Lola is in love Ė even though sheís only seventeen years old, she knows itís the real thing. Her Dougie is perfect for her in every way. She knows that itíll be hard when he moves to Edinburgh for school, but whatís true love in the face of some distance? If it gets really bad, she can always move up there with him.
When Dougieís prissy mother stops by Lolaís work and offers to drive her home one day, Lola thinks nothing of it. She definitely doesnít suspect that Dougieís horrible mum is going to offer her £10,000 to break up with Dougie before he leaves for school. Lola is completely affronted and decides to call her beloved right away and tell him exactly what his mother offered her and said to her (yes, her skirt might be short, but that doesnít mean she looks like a prostitute!). Before she can do that, she walks in on an unexpected situation, one that changes everything.
Lola doesnít have a choice when she accepts the money from Dougieís mother, and she has sworn never to tell anyone the reason she had to take it. But when Dougie walks back into her life ten years later, can he find it in himself to forgive her for leaving without a second glance? Or will Lola always be burdened by the offer she couldnít refuse?
An Offer You Can't Refuse is a wonderfully cute novel about a vivacious, loveable heroine. Lola is, quite simply, adorable. Sheís fun to read about and carries the story very well. Indeed, virtually all the characters in An Offer You Can't Refuse are easy to love; Mansell writes them exceptionally well. They find themselves in hilarious situations, but itís never that over-the-top forced-laughter stuff that often shows up in the chick lit-genre. While some of the situations are random (for lack of a better word), the humor is in the characters rather than their settings. Lola and her friends are funny even in their own homes because Lola is just an amusing girl.
The one issue I had with An Offer You Can't Refuse is with Lola and Dougie. Itís honestly difficult to understand why Lola was so in love with Dougie, because the reader never witnesses a situation where he was treating her well. Granted, heís horrible to her because she broke his heart for apparently no reason (though wouldnít most people try to hide it, simply to prove they donít think about the other person anymore?). But since the beginning of the novel is set right before Lola and Dougieís breakup, there isnít much for the reader to go on. Therefore, Lolaís adoration seems somewhat forced, as if it belongs in another place and time altogether.
Still, Jill Mansell definitely has a talent when it comes to writing chick lit. Her characters are sympathetic, believable, and entirely loveable. The situations that arise are well-penned, too. Often in chick lit, one small, somewhat unbelievable decision sets up the entire novel. In An Offer You Can't Refuse, itís understandable why Lola made that decision. She canít divulge the reason behind why she took the money, though it would make everyoneís life a lot easier, because she made a promise and that is important to her. Not only does that make the novel that much better; it also affirms Lolaís integrity and makes her a more loveable character.
An Offer You Can't Refuse is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. I look forward to seeing what Sourcebooks will release by Jill Mansell next.