the story line changes. I tried to guess what would happen, boy was I wrong, a few times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazing book!! One of my favorites by this author. It really gets you going till the last pages, then your like wow this author is amazing with literature!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was a cute read, would recommend for a snowy day. liked the characters and the story line. will probably check out more books by jill mansell.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love escaping real life by reading Jill Mansell stories!
DixieBelleRB More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this lighthearted novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book from beginning to end...wonderful read!
Sk8queen7 More than 1 year ago
Wow, this was my second Jill Mansell book I read and it was just as good as the first one! Take a chance on me was one of those books that I was screaming please let it turn out the way I want in the end! I'd love to read a sequal to this one, and if there is one out there LET ME KNOW!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry for the book to end, an interesting cast of characters with never a dull moment.
nikkicoleny22 More than 1 year ago
Such a cute read! I loved it and it made me read more by the author!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters! Quirky & fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mansell has once agin written another great chick book. If you want a change from formulaic romance novels then this is the book for you. The leading lady is very realistic and has a life in this book that is as complicated as real life is. You won't be able to put this book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just love these reads! Jill Mansell takes you into the lives of her characters, makes you feel like you are right there in England watching the dramas unfold:)
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept u interested that u didn't want to put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just a relaxing couple of days read! Will not disappoint!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago