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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done!
If you liked her previuos books, then you cannot miss this one! Here's to another pleasant novel by Adele! The perfect holiday read.
Published on 9 Nov 2010 by Isabella

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Palls quickly...
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...
Published on 6 Jan 2011 by A. L. Rutter


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done!, 9 Nov 2010
This review is from: Men I've Loved Before (Hardcover)
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
By 
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Men I've Loved Before (Hardcover)
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. I found myself literally rolling my eyes in exasperation.

Parks also has an issue writing realistic male characters. One line stood out for me at an early stage of the novel:

"But somewhere, deep down inside him, he'd always found single-man sex unsettling. He found it a problem that even in the very moment of orgasm he'd start to panic about where his next shag would come from."

I put this line to various of my male friends and they LAUGHED at it, they were so unconvinced. That is not the response that Parks wished for, I'll wager! Karl is a stinker of a character - so vile that I shuddered whenever he was on the page. Nat's various exes universally had issues. Even Neil - supposedly the hero of the piece - ends up going to a strip club and staring rather too much at a stripper's nipples (yes, Parks did describe these nipples in sickening detail...)

I think I understand that Parks is trying to present a realistic look at life between a couple - where issues do crop up, and arguments do happen. But, seriously, I just ended up feeling depressed at their constant bickering and wishing I could shake the pair of them. I read chick lit for the escapism, not to feel sucked into the minutiae of painful discussions and problems that are seemingly unresolvable.

So, read the first one hundred pages for a great look at a fun couple. And then firmly close the book. Parks has written far better books.
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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
This review is from: Men I've Loved Before (Paperback)
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.
Then becoming friends with her and her little daughter?!?!? Please! It actually got a tad creepy here and my dislike for Neil deepened.

Nat then practically has a breakdown and does something so unrealistic for someone in a supposed loving relationship to do, despite the few problems, which is when I was tempted to throw the book in the bin.
But I had to see how pathetic the ending was, and I was right, it was ridiculous, cheesy and very very obvious. Steer clear.
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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
This review is from: Men I've Loved Before (Paperback)
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 review is from: Men I've Loved Before (Hardcover)
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 (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Men I've Loved Before (Paperback)
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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 16 Aug 2010
This review is from: Men I've Loved Before (Hardcover)
I have read all of Adele Parks and usually really enjoy them but I found this one clumsy and patronising. I thought wow this could be a great read as it starts with an interesting idea of woman not wanting children but it quickly became apparent that this wasn't really the case. I'll try and not give to much of the story as I don't want to spoil it for anyone but I thought the plot became totally implausible towards the middle and continues that way to the end. It feels like the author just wanted shot of the book so just rattled off an ending and didn't really explore any of the issues that had come up in previous chapters (like her husbands response to the mother issue). I am also disappointed that the main female character is not allowed to simply not want children. That there has to be a dark secret reason behind this. My hardback copy which i usually keep will be going straight to oxfam.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars tedious in the ecxtreme, 3 Oct 2012
This review is from: Men I've Loved Before (Paperback)
I can't really add much more to the other reviews, it was tedious and monotonous and I guessed the ending. Neil really got on my nerves and as to why Natalie didn't tell him the truth was beyond childish
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars such a disappointment, 21 Sep 2012
This review is from: Men I've Loved Before (Paperback)
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.
It took me at least 4 days to do those 40 pages I was that uninterested by it, I've not even bothered reading anymore and chucked it out.
Do not recommend at all
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lost me halfway through, 7 Aug 2011
This review is from: Men I've Loved Before (Hardcover)
Awful, I threw it in the bin after I had read it, not even worth repacking for my flight home!
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Men I've Loved Before
Men I've Loved Before by Adele Parks (Paperback - 31 Mar 2011)
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