To the Moon and Back

Jill Mansell

Anyone who believes that all chick lit is fluff will be surprised by this. The author tackles weighty subjects, including the death of a spouse and the effect of Alzheimers on a marriage. Such subjects could make for a depressing book, but thanks to the author’s skills, there were some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. More importantly, while there were some sad moments, I found this to be not only enjoyable, but uplifting.

I had my doubts as it begins on a sad note. We’re introduced to Ellie Kendall and her husband as they’re getting ready for separate parties. It’s clear the two are madly in love. A few pages later, Ellie learns that her husband has been seriously injured in a car accident. She stands watch in the hospital for a few pages until he dies.

The action picks up a year later and it’s clear that Ellie hasn’t moved on since she routinely has conversations with her dead husband. Ellie doesn’t believe he’s a ghost. She knows she conjures him in her mind to ease the pain.

Ellie’s former father-in-law Tony, a famous actor, is also struggling with his son’s death. Tony is appalled when he discovers how poorly Ellie is coping. Her flat is in complete disarray, and the neighborhood has become dangerous. Tony spends most of his time in Hollywood, but steps in to rescue Ellie. He buys a posh home in Primrose Hill and convinces Ellie to live there as a caretaker while he’s away.

While Ellie continues to talk to her husband, her life begins to change once she moves. On her first day in Primrose Hill Ellie meets a great new friend, Roo, who used to be one-third of a famous pop girl band. Roo is a bit of a mess, and definitely has bad taste in men, but she provides lots of funny moments.

Ellie eventually takes on a new job as the personal assistant to Zack McLaren, a wealthy entrepreneur with an office just five minutes from her new home. What Ellie doesn’t know is Zack spotted her months earlier having lunch with Tony, and was instantly entranced. Zack is wealthy and gorgeous and could have any woman he wants, but falls completely for Ellie. Ellie, still grieving for her husband, doesn’t recognize Zack’s feelings.

It was obvious to me from the first that Zack and Ellie were destined to be together, but it took a while for them to get there. If you need a linear romance, this isn’t your book. Ellie grieves for a large part of the book. She eventually tries out a few relationships with genuinely nice men, but they just don’t work. All the while that’s going on, Ellie and Zack develop not only a strong professional relationships, but a genuine friendship.

There were a number of subplots that I enjoyed as well. While Roo has a lot of problems, I enjoyed her eventual turnaround. I also found Tony’s relationship with an artist to be very touching.

This wasn’t exactly the breezy read I expected, but it worked for me. I fell in love not only with Ellie, but with many of the secondary characters in the book, and shed a bit of a tear of joy at the end.

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Book Details

Reviewer :      LinnieGayl Kimmel

Grade :     B+

Sensuality :      Subtle

Book Type :     

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