Monday, April 23, 2012

Nadia Knows Best - Jill Mansell

We first meet Nadia Kinsella when she is steering her car as it is sliding out of control on packed ice. Eventually the car comes to a stop as it ploughs into a ditch and Nadia is happy to be alive and unhurt. Not knowing where she is and realising the battery on her phone is dead, she decides to sit out the snowstorm in the car and take a chance someone will pass by and stop to help her. That’s where she first meets Jay Tiernan. He invites Nadia to walk with him to the nearest village as it is not far away, according to his map. When they get there they find a local pub and negotiate with the drunken landlord to spend the night in his one spare room as the storm looks set to continue overnight. The attraction between them is undeniable but Nadia already has a boyfriend and is not the cheating type, so, even though they end up sharing the same bed at the pub, nothing more than familiar chatter and banter happens between them. Soon after she makes it home safely, Nadia is unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend!

A year and a half later, by chance, she bumps into Jay again, but this time she is single and it is he who has responsibilities. Jay has moved into Nadia’s home town and is renovating a property there. Soon their lives become a tangled mix of working together, longing for each other and indecision. To make matters even more complicated, Nadia’s boyfriend has moved back home having given up his life in Hollywood. He wants Nadia back and is determined to get her. Eventually, Nadia realises she has some difficult choices to make.

The thing I enjoy most about Jill Mansell’s books is the way all of her characters play such a big role in the story she is telling. They are not peripheral to the plot, they are an integral part of it and at times one could be forgiven for wondering who the main character is. Nadia has two sisters, Claire the selfish artist and Tilly the sensible teenager, an eccentric, irresponsible mother who abandoned all of her daughters when they were babies and who changes lovers almost annually, an understanding, kind father who is shy and steadfast, an irrepressible grandmother who brought the girls up and who has been hiding a dark secret for over half a century, a supermodel boyfriend who gained fame and fortune after Nadia entered him into a modelling competition and Jay, the handsome, successful business man who ends up becoming Nadia’s boss. There are other characters at the centre of this story, too. Even though they are not main characters, they are so well drawn they could well be.

Nadia Knows Best is a delightful read and Jill Mansell does not disappoint with the writing, the plot or the ending. I particularly loved the last scene in the book which made me laugh out loud.

This book is definitely a keeper for me!


Thank you to the folks at Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of Nadia Knows Best to review.


  1. Kim, thank you so much for the great review - I'm just thrilled you enjoyed it so much! And you've outlined all the characters so perfectly, too!
    Best wishes
    Jill Mansell xx

  2. Jill, thank you for the hours of reading pleasure I had whilst engrossed in this book! It is a treasure and I will definitely read it again, just as I will with "Staying at Daisy's", too.
    Looking forward to catching up with your other work, soon.
    All the best,
    Kim xx