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May 31

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Review: Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell

by Ann-Katrina

Rumor Has It Cover

Title: Rumor Has It
Author: Jill Mansell
ISBN: 978-1402237508
Story Length: 416 pages
Genre: Chick Lit

Back Cover of Rumor Has It

This man doesn’t seem to match his reputation…

Newly single Tilly Cole impulsively moves to a small town, only to find she’s arrived in a hotbed of gossip, intrigue, and rampant rivalry for the most desirable man–irresistible Jack Lucas, whose reputation is beyond bad. Tilly has no intention of becoming another notch on his bedpost. But the thoughtful, caring guy she comes to value as a friend doesn’t seem to fit the town’s playboy image. Tilly doesn’t know what to believe–and Jack’s not telling.

Three Quick Points About Rumor Has It

  • Point 1: Somewhat predictable. It’s the nature of the beast with chick lit, but in the case of Tilly & Jack, it’s a bit more obvious than necessary.
  • Point 2: Slow to start. The “good stuff” doesn’t begin to reveal itself until about the first five or six chapters in, but when it does it becomes a fun (and funny) romp.
  • Point 3: Culture shock. I’ve read a bit of Brit chick lit, but this one seemed especially heavy on the Briticisms. It took quite some time to acclimate.

Short Synopsis of Rumor Has It

Tilly Cole arrives home one evening to find that her boyfriend has cleared out. She can’t afford her apartment on her own, so she takes a trip to visit her best friend Erin in the small town of Roxborough to drown her sorrows. But the small town dug its claws into Tilly and she ends up taking a job as a Girl Friday with one of its more prominent residents, Max Dineen and his teenage daughter Louisa.

Through her connection with Max, Tilly meets the most coveted bachelor, Jack Lucas. Unfortunately, his reputation precedes him and Tilly tries everything in her power not to fall for his charms.

While this is happening, there are a number of side stories: Erin is dating a separated, but not yet divorced man whose wife, Stella, is borderline nuts. And Kaye, Max’s ex-wife, accidentally runs over an important puppy in Hollywood and needs to escape back to her UK home to wait out the drama.

My Thoughts on Rumor Has It

I had to start this book a couple different times because it took a while to get into. It starts with a relative bang—Tilly coming home to a half cleaned out apartment—but I found Tilly to be a rather bland character. But around chapter five or six when the other characters and sub-stories were introduced, the pace and appeal of the book immediately picked up.

For me, Tilly was too plain Jane. Every once in a while she trips over something or says the wrong thing, but it all seemed random and misplaced. Then there’s Jack. Everyone is whispering that he’s a playboy and warning Tilly off of him. It all became too contrived, so I never really got into the blossoming of their relationship; I rolled my eyes more than not.

Thing is, I adored the side stories of Erin and Kaye. They were hilarious. Erin seemed far more real and affable than Tilly and Kaye was just off the wall wacky, reigned in when necessary, of course. Even Louisa, Kaye and Max’s teenage daughter, was just the right amount of quirky and watching her story unravel was quite pleasant. These would be the reasons I’d recommend reading this book and although the relationship between Tilly and Jack is supposed to be center stage, it felt more like a secondary story to me.

Also, if you aren’t used to reading British literature or watching the BBC, this book will take some getting used to. There are a number of slang terms used throughout; enough to make you raise an eyebrow and wonder what just happened. Once you get used to them, though, it’s smooth sailing.

Rating: Get It Used [C+] (?)

Comments on Review: Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell

  1. # The Girl from the Ghetto wrote on June 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm:

    Dumb question, but was this the book that was “loosely adapted” for the film “Rumor Has It” staring Jennifer Anniston? I didn’t care for that film at all. I thought it was just all of the Graduate stuff thrown in, but now that you’ve mentioned it was hard to get into … I’m wondering.

    I’m a huge fan of Brit lit, and really, anything British, so I’m disappointed to learn you gave this book a C+. If it is anything like the movie, well, I can totally understand that grade.

  2. # Ann-Kat wrote on June 4, 2010 at 7:43 am:

    Not a dumb question at all. I initially had the same thought when I first saw this book, but unless it’s a very loose adaptation, I’d say no. I haven’t seen the entire movie, but I’ve seen enough to feel confident in that assessment.

    As far as the book goes, I’d say read it. I had a hard time grading it because there were some parts that were great, but when I stood back and thought about it, I realized that the story between Tilly & Jack should have been center stage, it should have been the one to direct the show; instead the side stories were what held me in thrall–what held the entire book together IMHO. Tilly & Jack’s story felt far too contrived, but it did get more exciting toward the end. That, plus the slow build up were the reasons I gave it the grade I did.

    I too am an Anglophile (I’m addicted to the BBC), and I spent some time trying to figure out what it was about this particular book which was irking me. Yes, the Briticisms threw me, but I eventually fell into comfort with them, but there was still something else that didn’t feel quite right and I realized that some sections felt entirely too stuffy, almost pretentious, for the story being told. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m an American reading Brit Lit or just because it’s the author’s prose style, if that makes sense. I’d say sample the first chapter and see if it’s a style you’re in line with first.

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