Tuesday, 16 February 2010

'All Because of You' by Melissa Hill

I have read yet another really good book by Melissa Hill – every one of her books is turning out to be a winner! This one is ‘All Because of You’, Published by Arrow Books: London, 2007 – see http://www.amazon.com/All-Because-You-Melissa-Hill/dp/1842232746/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266326708&sr=8-1.

In this book, we have Tara Harrington, who is a life coach, and is living happily with Glenn. Now then, once again, we have the delight of the twists and turns that Melissa Hill always seems to bring into her novels. One never quite knows where they are going to go. I was absolutely convinced by the impression that she wanted her readers to have; the way in which she wanted her readers mind to go. On reflection, I think that to some extent this is her way of having fun with the readers, as well as engaging them, and it certainly makes the books very intriguing – hey, she could probably write some good detective novel if the mood ever took her! On the other hand, it can be a little maddening at times, I have found; I am not too sure that I always like having my mind played about with in this way. Oh well – it all makes for an interesting life! But why do I feel moved to say this right now, one might ask? Well, this is because, in this story, in the beginning it seems that Tara is living very happily with her partner Glenn. And ‘Glenn’ even has 2 "nn’s" – just like my Glenn. My Glenn gets very mad actually when people only insert one ‘n’ – our names are such personal things to us, are they not. Anyway, on page 14, for example, we have her saying:

“With his almost jet-black hair, liquid brown eyes and naturally sallow skin, Glenn was the kind of guy that always turned heads, and, not for the first time, Tara couldn’t quite get her head around the fact that he was really hers.”


Then, on p. 22 it says:

“Tara…had no interest in marriage whatsoever, and she and Glenn were perfectly happy the way they were.”

Then, in order to keep the reader thinking in this way, much later, on p. 205 she says that:

“Tara had always been attracted to dark, brooding, creative types..”

After all this, wouldn’t you, like me, be convinced that Tara and Glenn were partners and lovers, and very close ones at that?

At the same time, it also seemed rather odd, because in some ways Tara and Glenn did not seem to get on very well. When they went on holiday to Egypt together, for example, Glenn went off on a scuba-diving course whilst Tara met a friend, Natalie and went off looking at the pyramids and sight-seeing with her. Not exactly the way that you’d expect a devoted couple to behave, is it? Then, it all really turns sour when we discover that Glenn has got a girl pregnant. So much for them being a devoted couple one thinks. Then – here comes Melissa Hill’s surprise. Glenn is not Tara’s lover at all, but her son. Heavens. I couldn’t believe it. She is really having fun with the readers mind; certainly keeps one gripped to ones seat anyway.

Then, here is the second twist (there are 3 main twists in the whole plot altogether). Natalie is beautiful and longing to get married, but she is always too impatient with her men. As a life coach, Tara gives her some sound advice with her latest catch, Jay. This includes not sleeping with him straightaway. Tara is very successful here to such an extent that Natalie and Jay’s relationship really blossoms. This is all done through phone calls. Then, when Tara finally comes face-to-face with Jay, she discovers to her utter shock and amazement that Jay was the first love of Tara’s life. They went out when they were teenagers; Tara got pregnant by Jason and this resulted in Glenn, and Tara ended up bringing Glenn up as a single parent.

Meanwhile, Tara’s best friend Liz is married to Eric, with one son Toby. Whilst Tara's sister Emma (who has always been indulged) announces that she is pregnant, but can’t and won’t say who the father is. Various things happen which makes Liz suspect that Eric might be the father. Then, it turns out to everyone’s utter amazement to be Colm, the well-known gay in the community. Still feeling slightly unsure of his sexuality Colm went with Emma for a while, but this just helped him to clarify his thoughts and feelings and to recognise that he was definitely gay. He then moves in with Nicky. Emma always liked to try and go for and get that which was difficult to obtain (as she had been spoilt) – this partly explained her desire to go for Colm. But:

“…she’d been stupid to think that she had a chance just because the long-term object of her affection hadn’t been living an openly gay life. Colm had struggled for years with his sexuality (when they were younger, in this village an admission would have been impossible) and she’d been stupid to think that he would – or even could – change his mind. But you couldn’t help who you fell in love with, and unfortunately for her, Emma had been in love with Colm for a very long time…despite what she knew herself to be true, for as long as Colm struggled, she’d always thought she was in with a chance. (p.420)

In the end, Tara goes with Liz’s neighbour Luke. Luke really thinks Tara is something and is happy to take her baggage as well (which I could relate to!). It ends with him jokingly talking to her about her baggage and saying:

“Well, knowing you…it’ll be environmentally friendly and biodegradable baggage, so I’m sure we won’t have to deal with it for long.” (p. 449)

And they end up kissing.

Perhaps, some of the coincidences seem a bit unlikely, but still, all in all, another really great read!

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