Publication date: 3rd February 2011
My rating: 4 stars
Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don't get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William's been in LA for three years, and Neve's been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he'll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her. So she's not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she'd better get some, well, experience. What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia's colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he's such a man-slut, and so not Neve's type, she certainly won't fall for him. Because William is the man for her... right? Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve's lost her heart - but to who?(
Manning’s You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is chick lit at its best. It was a book which reminded me why chick lit books were the only ones I used to devour; with its funny witty characters, predictable plot ending which I didn’t care about as I was having too much fun. It was a book which left a smile on my face and with warm fuzzies as it was such a feel good read.
Neve has known William her student advisor has always been the one, he gets her enthusiasm about literary authors and has always been the guy that she can have proper conversations with. But William takes up an offer as a professor in California for three years. Neve takes this and another major event in her life as the wake-up call to lose weight; she used to be a size 32 but decides to become a size 10 by the time William gets back. Her sister Celia suggests Neve also needs some relationship experience which will help to build her confidence before William gets back and so tries to set her up with some guys from work. This alongside internet dating ends up being a huge failure, but then when Neve ends up going home with Celia’s editor Max, the work Casanova, they both end up getting more than what they bargained for.
Max at the beginning was a complete arse, he was a guy know for his reputation with the ladies, always known to be with a new one every single night and so that’s why Celia warned Neve against being with him as she didn’t want her sister being used for one night and then flung out to dry. But Neve and Max came to a compromise, they decided to have a “pancake relationship”; a fake relationship where they get to have a lot of fun but also have a bunch of rules in place to remind them it’s just a pancake relationship, it’s not like they have a lot in common anyway, and it’s only so that Neve can get the experience she needs before William gets back.
Like Neve I was always constantly thinking over their time together what was in it for Max? He could get any girl that he wanted, but he decided to take Neve to all of his magazine events in the evening and when making his way around the room making sure Neve was part of the conversations too. Neve had self-esteem issues because of her weight, so Max did everything he could to help her. Mid-way through this book I didn’t really care why Max agreed in the first place to this pancake relationship, as it was clearly obvious that their relationship was quickly moving beyond the pancake stage. The time Max spent with Neve was clearly having a great effect on his character, the cocky player was soon disappearing and in its place was a charming considerate funny guy. I loved how he could make Neve feel so confident in herself too, how quick he was to cheer her up when she started having self-doubts. Max definitely won me over by the course of this book.
William where do I even start with this guy? I could see why Neve thought he was the one; he was her intellectual equal and always expected much more of her. But through their phone conversations and letters, he came across as a bit self-absorbed and patronising. I’m glad that Neve decided to have some fun with Max as he definitely showed her what a good time was instead of being cooped up in the British library double checking references for William.
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me was a book that took me by surprise, because it was a book that I ended up in buying in the moment, leaving on my shelf unread for ages and then not being able to put it down once I started it. This book was another example of why I’m such a bad read-along partner, as I finished it days ahead of everyone else. I hugely recommend picking up You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me when you’re looking for a perfect rainy day comfort read, it has some great swoony scenes; it’s laced with the perfect amount of humour and will leave you with a warm glowing feeling for the rest of the day.