Take A Chance on Me follows the lives of two sisters, Abbie and Cleo, as they attempt to make sense of life and love. Abbie is happily married to Tom, her teenage sweetheart, but an unexpected blast from the past threatens their once-solid-and-stable relationship. Cleo thinks she has met the man of her dreams in Will, but little does she know that he is also hiding a deep secret, one which when exposed, has a massive effect on Cleo and her friends. Throw into the mix Cleo’s tormentor at school, Johnny, who returns to the village and you have one long story full of surprise, shocks, love, sadness, betrayal and deer.
Mansell’s style of writing is clever and sharp, and she throws into it plenty of twists along the way, which although at times predictable, are nevertheless interesting to read. The way in which the love stories of Abbie, Cleo and Ash contrast with each other yet they interweave at the same time is done really well, and the book ends on a great conclusion.
Criticisms? Maybe a few. I though that the romance between Will and Cleo was all too short. I would’ve like to have seen that developed a bit more so one gets a greater understanding of why Cleo fell for Will and that his bombshell would have had more of an impact. Also, whilst I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Johnny and Cleo, it mentions at the start of the book that he made her teenage life a misery, which doesn’t really come through in the book. Johnny is Cleo’s nemesis but we only get fleeting references as to why this is. Plus, despite the hatred at the beginning of the story, Cleo and Johnny do get on really well and fall for each other rather quickly, making this “hatred” seem insignificant. However, the touching moments they shared together was a large positive of the book.
Take A Chance On Me is a fantastic read, and the relationships between the characters is the best part. Mansell puts great effort into laying down the stories of the characters and establishing their shared history that the reader can’t help but connect with them emotionally. It is a lengthy tale but all the more satisfying as you read through it and worth it when you reach the end. For the most part, Mansell has delivered a brilliant, cohesive, witty story about love at different stages and varying situations. 3.5 stars
Originally posted 12/03/2012