Jilly Cooper books are my guilty pleasure! Everyone has one, and they come in all shapes and sizes, mine just happens to be in the form of these incredibly enjoyable and amusing books. I know they aren’t literary classics, but I LOVE them, and as far as I’m concerned any book that makes me laugh and cry as much as all of Jilly Cooper’s has got to be a winner. And ‘The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous’ is without a doubt my favourite, so it was just the thing to help me relax after a stressful/emotional six weeks on placement.
This was the first Jilly Cooper book I ever read. I discovered it sitting on the bookcase in my Grandparents’ spare room when I was about 15/16, surprising really as I can’t remember either of my Grandparents ever reading a book, so who knows how it got there. It is hard to tell what first drew me to the book, sadly their copy did not have the alluring cover displayed in the photo, but perhaps my teenage self just knew it would be a gripping read.
The book centres on Lysander Hawkley and his ‘career’ as a man who makes husbands jealous, sounds dubious I know, but I think Cooper is just amazing at depicting a world of glamorous romantic heroes and fabulously bitchy women, with old favourites (such as the devastatingly attractive Rupert Campbell-Black) making a return. And she paints a beautiful image of the English countryside, when I was in my late teens I would have given anything to move to the Cotswolds…oh the power of reading!
The book probably should come with a parental guidance sticker, but it is not solely about sex; there are moments in nearly all of Cooper’s books where I have to wipe away the tears, from laughing as well as crying. You could argue, and I am sure many people do, that her books are just about posh people, horses and sex, but I think there is so much more to them, not only have I learnt bits and pieces about polo, opera, classical music and poetry through my avid reading of anything Jilly Cooper has ever written, but I have also extended my vocabulary, yes I am not afraid to admit that before Cooper I had no idea what ‘fatuous’, ‘philistine’ and about a million other words meant, so I like to think I have been educated along the way. I don’t care if I am the only one who believes it, or if my family laugh at me about my obsession for the rest of my life, I think the books are amazing and I don’t think my love for them will ever change.
As this is increasingly becoming a rant about my love for Jilly Cooper in general I think I will leave it there. Don’t worry though, I am off to tackle Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa now on the advice of Jillian, and as part of the Clarissa in April groupread, so I do read some serious literature as well.