I've been reading Jill Mansell's back titles and not all have been worth reading -- this one definitely was. In fact, it was a very enjoyable read.
The story is that of Nell O'Driscoll and Marcus Kilburton who have known each other for years: she was a member of the scandalous "gypsy" family in the village and he the scion of the family that owns the Kilburton castle. In order to keep the castle, Marcus decides to open it to the public and Nell takes the job of his assistant. With class issues, difficult family members and baggage from the past, their romance is not a straightforward one. But humor keeps things interesting. Add to that, the secondary plot of Nell's friend Hetty whose husband has traded her in for a younger model and continued to live in the same village, and there are a lot of amusing and touching events that keep things going in the right direction. Hetty gets the chance at some sweet revenge and it is great fun to watch how it all comes about.
Being a great fan of Jill Mansell's I had hoped this story would be a good one and it really was. It had all the hallmarks of Ms. Mansell's stories: numerous plotlines, village life, fun dialogue, humorous situations, some touching situations, evil actors who get redeemed (sort of,) and a lovely and satisfying happy ending. My only critique is that I found the development of h/h's relationship a bit choppy. It didn't have the strong build up of some of her other stories and I also didn't really "feel" h/h's attraction for each other. That said, it was enough to keep my interest and to keep me reading --happily -- to the end. This book is a great way to spend the afternoon.