I must admit that while waiting for my booksfree.com order to arrive, I grew impatient and visited the local library, only to take out about a dozen contemporary romances with which to pass the long holiday weekend. Millie’s Fling by Jill Mansell, an author I had not yet read, was the first one I opened. I was more than pleasantly surprised.

The story takes place in the town of Newquay, Cornwall. It’s the story of the friendship that arises between Bridget Jones-like protagonist Millie Brady and famous novelist, Orla Hart, who Millie happens to save from jumping off a cliff upon the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. Orla, suffering from a career block as well as a cheating husband, decides to use Millie’s single life as the basis for her new novel. Despite Millie’s protests to the contrary, her life in Newquay is far from boring.  She and her roommate, Hester, find a wallet, and from there, the fun begins.  The wallet belongs to Hugh Emerson, a recently widowed, stunningly gorgeous thirty year old who becomes the fling in the title, because according to Hugh, that’s all he’ll ever be capable of. Or so he thinks. Millie keeps Hugh a secret from Orla. He’s too important to relegate to a novel.  And while Hugh is dithering, unknowing Orla decides to spice up Millie’s life and get things rolling with the goal of spicing up her book as well. She’s filled with good intentions, but the men she fixes Millie up with are in turn, horribly boring or totally inappropriate. Millie makes the best of each situation, while waiting for the one man she’s found on her own to decide their fate.

Packed with lovable secondary characters like Lucas Kemp and Nat, Hester’s past and present loves, Orla’s sleezy husband Giles, Con, the famous actor with a secret, and Millie’s divorced parents, Millie’s Fling transports you to the Cornwall coast, and makes you feel like you are among friends. When Millie finds the love of her life, you’ll feel like standing up and cheering. I read this book in about 8 hours, no small feat for 500+ pages on a work day. That should give you an idea of how good it really is.

Jill Mansell writes with attitude, quick wit and more than a little love for her characters. I’ve already “queued-up” for her next books. I love hitting the jackpot with an author I’ve never read before.  Pick this one up, it’s good for a laugh and more than one cry.  And you’ll be as sorry as I was when I got to page 506.

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