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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 November 2010
~Story~

Maggie Storm is determined that she will begin to act on her promises to herself. She will stand up for herself, she will try to stop daydreaming about the heroes in the romance novels she reads, and start really trying with her slob of a husband.

Ella Moore is determined to not let her heart rule her head. She has spent seven years with her ex Lawrence and his two children before finally being driven away by a selfish and spoilt child in the form of Lawrence's daughter.

Ethan Moore promises himself no more women. Stuck in a soulless marriage to a woman that he doesn't love and a daughter that is just like her mother, he is determined he will no longer play away from home. However, when Ella Moore comes into his life he doesn't quite know what to do.

~Opinion~

Erica James books have always been a source of enjoyment for me. Yes she produces Chick Lit romance books but she always manages to integrate a dose of realism without it becoming too depressing.

In this book Erica's writing style is as ever so easy to get along with. You are swept away with the characters as they are introduced to you and you find yourself feeling like you want to be a part of what is going on.

In this case it is meeting the three main characters and their husbands' wives or children. Maggie is the first we meet and I instantly loved here character. She is a woman that cleans houses for a living and is constantly being put down by her mother in law, or being bossed around by her slob of a husband. Next comes Ella and initially I wasn't sure about Ella, but as time goes on you really warm to her and can see that she is suffering to get through the feeling that she has wasted many years on a man who cannot commit to her for all the wrong reasons. Lastly we meet Ethan who although selfish, I couldn't help but really like.

The story is told from all of their perspectives which makes it easy to follow each thread. Ethan's wife was despicable and a great bit of character writing from Erica James. This latest book was a pretty hefty offering at 448 pages but no sooner had I started it I was turning pages incredibly quickly.

The story itself was told really well because although it's essentially a romance book, it's what I like to call reality romance. We see the realities that maybe we know happen in real life. We see women that stay with the wrong man, women that marry for the wrong reasons and men that have affairs because they are unhappy. It is told with sympathy but a good old dose of reality.

By the halfway mark I decided to give up on the idea of finishing my much overdue ironing and devoured the second half in one foul swoop. I finished the book feeling happy that the ending was as I thought, yes a tad predictable but still it was the ending that I had hoped for. Once again Erica James has created a very good Chick Lit books that her fans should love, I know I did!
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on 25 January 2011
This book tells the story of three people, Maggie a cleaner whose unhappy marriage to Dave finally takes its toll, Ella, a painter who has had enough of relationships and from now on is off men, and Ethan who has made a resolution, no more women. They develop a relationship with each other that is supportive and loving. The story has realistic characters who at the end I was sad to say bye too. The story is endearing and ends just the way you want it to. Pure escapism. Loved it 5 stars!
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on 27 September 2011
I remember the first Erica James book that i read - it was so exciting to find a new author. I've since read all her novels and i am never disappointed.Her characters are strong but believable and the story moves with a pace.

The book focuses on 3 key characters.

Maggie Storm feels trapped and under appreciated. Working as a cleaner for women who are far too hoity toity, and stuck in a marriage of routine and boredom, she promises herself to stand up for herself a little more.

Ella Moore is an artist. . She has spent too long with her ex Lawrence and his two children before finally being driven away by a selfish and spoilt child in the form of Lawrence's daughter. She starts to build a life built around her passion of painting

Ethan Moore promises himself no more women. Stuck in a soulless marriage to a woman that he doesn't love and a daughter that is just like her mother. However, when Ella Moore comes into his life he doesn't quite know what to do.

3 great characters, their stories intertwine as they try to keep the promises they made to themselves. A brilliant read - well worth losing yourself in!
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on 5 June 2011
I've been rather disheartened with one or two of her books recently, but this one is brilliant and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it. She also seems to have become more down to earth in this one too. More amusing and more "with it".

There are many characters in this book, but the main three are Ethan, Ella and Maggie. All have their crosses to bear and they are surrounded by quite a few unpleasant people, some of whom I'm sure we all recognise or have met at some time in our lives. Maggie, with her lazy husband, Dave, and the son who are totally unappreciative of everything she does and who treat her like a doormat and skivvy just to do their bidding, then there is Brenda the dreadful mother in law from hell and the rest of Dave's family. Next we have Ella who has her life made a misery, initially, by her partner's daughter - both of whom are control freaks and last, but not least, Ethan who has this nightmare wife and daughter and who is plagued by the mad woman from next door. All very plausible people. I absolutely cracked up over the description of the barbecue and the dogs etc - hilarious. You could picture it all happening in slow motion. It did have the usual predictable ending but, for me, it was great and the kind of ending we all need with the world like it is today.

I'm just sorry that I've finished it and I hope she writes another one like it soon.
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on 20 December 2012
With a toddler and a new baby I wanted an easy, enjoyable read to see me through the nights holding my colicy baby upright while she slept.
I wasn't expecting a great mind expanding novel, but was amazed that so many people gave this good reviews. I couldn't relate or warm to any of the characters. The relationships were unbelievable and they were all pretty unpleasant. I haven't read any books by this author and won't be trying any others. 3 or 4 times I just closed the book thinking life was too short to persevere with it. I'm not one for leaving things unfinshed though and I kept hoping that maybe it would improve an there would be a twist in the tale to make it worthwhile. It didn't and there wasn't. Just bought a book by Jojo Moyes, which, so far seems to be much more suitable for a non taxing, enjoyable story to keep me awake at 4am.
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on 20 April 2014
I was completely addicted to this book and loved every minute spent reading it! Completely devastated when it came to the end, I just wanted to keep reading more and more! Onto the next fantastic Erica James novel.
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on 10 January 2011
Im a follower of Erica James's books. l just enjoy how she can make me feel part of her stories. This book was still a pageturner for me,but l felt was not one of her best.Having said that l will always buy books written by Erica James
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on 6 March 2014
Such an easy and enjoyable book to read on my daily commute to and from work. There is an old fashioned innocence in all her books.

It is the second time I have read the book. Just bought my next two
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on 2 November 2011
Ella fell in love with a widower with two children. One child accepts her, the other hates her and is as difficult as it is possible to be.

Maggie is married to a slob of a man, and suffers the tirades of a truly obnoxious mother-in-law who treates her badly.

Ethan is married to a trophy wife who loves his bank balance, and is only interested in showing off her wealth and superiority to anyone who might be impressed. She is cold towards Ethan, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, seeks physical and ultimately emotional warmth elsewhere.

When the lives of these main characters, and others, become entwined, life becomes interestingly complex.

Emotions are raw, the weak and oppressed become stronger, the downright evil get their come-uppance, and just occasionally love triumphs over all.

Difficult to put down.
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on 3 July 2014
I loved this book! It starts at the beginning of a New Year with three people – Maggie, Ella and Ethan – deciding to make resolutions to change their lives. Maggie is treated like a doormat by her husband Dave who is a complete slob and who she calls Mr Blobby (She said this too often though and it became a bit annoying) and her son Dean. Maggie works as a cleaner and some of her clients are simply dreadful, replicating the lack of respect she receives at home; so Maggie resolves to stick up for herself. I think the author has given Maggie a cleaning job to emphasise her subservience; she wants to have a life like the heroines in her chick-lit books she laps up with regularity.

Maggie knows Ethan as she cleans his house, although she is employed by his wife Francine. Francine and her spoiled daughter Valentina are portrayed as something of caricatures; living a WAG life without being married to a footballer. All is not as it seems despite the veneer of gloss and Ethan’s resolution is to stop the one night-stands he uses as a panacea against his failing marriage and business; we find out later why he stays and the almost catastrophic results of that decision. The reason behind the business failure is explained but to be fair to Francine, there is no real explanation of why the marriage went wrong initially or justification for his philandering. This, and his reactions to Ella, tries my sympathy towards Ethan somewhat, notwithstanding Francine being a complete nightmare!

Ella is an interior specialist decorator but she is unhappy as she has ended her long term relationship reluctantly after years of hostility from her widowed partner Lawrence’s teenage daughter Alexis. She resolves to be more circumspect in future. She takes a commission from Francine and meets both Ethan and Maggie but is determined to be her own person. The stories of each of the three characters are interweaved very skilfully and we watch them as they consider not only the promises they have made to themselves at the start of the year, but how remaining true to themselves and the re-evaluation of their lives and the changes they each have to make, conflicts with promises they have made to others.

Each person’s story is told from their own perspective but in the third person. We also get to meet other characters along the way – I loved Mrs Oates and Jack, but Daryl failed to convince, and the transformation of Maggie was a little too slick and unbelievable, and her in-laws were a bit too much of caricature nightmares, which has lost the final half a star. I liked the writing style, the general ordinariness of the characters, and the setting in the North of England was a bonus for me. Really enjoyed reading it and didn’t want to put it down. 4.5.
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