Last week I managed to read two books in a row where the male lead was called Dexter. This was wildly confusing for me, because I have trouble keeping characters straight in my head anyways, so I was frequently mixing the two Dexters up. Nonetheless, I struggled through, and decided Dexter one was a vastly inferior specimen when compared to Dexter two, who was a treasure.
Dexter #1: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
Something Borrowed tells the story of Rachel, a young attorney living and working in Manhattan.
Rachel has always been the consummate good girl—until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend, Darcy, throws her a party. That night, after too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy’s fiancé. Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for the one guy she should run from. As the September wedding date nears, Rachel knows she has to make a choice. In doing so, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren’t always neat, and sometimes you have to risk all to win true happiness.
Something Borrowed is a phenomenal debut novel that will have you laughing, crying, and calling your best friend.
I wasn’t very keen on this Dexter – or on this book, actually. There was lots of good stuff in here about toxic friendships, moving on from relationships that no longer work for you, and finding a partner you really like. But actually, it was all couched in such rubbish terms. Darcy and Rachel love each other? Hate each other? Darcy was a caricature of how terrible a person she was, and Rachel was suckered by her prolific lies. And yet she continues having this affair with Darcy’s fiancé. Um… What’s going on here? It’s painted as some kind of happy fun romance between Rachel and Dexter, but actually it’s seedy and sordid, and I was really not keen on either character by the end of the book. This Dexter might have been painted as a swoonworthy man that two women would be fighting over, but he’s definitely not for me. Although there was a nice diversion into a tort law lecture in this book, which I appreciated.
Two Stars – Dexter is not my dreamy leading man.
Dexter #2: Don’t Want To Miss A Thing – Jill Mansell
Dexter Yates loves his fun, care-free London life; he has money, looks and girlfriends galore. But everything changes overnight when his sister dies, leaving him in charge of her eight-month-old daughter Delphi. How is he ever going to cope?
Comic-strip artist Molly Hayes lives in the beautiful Cotswold village of Briarwood. When it comes to relationships, she has a history of choosing all the wrong men. Leaving the city behind, Dex moves to Briarwood – a much better place to work on his parenting skills – and he and Molly become neighbours. There’s an undeniable connection between them. But if Dexter’s going to adapt, he first has a lot to learn about Molly, about other people’s secrets…and about himself.
Now this, this is the kind of leading man I like. Dexter is a man about town, with a string of girls in his bed and a sporty yellow Porsche. But when his sister dies, and he’s suddenly left – literally – holding the baby, he really steps up. Developing a relationship with the locals in his previously weekend getaway cottage in Briarwood, Dexter develops and changes in such wonderful ways. He’s far from perfect, but he is very swoonworthy.
Jill Mansell books are always a winner for me. They’re not groundbreaking, and they rarely stir excesses of emotion in me, but they’re always very enjoyable, like a cuddly hoodie that you love to throw on after a hard day at work. This is no exception, and with an ensemble cast of characters that works well together, this book was a big thumbs up for me.
Four Stars – and I wish I had my own Dexter Yates!