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Men I've Loved Before [Paperback]

Adele Parks
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 Mar 2011

Highly praised as a 'fabulous mix of comedy, real life and emotional depth' (Daily Express), this addictive novel from Adele Parks, bestselling author of ABOUT LAST NIGHT, looks at what happens after you find the one...

Neil and Nat seem to be perfectly matched. They hate Marmite and the opera. They love reality TV and the missionary position. And they both absolutely do not want children. At least that's what Nat thought. But now Neil seems to have softened to the prospect and he's practically begging her for a baby. Nat tries to ignore his change of heart and won't explain her reasons for hating the idea; she can't. Are they that compatible after all? As the cracks start to show, Nat wonders if Neil really is the man of her dreams. Or is it possible that someone from her past could actually be 'the one'?

*Includes bonus material*

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (31 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755371275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755371273
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in Teesside, NE England, in 1969. I enjoyed a traditional 1970's childhood, watching too much TV and eating convenience food because nobody minded if kids did that in those days. Since graduating from Leicester University, where I studied English Language and Literature, I've worked in advertising and as a management consultant. In 2010 I was proud to be awarded an honorary doctorate of Letters from Teesside University.

I've always dreamed of being a writer and my first novel - Playing Away - was published in 2000; that year the Evening Standard identified me as one of London's 'Twenty Faces to Watch', which was very nice of them!

I like to keep busy and to be described as one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women's fiction writers in the UK, (who wouldn't like that?!) Over two million copies of my work have been sold in the UK and I'm translated into 25 different languages. I've published twelve novels in twelve years, all of which have been Times Top Ten bestsellers. Whatever It Takes, my twelfth novel, examines those undeniable, lasting issues that seem to interest us all. It scrutinizes our theories of love, motherhood and infidelity with (I hope) honesty and humour. I'm known for examining the thorny issues of the lives we lead today with my trademark, up-front, tell-it-as-it-is style.

Product Description


'When it comes to fiction reflecting feminine issues, Adele Parks has her finger on the pulse' (Glamour)

'Wonderfully plotted, moving and insightful...shot through with funny, tender and observant moments' (Daily Mail)

'Full of emotional set-pieces and real insight into relationships between men and women' (Heat )

'A fabulous mix of comedy, real life and emotional depth' (Daily Express)

'A wicked pleasure' (Woman & Home)

'She is a particularly acute observer of relationship ups and downs, and her stories are always as insightful as they are entertaining' (Daily Mirror)

'Guaranteed to keep you hooked until the end' (She magazine)

'Parks writes with wit and a keen eye for detail' (Guardian)

'Deliciously down to earth' (The Times)

'Entertaining and sophisticated' (Marie Claire)

'Observant, sensitive and funny' (Closer)

'Dark, funny and observant' (Cosmopolitan)

'Compulsively addictive' (Elle)

About the Author

Adele Parks worked in advertising until she published her first novel, PLAYING AWAY, in 2000, which was the debut bestseller of that year. All of Adele's novels have been top ten bestsellers and her work has been translated into twenty-five different languages. Adele has spent her adult life in Italy, Botswana and London until 2005 when she moved to Guildford, where she now lives with her husband and son. Adele believes reading is a basic human right, so she works closely with the Reading Agency as an Ambassador of the Six Book Challenge, a programme designed to encourage adult literacy. In 2011 she was a judge for the Costa Book Awards. Follow Adele on Twitter @adeleparks or visit her website

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done! 9 Nov 2010
If you liked her previuos books, then you cannot miss this one! Here's to another pleasant novel by Adele! The perfect holiday read.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Palls quickly... 6 Jan 2011
Men I've Loved Before tells the story of Nat and Neil, a thirty something couple who seem to have the marriage from heaven. He has a job he adores, friends he gets on with and the perfect wife. She has a fulfilling career, a family who loves her and the perfect husband. They agree on virtually everything, especially the fact that they don't want children. Until Neil decides that he does. Suddenly they are both questioning every facet of their relationship, and Nat wonders whether any of the men she's loved before could have been the One?

I'm conflicted about Adele Parks. Universally I have loved the first hundred pages or so of every single novel she's written (this is the tenth). Parks establishes the set up of characters and relationships perfectly - she creates an entertaining picture of a couple meeting and falling in love. She writes beautifully about chaotic but perfect lives.

For me, where Parks unfailingly falls down is when she inserts the tension into a novel, and her couples start bickering. It all feels so artificial and forced. Here we have a woman who doesn't want to have a baby - but there is a big secret "reason" for this. I find it disappointing that Nat wasn't just against babies because she didn't want them - it is a valid choice these days, and not all women want babies.

I also thought Neil's storyline with the strippers was appalling, and done to fill up some space rather than to progress the plot in a meaningful way.

Lastly, for a couple who are presented as being so together and communicative and honest, why do they have so many problems talking to each other about their issues with the baby factor? *sighs* It was perplexing to me that they descended to arguments rather than just opening up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gave this 1 star because u can't award any less 12 Dec 2012
Never before have I been so desperate to reach into a book and strangle the life out of the two main characters.
Neil, right from the start, comes across as the most boring, plain, wet-mop of a man despite the writer's waffle about how he is kind, funny, attractive & interesting.
Standing with his mates in a pub with a glass of wine?!? Sometimes the upper-middle class setting from the writer really irritates me.
His friendship with Karl is very unrealistic, Karl being a typical mans-man sleeping with everything that moves, disrespecting women, scared of settling down and forever boozing.
He actually made for uncomfortable reading.

Nat is worse if you can believe it. We are told by the writer that Neil and Nat are 100% in love, always honest with each other and respectful of one another.
So why Nat couldn't tell Neil why she didn't want a baby in the first place and continued to keep her secret is mind-boggling!
Pages and pages waffle on with Neil believing Nat's feelings are 'unnatural' and not once do the 'loving couple' actually properly discuss it.
And why were Nat's feelings about not having a baby made out to be so wrong?

The tedious little black book carry-on: what female actually gets one of those out and calls everyone in it to arrange a meeting??? I didn't know whether to feel angry, sad or irritated by this part of the book, so I just went for mind-numbingly bored.

Neil's strip club jaunts were so ridiculous and pathetic I had to laugh, especially as the author goes into great (too great!) detail about Neil's attraction to the stripper's nipples and why. To then have Neil never out the place, just wanting to 'talk' and be in the 'company' of the stripper is taking the biscuit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sack the editor 9 Sep 2011
By ms read
So far....referring to her boyfriend as handsome, when he'd already been described as just above average. Calling pushchairs strollers..since when did we live in the USA? Describing her parents garden as 'a riot of colour' what? In the autumn? I always find this with A P. Sloppy continuity and sack the editor! She can tell a tale but needs to concentrate a bit harder on editing and characterisation. Spoils it for me from the start regardless of the plot. You do pick up a book like this for fluff tho one has to remember, so it won't be that well written. I tend to intersperse chick lit with proper books for some light relief.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book by Adele Parks 7 Nov 2010
This is yet another thoroughly entertaining and well observed novel by Parks. She really understands how to write believable characters and is not afraid to put them into difficult situations. The central couple, Nat and Neil, have some complex and unexpected challenges to overcome and without wishing to give away any spoilers I can assue you that you will be very surprised by the honest revalations that come to life as you read through the story. It has a brilliant emotional end to it as well which kept me reading late into the night.

Highly recommended
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity 2 July 2011
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
I don't read a lot of chick-lit but have enjoyed some of Parks' previous books - but this is not one of the better ones. What could have been an interesting story: the loved-up couple where he suddenly decides he wants a baby, and she doesn't, feels irritatingly contrived.

There are huge chunks of this book that are very messily told, with extended back stories and the introduction of other couples who seem to be little more than padding.

As other reviewers have said, Nat isn't even allowed to simply have no maternal urge - a subject only just being discussed openly by women - and instead has to have a deep, dark secret to explain her 'unnatural' feelings.

This has the opportunity to be taboo-breaking but just cops out - and is full of increasingly awkward contrivances to manipulate the plot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I really enjoyed this book which surprised me as I had read previous reviews on here beforehand so I wasn't expecting much. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Louise
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect for your sunbed feel good page turner !
Loved reading this book on holiday!
I made some new friends in Neil and Nat and the gang.
Neil's broodiness made me broody but I could totally empathise with Nat... Read more
Published 7 months ago by John McHale
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and compelling
Men I've Loved Before is the first of Adele Parks' novels I've had the pleasure of reading, and I have to admit it was compelling. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Julie Lees
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish
I was largely optimistic about this book when I started, aware of the mixed reviews on here. However, I got half way through and felt like nothing was progressing. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Kindle_Queen
1.0 out of 5 stars tedious in the ecxtreme
I can't really add much more to the other reviews, it was tedious and monotonous and I guessed the ending. Read more
Published 18 months ago by bookworm
1.0 out of 5 stars such a disappointment
I adore all her other books, the type I can devour in a day.
However, I was fed up of this before I'd even reached pg40! So long winded and it just waffles on and on. Read more
Published 19 months ago by niclh
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good!
If you've read other books from this author then there is a good chance you will also enjoy this one.
The story was brilliant and realistic. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Realistic Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I really liked this book - I didn't know how it was going to end and am pleased it worked out well in the end!
Published 23 months ago by Louise Phillips
1.0 out of 5 stars Gemma
I found this book boring. It started off well and enjoyable, but towards the middle it became really boring. Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2012 by Gemma
1.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Disappointing
I am a fan of Adele Parks and have read all of her previous books. I consider her among the best writers in the Chick Lit genre at present and was really looking forward to reading... Read more
Published on 28 Feb 2012 by NSorrell
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