Miranda's Big Mistake
I’ve enjoyed some of Jill Mansell’s recent chick lit, so was eager to review Miranda’s Big Mistake. Unfortunately, it turns out that this is a re-release of a 1999 book and, while I didn’t hate it, a few aspects turned me off so that I’m just not able to recommend it.
The book features a large number of quirky characters who live in or around London. Miranda, the primary heroine, works as an assistant for a star hairdresser running errands for largely ungrateful, wealthy women. Miranda rents a room in a rich older woman’s home, but is really more of a friend and caretaker for the woman than a renter.
Miranda has remarkably bad judgment when it comes to men. Over the course of the book, she becomes involved with a married man (although she doesn’t know he’s married), a journalist, and a race car driver. It becomes obvious fairly early on who Miranda should become involved with, but it takes her a really long time before she gets her HEA – and only then, at the very last moment.
Although Miranda is the primary focus of the book, there are subplots involving several other women. Well before Miranda gets her HEA, these other women – including the wealthy older woman and a receptionist at the hair salon – all get their own happy endings.
I particularly liked the story involving Chloe who works in a shop owned by Miranda’s landlord’s son and whose husband leaves her when she announces she’s pregnant. He immediately begins trying to hook up with other women, and, of course, runs into Miranda at a charity party. Eventually Chloe and Miranda become friends, and plan a spectacular piece of revenge on Chloe’s husband (this isn’t a spoiler, as it is featured on the back blurb).
I would have enjoyed more of an emphasis on Chloe, and less on Miranda. While Miranda has a big heart, she’s a bit of a twit. I recognize that this is chick lit, but felt that Miranda became involved with one too many men over the course of the book. I thought I knew where the book was going after Chloe and Miranda got their revenge, but instead, the book meandered off in a completely different direction – one I ultimately didn’t like. I would have preferred some judicious pruning of at least one of Miranda’s love stories, and a bit more time devoted to Miranda’s ultimate love.
In addition to Chloe’s story, I felt that many of the characters were quite well developed and interesting. However, overall, I just couldn’t warm up to Miranda, and found Miranda’s Big Mistake to be just an average example of chick lit.