Wednesday 6 January 2010

The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous - Jilly Cooper

Here we go again with another hefty tome concerning rich people, fast lifestyles and rampant infidelity. In fact, infidelity is rather the theme of The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous - Lysander Hawkley is making a living from lonely housewives in the village of Paradise, improving their appearance, making them desirable and encouraging their husbands to come home. The problem is, he never anticipated falling in love with one of them...

I have a lot of issues with this book, hence the low rating compared to the other novels I have read by Jilly Cooper. We move here from the horse world into that of classical music, meeting for the first time such characters as Roberto Rannaldini and Hermione Harefield. This made me realise just how much of Jilly's books are made gripping by the presence of animals. In fact, another of my gripes is that here Cooper shoehorned in a plot concerning an old racehorse called Arthur - not only was it entirely extraneous to the plot, but she also reused a plot device from an earlier book. The first time she used it to great effect - this time I could only think about the fact that it had already cropped up in a prior book.

In addition to this I found the entire idea of a man employed to make husbands jealous ludicrous, and the amounts he earnt for doing so seemed ultra unrealistic. I also didn't enjoy the amount of adultery - I know Jilly's books are known for their bed hopping and wife swapping, but here it seemed overwhelming to have a whole plot centred around it.

I did enjoy some of the outrageous characters in this book, though. Lysander himself is sweet, gorgeous and sensitive. Flora was fiery and fun to read about. And once again the animals stole the show somewhat, particularly Arthur.

This book I have now read twice, and both times it has left very little impact. Forgettable.

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