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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 14 November 2014
Found this in a villa I was staying in on holiday. I can see why it got left behind! Although it starts well and I had high hopes for some enjoyable chick-lit, it swiftly plummeted and became utterly boring and inane. The two main characters are bland and unlikeable,with a wimpy pathetic husband and a wife who was too stupid to tell him her big 'secret' about why she didn't want children. As to contacting ex-boyfriends for dates - who does that? It was just so unbelievable that they could live together in the same house and not talk about things or have a screaming row about it all, when they were meant to be so in love at the start of the story. Hated this book, won't read any more of hers, even on holidays when there is nothing else to read!
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on 4 April 2011
I have just finished reading this book and I have to say I found it awful. I usually like Adele Parks and find her novels well written and researched. However this one is full of pap in the middle that is totally pointless and tells you nothing at all. The ending is beyond patronising and the character has to have some special reason to not wanting children - er why? I personally do, but I have friends in the thirties who just do not. End of. I can totally understand this. Some of the characters were very thin and one dimensional - well everyone bar Neil and Nat which get far too much time dedicated to without being told very much. One felt reading it like you were peddling up hill in the wrong gear, expending energy through frustration at the pot holes, without actually getting very far. Disappointing.
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on 27 April 2013
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. I wanted to get into it but it just wasn't a "page turner" for me. The plot seemed slow and sluggish and slightly as if I wanted to shout "we know that you don't want kids! Where is this going?!" But in the end I figured life was too short to keep reading a book I didn't enjoy, it's going to the charity shop in the hope that someone will enjoy it more than I did.

Sorry Adele if you are reading this. I really wanted to enjoy it, I really did.
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on 7 August 2011
Awful, I threw it in the bin after I had read it, not even worth repacking for my flight home!
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on 5 October 2016
It's hard to pinpoint what I didn't overly enjoy about this book, but I think it was mainly because I didn't warm to the main character Natalie. She seemed cold and guarded with little redeeming qualities. I just couldn't like her. Most of Parks' heroines are always likeable, sparkly, feisty women in my opinion whereas Nat was a bit hard to like and for me if I can't like the main character it's hard to enjoy the book as a whole. As husband and wife Nat and Neil exasperated me and I found the plot fairly slow paced with nothing that exciting or promising happening throughout. I kept willing the book to really get going but alas, it never did. Several parts of the book were disappointing, the opinions voiced at Nat as a woman and her choices were quite patronising and unrealistic, especially given it's the twenty first century. At one point in the middle of the book I thought about giving up as it got to the point where I couldn't stand the stupid choices the characters were making and found them too unrealistic to take at face value.

It seemed the friends of Nat and Neil were more entertaining than Nat and Neil themselves; I thought Karl was hilarious, although quite a devil throughout, his humour was on-point and the character had me cracking up various times. Jen was fairly humorous and I liked Tim. I have to give this three stars as this is Adele Parks we're talking about and although not such a fan of this, I do bloody love her and her work usually!
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The book begins introducing us to a very happy Nat and Neil. I like the way Parks gives us a good look at the characters before the want of a family sets in, because this way we can see how it affects their lives, and we get to know more about the characters too. Nat was very likeable and made for a good leading character for the book. I liked how the marriage affected Nat, it felt very realistic and we got to see all the emotions Nat went through, from anger, upset, disbelief and finally sorrow. Parks puts across the emotions of these characters very well, and it made the novel quite emotional. I also liked how the story for Nat's not wanting children was approached too, very cleverly done and a real surprise for the reader when it's finally revealed.

I expected to like Neil but actually found him quite dislikeable as the book went on. I found myself feeling very sorry for him when he realises his wife doesn't want to have his children, but as the twists and turns go on throughout the book, I decided that I didn't like him very much! I enjoyed that Parks changed my opinion of this character as the book went on, and by the end again I was feeling different again. This book certainly plays on your emotions, and you feel them along with the characters too, despite the right and wrong things that they both do. I liked how both of these characters are quite flawed, and how the longing for something forces them to do things they would otherwise not have done. It gives a great drama to the book because you can feel something bad is going to happen, and you're just waiting to find out what it is.

I actually found that the book reminded me quite a bit of Emily Giffin's novel 'Baby Proof'. That book also focussed on a woman who didn't want children and the affect that had on her relationships. If you've read that book, it'll certainly remind you of this one but not in a bad way. What I liked about Men I've Loved Before is that it didn't just focus on the issue of children throughout the book. We also get to see Nat meeting her past boyfriends, and how this affects her too. It made for a quite exciting read because I was just waiting for Neil to find out about what Nat is doing and how he would react, and I liked the tension this created.

In fact, the book is very well written throughout, and while there are quite a few things going on at once, it was an easy read and one I didn't want to put down. I liked how Parks used the third person when she was writing the book, because this allows the reader to flit between Neil and Nat quite easily, and keeps your interest in the story. The final few chapters were brilliant and the tension that Parks created was the perfect climax for the story. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book, and would definitely recommend it!
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on 3 October 2012
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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on 22 September 2010
I like Adele Parks books, but this is not one of her best. Its easy reading and passed the time, but there wasn't much weight to the subject and the book could have been about half the size! Lots of waffle that you didn't need to know and I skim read a lot of it. Hopefully her next book will be better. I am sure that if she wasn't already an established author then this would never have been published....
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on 17 October 2011
Need i say anymore?

I read a lot of chick lit and have read this author before - won't bother again. Long-winded, boring, dull, lazy writing, did i mention dull?, with a very predictable ending.

Could have crammed the story into about 3 chapters.

I'm even bored of my own review on it....Don't bother....
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on 24 June 2011
Having enjoyed Adele Parks' previous novels, I was hugely disappinted with this one. The plot was predictable and the characters such stereotypes. It all felt like very lazy writing. I've found some of her other heroines unlikeable, but still good reading, but Natalie was just unsympathetic and unpleasant. I wondered if it was me that's outgrown the genre, but then most of the characters are around my age and in theory facing the same kind of dilemmas.

I finished the book, but like the writing, rushed it, just to get it over with. Not sure I'll pick up her next book if this is what we can expect.
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