Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the rule is that fat girls like her don't get guys like gorgeous William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William's been in LA for three years, and Neve's been slimming down and reinventing herself so that when he returns, he'll fall head over heels in love with the new her.
So she's not that interested in other men, Until her sister points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the 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 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?This book is quite long at 555 pages but it wasn't a problem as I enjoyed each one.
Neve is holding out for William who she met at Oxford University, he has been in LA for the last 3 years and their only contact has been emails and long, long, handwritten letters. However, Neve is convinced that William is 'The One' and so she is doing everything to be ready for his return. William is in for a shock though as Neve is half the woman she was; Neve's weight and her quest to lose it is a huge part of her life. At first I found this aspect of the character a little off-putting but as I learnt more about Neve and the negative impact her weight has had on her life, I began to like and understand her a lot more.
Neve lives in a house converted into flats, she has the top floor, her little sister Celia the bottom floor and then her brother Douglas and his nasty wife Celia have other one. Charlotte is a pretty nasty piece of work; she made Neve's life hell by bullying her about her size at school and she still manages to intimidate her now. Neve's sister Celia is a lovely character, she works for a fashion magazine and she introduces Neve to Max, one of the editors. Max is very much a ladies man and Celia warns her big sister to keep her distance. But it is Max who os the persistent one, following Neve home, trying to charm his way into her pants.
Realising that Max is not going to give up, Neve decides that he could be a good relationship practice before William returns. Ground rules are set; no holding hands, no sex and it will all be over once William is back on British soil. So much to everyone's surprise, Max and Neve embark on a pretend relationship, they have dates, share the same bed but there are no strings attached. Well there shouldn't be but once Neve realises that their time together is coming to an end she begins to wonder if William really is 'The One' and what will life be like without Max?
Sarra Manning has written an excellent book. Neve has bit of the Bridget Jones factor about her in that she is a woman that many female readers will completely identify with. She has aspirations, insecurities, fears and needs; she just didn't bet on Max becoming one of them.
You Don't Have to Tell Me That You Love Me is an absorbing, sexy read. Max and Neve are really well formed characters and I was a bit sad when I got to the last page. This really is a great book and I shall look out for others by Sarra Manning in the future.
Many thanks to Corgi / Transworld for sending me a copy of this book to review, it is available now!