Jill Mansell’s Perfect Timing was the perfect book for me during these sluggish days of summer. Once again, Mansell dazzled me with strong characters, plenty of cringe-worthy moments, a story that was both serious and lighthearted, and of course, enough humor to keep a smile on my face throughout. It’s no wonder Mansell is one of my go-to authors when I’m in need of a feel-good comfort read.
Perfect Timing opens with our heroine, Poppy Dunbar, on the night before her wedding at her bachelorette party, where she meets the man of her dreams. Even though she doesn’t know if she’ll ever see Tom again and never even found out his last name, Poppy realizes that her uncertainty about marrying Rob and the fact that she hit it off so easily with another man mean she has to call off the wedding.
In a single moment, Poppy disappoints everyone she knows and learns the truth about her cold and distant father. Poppy sets off to make her future in London, where she gets a job in an antiques stall with the handsome but geeky Jake and rooms with the popular and sexy artist Caspar French and the arrogant and insecure Claudia. Caspar likes Poppy’s nerve and offers her the room right away, but Claudia’s long-time, unrequited crush on Caspar means she has no plans of befriending Poppy and is irritated by her presence. However, the trio grows close as Caspar tries to navigate his numerous casual relationships, Claudia seeks to get Jake’s attention despite their being complete opposites, and Poppy hopes to find Tom and the truth about her past.
Perfect Timing is a quick-moving story fueled by so many interesting secondary characters, from Dina, Poppy’s best friend who is desperate to rid herself of the responsibilities of being a wife and new mother, to Angie Slade-Welch, Claudia’s attractive and predatory mother who flirts with anyone in pants and even steals men away from her daughter. These two characters liven up the story, though at times they are pretty pathetic. I didn’t like them at all, but I could understand where they were coming from, with Dina having to put her partying days behind her and envying Poppy’s freedom, and Angie not wanting to get old. Mansell is an expert at creating well-developed characters, and I always look forward to discovering which unique personalities I’ll meet the next time around.
Even though I ended up really enjoying Perfect Timing, I must admit that it took me awhile to get really invested in the story. I loved Poppy from the beginning because of her spunk and her fearlessness. She’s dealt a hard blow in the course of the story, one that would be too much for many people to handle because of the unfairness of it all, but Poppy counts her blessings and moves on. She’s someone I wouldn’t mind having for a friend. However, Claudia was a tough pill to swallow, but I couldn’t fault her too much considering that she was raised by Angie. And I had a hard time at first figuring out what was so great about Caspar. I get that he’s the hot, carefree artist type, but at my age, I don’t want my heroes being sloppy, inconsiderate roommates. Yet both of them grew on me by the end and illustrate Mansell’s ability to create characters with big faults and big strengths, just like real people.
Perfect Timing is a fun romantic comedy by a master of the genre. It was just what I needed at a time when life is really busy and I need time to calm down and get lost in other people’s problems for awhile. If you’re a fan of Jill Mansell or chick lit in general, you’ll enjoy this one, and if you haven’t read Mansell’s books yet, what are you waiting for??
© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.