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How do you know when you've met the one you're meant to be with? Neil and Nat are a match made in heaven. They hate marmite and the opera. They love smelly cheese and the missionary position. And they both absolutely do not want children. At least that's what Nat thought. But now Neil seems to have softened to the prospect of dirty nappies and sleepless nights, and he's prac How do you know when you've met the one you're meant to be with? Neil and Nat are a match made in heaven. They hate marmite and the opera. They love smelly cheese and the missionary position. And they both absolutely do not want children. At least that's what Nat thought. But now Neil seems to have softened to the prospect of dirty nappies and sleepless nights, and he's practically begging her for a baby. Nat, however, has no intention of swapping her high-flying career for a life of endless self-sacrifice. As the cracks start to show, Nat wonders if Neil really is the man of her dreams. Or is it possible that someone from her past could actually be 'the one'? Nat's little black book, filled with the names and addresses of previous lovers, could hold the answers she's looking for. Or it could be a one-way ticket to all kinds of trouble. And is the perfect match too much to ask for?


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How do you know when you've met the one you're meant to be with? Neil and Nat are a match made in heaven. They hate marmite and the opera. They love smelly cheese and the missionary position. And they both absolutely do not want children. At least that's what Nat thought. But now Neil seems to have softened to the prospect of dirty nappies and sleepless nights, and he's prac How do you know when you've met the one you're meant to be with? Neil and Nat are a match made in heaven. They hate marmite and the opera. They love smelly cheese and the missionary position. And they both absolutely do not want children. At least that's what Nat thought. But now Neil seems to have softened to the prospect of dirty nappies and sleepless nights, and he's practically begging her for a baby. Nat, however, has no intention of swapping her high-flying career for a life of endless self-sacrifice. As the cracks start to show, Nat wonders if Neil really is the man of her dreams. Or is it possible that someone from her past could actually be 'the one'? Nat's little black book, filled with the names and addresses of previous lovers, could hold the answers she's looking for. Or it could be a one-way ticket to all kinds of trouble. And is the perfect match too much to ask for?

30 review for Men I've Loved Before

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anna Maria

    I must say that at first I thought the book was quite interesting and I started reading it with enthusiasm, but page after page, chapter after chapter I was really disappointed and I actually didn't like the book very much. The story centres around Neil & Nathalie, a married couple in their early 30s who have agreed not to have children. After his birthday Neil suddenly changes his mind and decides he really wishes to have a baby and become a father after all, and so when he tells Nathalie all th I must say that at first I thought the book was quite interesting and I started reading it with enthusiasm, but page after page, chapter after chapter I was really disappointed and I actually didn't like the book very much. The story centres around Neil & Nathalie, a married couple in their early 30s who have agreed not to have children. After his birthday Neil suddenly changes his mind and decides he really wishes to have a baby and become a father after all, and so when he tells Nathalie all the problems start and this couple that everbody considered perfect start quarreling and ignoring each other. The conclusion was a relief as I was just relieved to have finally finished it!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Noor Hanis

    Don't think this book suits me yet. I'm just a teenager and reading about divorce isn't good for my mental hahaha. Gotta skip this book! It didn't attract my attention much. Must be due to age. #ContinueReading# 25 May 2016 HAHAHAHA! I've made a big mistake to continue reading this book again. It was so crazy of me to be even thinking read this awful book again. Why meet your EXES when you already married? If you have a big argument with your husband, settle it! Don't be like a tuuuuut seeking you Don't think this book suits me yet. I'm just a teenager and reading about divorce isn't good for my mental hahaha. Gotta skip this book! It didn't attract my attention much. Must be due to age. #ContinueReading# 25 May 2016 HAHAHAHA! I've made a big mistake to continue reading this book again. It was so crazy of me to be even thinking read this awful book again. Why meet your EXES when you already married? If you have a big argument with your husband, settle it! Don't be like a tuuuuut seeking your exes aha. The whole story of this book is about Natalie finding her soulmate. God help me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Men I've Loved Before tells the story of Nat and Neil, a thirty something couple who seem to have the marriage from heaven. He has a job he adores, friends he gets on with and the perfect wife. She has a fulfilling career, a family who loves her and the perfect husband. They agree on virtually everything, especially the fact that they don't want children. Until Neil decides that he does. Suddenly they are both questioning every facet of their relationship, and Nat wonders whether any of the men Men I've Loved Before tells the story of Nat and Neil, a thirty something couple who seem to have the marriage from heaven. He has a job he adores, friends he gets on with and the perfect wife. She has a fulfilling career, a family who loves her and the perfect husband. They agree on virtually everything, especially the fact that they don't want children. Until Neil decides that he does. Suddenly they are both questioning every facet of their relationship, and Nat wonders whether any of the men she's loved before could have been the One? I'm conflicted about Adele Parks. Universally I have loved the first hundred pages or so of every single novel she's written (this is the tenth). Parks establishes the set up of characters and relationships perfectly - she creates an entertaining picture of a couple meeting and falling in love. She writes beautifully about chaotic but perfect lives. For me, where Parks unfailingly falls down is when she inserts the tension into a novel, and her couples start bickering. It all feels so artificial and forced. Here we have a woman who doesn't want to have a baby - but there is a big secret "reason" for this. I find it disappointing that Nat wasn't just against babies because she didn't want them - it is a valid choice these days, and not all women want babies. I also thought Neil's storyline with the strippers was appalling, and done to fill up some space rather than to progress the plot in a meaningful way. Lastly, for a couple who are presented as being so together and communicative and honest, why do they have so many problems talking to each other about their issues with the baby factor? *sighs* It was perplexing to me that they descended to arguments rather than just opening up. I found myself literally rolling my eyes in exasperation. Parks also has an issue writing realistic male characters. One line stood out for me at an early stage of the novel: "But somewhere, deep down inside him, he'd always found single-man sex unsettling. He found it a problem that even in the very moment of orgasm he'd start to panic about where his next shag would come from." I put this line to various of my male friends and they LAUGHED at it, they were so unconvinced. That is not the response that Parks wished for, I'll wager! Karl is a stinker of a character - so vile that I shuddered whenever he was on the page. Nat's various exes universally had issues. Even Neil - supposedly the hero of the piece - ends up going to a strip club and staring rather too much at a stripper's nipples (yes, Parks did describe these nipples in sickening detail...) I think I understand that Parks is trying to present a realistic look at life between a couple - where issues do crop up, and arguments do happen. But, seriously, I just ended up feeling depressed at their constant bickering and wishing I could shake the pair of them. I read chick lit for the escapism, not to feel sucked into the minutiae of painful discussions and problems that are seemingly unresolvable. So, read the first one hundred pages for a great look at a fun couple. And then firmly close the book. Parks has written far better books.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have read books by Adele Parks in the past and enjoyed them, I like her writing sytle, characters and plots. However, although I still liked the writing style in this book I was quite disappointed by the characters and plot in this one. It was such a shame that there had to be a big dramatic reason why Nat didn't want kids - it seems to suggest that this would be the only reason a woman would chose not to have them. Initially it made such a nice change to read about a woman who had made the de I have read books by Adele Parks in the past and enjoyed them, I like her writing sytle, characters and plots. However, although I still liked the writing style in this book I was quite disappointed by the characters and plot in this one. It was such a shame that there had to be a big dramatic reason why Nat didn't want kids - it seems to suggest that this would be the only reason a woman would chose not to have them. Initially it made such a nice change to read about a woman who had made the decision not to have children. I thought it was going to be a really interesting read to see how Nat and Neil dealt with the situation where one of them had decided they wanted to start a family while the other didn't, so when I got to the big "reveal" I was gutted. I'm afraid I didn't like the characters and felt that what ended up taking place was so far fetched and totally out of character for the way the main couple are portrayed from the start. They are such a strong loving couple who can talk about anything and then all of a sudden they are going behind each others' backs and can't even sit and discuss such a big issue. Lastly, I was absolutely disgusted with Neil's actions towards the end of the book, but these seemed to be glossed over and accepted by everyone else. As someone that has, up to now, chosen not to have children and has no immediate plans to do so I felt quite strongly about the themes coming out in the first part of this book, but then it all went in the wrong direction as far as I'm concerned. However, this won't put me off reading more of Adele Parks' books, this one just wasn't for me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    Nat is happy, married to her soul mate Neil in cozy domesticity, dedicated and well regarded in her career she is firmly in control of her life's direction. Then Neil drunkenly confesses his desire to start a family and Nat's perfect life begins to crumble under the pressure of an argument where no compromise is possible. Initially I was interested in the dynamics of Nat and Neil's relationship as it began to buckle under the strain of Neil's desire for children and Nat's determination never to b Nat is happy, married to her soul mate Neil in cozy domesticity, dedicated and well regarded in her career she is firmly in control of her life's direction. Then Neil drunkenly confesses his desire to start a family and Nat's perfect life begins to crumble under the pressure of an argument where no compromise is possible. Initially I was interested in the dynamics of Nat and Neil's relationship as it began to buckle under the strain of Neil's desire for children and Nat's determination never to be a mother. Nat's choice has both partners questioning their choices and their marriage. It's a thoughtful examination of a subject that is still taboo as they begin fighting and then ignoring each other, but unfortunately I felt that the situation quickly descended into farce as Nat begins meeting up with largely idiotic ex boyfriends, questioning her devotion to Neil and Neil becomes obsessed with a stripper and her toddler daughter. I felt the author tried to blend a chic lit plot with a women's fiction sensibility which results in an awkward mix. The story was either treated too seriously or not seriously enough depending on which label you want to apply. Both Nat's and Neils behaviour becomes increasingly inexplicable and frustrating and I lost respect for both characters. The conclusion set my teeth on edge, particularly with the stereotype it reinforces (which I can't reveal without a major spoiler), and sadly I was just relieved to have finished it. This is the only book I have read by this author and I liked the writing style enough to give her another shot probably, but for me Men I've Loved Before was ultimately a disappointing read after a promising start.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Josipa

    3.5 ⭐ I found it unbelievable that Neil would want a baby that much. I was irritated by the fact that a couple don't know how to have a normal conversation, especially when it's about something that important. Her reason for not wanting kids was so unrealistic and that part was unnecessary, just as Neil's adventures with Cindy and descriptions of her naked body. All in all, quick-read summer book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Danderma

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The story in this novel started out brilliantly, Nat is preparing to celebrate her husband Neil's 35th birthday with friends and family and a modern restaurant in King's Road. Life is good for the couple, they live in a small house in London with decent jobs they love and are madly in love with each other. They both want the same things in life and one of the things they don't want for sure is children cramping their style. Then one day Neil changes his mind, he just springs it out of no where at The story in this novel started out brilliantly, Nat is preparing to celebrate her husband Neil's 35th birthday with friends and family and a modern restaurant in King's Road. Life is good for the couple, they live in a small house in London with decent jobs they love and are madly in love with each other. They both want the same things in life and one of the things they don't want for sure is children cramping their style. Then one day Neil changes his mind, he just springs it out of no where at Nat, he now wants children, no actually dying for children, and she refuses without giving a reason. What does Neil do? He sulks, he tries like a child to prove she can be a good mother, and Nat keeps silent and retaliates by calling up old her old lovers and meeting with them behind her husband's back, and not knowing how to explain why is she sitting there when they ask her the question themselves. Their relationship unravels until it goes to the point where it all falls apart. I loved the begining of the story. I actually envied the couple the life they had in hip London. Then I couldn't understand how two people so deeply in love and entertwined in each other's lives suddenly stop talking and move away from each other. Just one calm talk would have solved a lot of hanging issues from the begining! Plus, Neil's idiotic, selfish, and quite childish actions made me want to reach inside the book and slap him to his senses. As for Nat, well, I thought I had found a good argument for why a female might choose NOT to bring a child of her own into this world without having to justify it as some deep hidden personal drama but I think I am wrong. All females want to have children apparently and if they don't there is something not right with them. The ending is quite cheesy and frankly, when Neil does two unforgivable things, the last of which is impegrating his wife without her knowledge or her conscent when she had made it absolutely clear she did not want to be pregnant, is so unforgivable I wonder how Nat could stand be around him rather than move on with him by her side as a dotting husband.No, its not OK and no its not the same as what the stripper did by "not taking the pill so she could fall pregnant". Its quite disturbing and the ultimate breach of trust. Therefore I can't chalk the ending to a happy one. If anything, its a sad thing for Nat to be happy about spending her life with that childish sulking jobless wanker even if they loved each other. Would I recommend it? Well, why not? Its not a best seller's material but its a quick and fun read if, say, you are on a plane or having trouble sleeping. Started out great, had a nice twist in the middle, though it flopped in the end.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Agi

    Wow. This book was so realistic. And so about me:) I have totally understood Natalie, even not knowing about her secret, actually I have thought the same way about having a baby. Not enough sleeping, your whole life changes drastically... Maybe a little too egoistic, but nevertheless - true. Not everybody are cut to be a parent. Even without a secret like Natalie's. And there were moments that I hated Neil for pushing Nat so much in baby's direction, for organizing meetings with babies or with f Wow. This book was so realistic. And so about me:) I have totally understood Natalie, even not knowing about her secret, actually I have thought the same way about having a baby. Not enough sleeping, your whole life changes drastically... Maybe a little too egoistic, but nevertheless - true. Not everybody are cut to be a parent. Even without a secret like Natalie's. And there were moments that I hated Neil for pushing Nat so much in baby's direction, for organizing meetings with babies or with friends expecting babies, even if Nat has decided she is not interested. I hated Neil for not even trying to understand Nat's point of view - even without knowing about her secret - because doesn't matter how, it is always the woman who is carrying the baby, who is giving birth to the baby, who is taking the biggest part care about the baby. And then came the big secret... And I have a baby myself now:) The nights, lack of sleeping, the life staying on its head, the total change of everything... It is all true. But worth it. For my liking there were maybe too many and too long descriptions, but they were needed as well. It was not an easy book to read, although it have me hooked from the very beginning, I couldn't wait to turn the page and was very curious about the end. It was definitely not the last Parks's book that I've read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Petra Bašlin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Though I'm not a fan of romance novels (at least if they're not historical), when I first started reading this book, I thought it was really good. However, as I continued reading, it got worse and worse. When author was describing Nat in the past, Nat somehow reminded me of Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele. Karl is one big sexist asshole and a man whore who only chases skirts. Jen is stupid. Neil is a pussy. I didn't read it till the end, but I peeked in some of the last chapters and found out th Though I'm not a fan of romance novels (at least if they're not historical), when I first started reading this book, I thought it was really good. However, as I continued reading, it got worse and worse. When author was describing Nat in the past, Nat somehow reminded me of Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele. Karl is one big sexist asshole and a man whore who only chases skirts. Jen is stupid. Neil is a pussy. I didn't read it till the end, but I peeked in some of the last chapters and found out that Neil impregnated Nat without her knowing it and it was his perfect stripper Cindy who gave him idea how. And I found out that Nat stayed with Neil and gave birth to their child. WTF???? The book was sexist, most of the minor female characters want children or have them, some of them said something: ''You know guys'' or something like that... I also peeked on other people's reviews here and saw that some of you mentioned how Nat had some dramatic reason for not wanting children. Can someone please tell me what was her reason? I can bear to read it till the end. It seems all women should want to have children just because they're WOMEN and have a reproductive organs.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mergime

    Not every woman wants a child, and I'm disgusted by the fact that the reader excuses acts like INTENTIONALLY blowing up a condom just so some man's wife would get pregnant. Yes, I say the writer excuses this behavior, since the character didn't leave her husband, nor was there more than two sentences about this act in the book, even though the character clearly said she didn't want any children. In this book, women are pictured as selfish if they don't want children, and that's a really bad way Not every woman wants a child, and I'm disgusted by the fact that the reader excuses acts like INTENTIONALLY blowing up a condom just so some man's wife would get pregnant. Yes, I say the writer excuses this behavior, since the character didn't leave her husband, nor was there more than two sentences about this act in the book, even though the character clearly said she didn't want any children. In this book, women are pictured as selfish if they don't want children, and that's a really bad way of picturing women. I understand that this is only a book written so it could be sold, and is only for relaxing before going to sleep, but women read books like this one, and it's awful reading that a woman would still be with a man after he has done something that horrible to her. I wouldn't recommend this book to a younger person, since this way we could potentially give our teenagers a wrong picture about healthy relationships.

  11. 5 out of 5

    CuteBadger

    Nat, who has always said she doesn't want children, is married to Neil, who has always said he doesn't want them either, but when he changes his mind it causes problems. This book annoyed me as it operates on the premise that all women must want children and that there's something wrong with them if they don't. In addition, the whole plot hangs on a piece of information that Nat has never told anyone - but if she had everything would have been sorted out in seconds. I hate this kind of plot devic Nat, who has always said she doesn't want children, is married to Neil, who has always said he doesn't want them either, but when he changes his mind it causes problems. This book annoyed me as it operates on the premise that all women must want children and that there's something wrong with them if they don't. In addition, the whole plot hangs on a piece of information that Nat has never told anyone - but if she had everything would have been sorted out in seconds. I hate this kind of plot device with a passion - it always seems contrived and that the author is taking advantage somehow. I hadn't read any Adele Parks before I read this, and give how little I enjoyed it I won't be seeking out any more of her books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dawni

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found this one very disappointing, especially the ending, which was both sickening and unrealistic. Neil's actions, particular at the end, were apalling, and Nat's weren't much better. By the end, they seemed much more like a pair of squabbling teenagers than a pair of supposedly devoted adults capable of parenting a child. I am still absolutely baffled that there were no consequences for Neil having deliberately gone against Nat's wishes and FORCED her into a position where she was at risk of I found this one very disappointing, especially the ending, which was both sickening and unrealistic. Neil's actions, particular at the end, were apalling, and Nat's weren't much better. By the end, they seemed much more like a pair of squabbling teenagers than a pair of supposedly devoted adults capable of parenting a child. I am still absolutely baffled that there were no consequences for Neil having deliberately gone against Nat's wishes and FORCED her into a position where she was at risk of pregnancy. The portrayal of this as a 'nothing' - a great way to get what you want when your partner says no - left me, frankly, disgusted.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    Really disappointing. I've enjoyed all her other books, but found myself really bored by this one. The story centres around Neil & Nat, a married couple in their early 30s who have agreed not to have children ... until Neil suddenly decided he does actually want a baby, after all. I thought it was clumsily written, with poor characters, a lot of the plot was unbelievable and didn't ring true at all, and generally I was just bored,and found myself skipping through chunks, in a bid to get to the end Really disappointing. I've enjoyed all her other books, but found myself really bored by this one. The story centres around Neil & Nat, a married couple in their early 30s who have agreed not to have children ... until Neil suddenly decided he does actually want a baby, after all. I thought it was clumsily written, with poor characters, a lot of the plot was unbelievable and didn't ring true at all, and generally I was just bored,and found myself skipping through chunks, in a bid to get to the end. I also saw every plot 'twist' coming absolutely miles off, which didn't help.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    I've read loads of her books and love them but wasn't too sure of this one at first but it definitely grew on me.Just didn't find it believable that she wouldn't tell her husband something that important when they were 'soul mates'.....but saying that,had a nice and tidy happy ending which was what I wanted even if not true to how it would be in real-life!!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fiona Lansdown

    Chick lit of the annoying whingey heroine variety. She doesn't want to have kids, he decides he does, she goes back to visit all her ex-boyfriends to see if any of them would have been a better choice - sigh of boredom already. Oh, and the ending is really horrible, where basically the husband behaves pretty badly but the wifey lovingly forgives him.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    This was just OK - storyline was slow and I couldn't warm to the main character - in fact I wanted to give her a good slap!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena

    It was a birthday present (from two and a half years ago) so I thought it would be polite to read it. Full of clichés and very predictable but it killed the time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Woman meets man, man wants baby, woman doesn’t want baby because her mum died whilst giving birth to her. Woman conveniently finds old black book and starts meeting her exes. Woman/Man are argumentative, borderline alcoholics, not communicating properly and end up nearly fucking other people. Also, man decided to “trick” his partner into having his baby by piercing holes in his condom. I mean “what the actual fuck!!!”. I hated everything about the book but it was well paced, there was something Woman meets man, man wants baby, woman doesn’t want baby because her mum died whilst giving birth to her. Woman conveniently finds old black book and starts meeting her exes. Woman/Man are argumentative, borderline alcoholics, not communicating properly and end up nearly fucking other people. Also, man decided to “trick” his partner into having his baby by piercing holes in his condom. I mean “what the actual fuck!!!”. I hated everything about the book but it was well paced, there was something intriguing about the characters, the dynamics of Nina and Nat made me read on. It is an easy summer read. So, yeah, two stars from me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Reader0102

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Terrible! On so many levels...the writing, the plot (or lack of one), the cliches and the casual misogyny. She doesn't want children, he finds out one fine day that he does, he pricks holes in condom, she gets pregnant, decides she actually wants to have a baby, and they live happily ever after. Oh and she works at the "world's largest pharmaceutical company". Her work at the "world's largest pharmaceutical company" was going very well. They are very much in love, but cannot have a proper conver Terrible! On so many levels...the writing, the plot (or lack of one), the cliches and the casual misogyny. She doesn't want children, he finds out one fine day that he does, he pricks holes in condom, she gets pregnant, decides she actually wants to have a baby, and they live happily ever after. Oh and she works at the "world's largest pharmaceutical company". Her work at the "world's largest pharmaceutical company" was going very well. They are very much in love, but cannot have a proper conversation; when they are unhappy they binge drink (as do most of their friends); then there are the steroetypical friends who are either only interested in sex talk (men) or in getting married (woman).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gaynor Evans

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I sort of enjoyed this, well the last 10 pages anyway, which is a shame as I love Adele Parks books. I didn’t fly through it like I normally do with chick lit. It was all a bit turgid, lots of he does this so she does that stretched out for over 300 pages. Once Nat finds out Neil pricked the condom she instantaneously decides to have the baby after banging on for all the book that she would NOT have a baby under ANY circumstances. All rather predictable and a bit shit. I gave 3 stars because the I sort of enjoyed this, well the last 10 pages anyway, which is a shame as I love Adele Parks books. I didn’t fly through it like I normally do with chick lit. It was all a bit turgid, lots of he does this so she does that stretched out for over 300 pages. Once Nat finds out Neil pricked the condom she instantaneously decides to have the baby after banging on for all the book that she would NOT have a baby under ANY circumstances. All rather predictable and a bit shit. I gave 3 stars because the bits where no one was whining were well written.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Katarina Hartmann

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I first thought the book was funny and fairly well written. But the plot evolves and I get really pissed of. As if the only reason for a woman not to want kids is her mother dying in childbed! As if she should stay with the idiot after he makes holes in the condom to make sure he gets the children, that she has repeatedly told him, that she does not want. And that dispite all of the shit things they say and do - she only reaches happyness after being knocked up by using his spoiled condoms. SERIO I first thought the book was funny and fairly well written. But the plot evolves and I get really pissed of. As if the only reason for a woman not to want kids is her mother dying in childbed! As if she should stay with the idiot after he makes holes in the condom to make sure he gets the children, that she has repeatedly told him, that she does not want. And that dispite all of the shit things they say and do - she only reaches happyness after being knocked up by using his spoiled condoms. SERIOUSLY!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Donnelly

    Started ok but slid into an unbelievable set of circumstances based around a couple who initially I thought sounded normal...wrong!! I like strong believable female lead characters Nat wasn’t either and there are no words for Neil ‘the pin’ story just about finished it for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erica Latham

    Irritating Most of the characters were unlikeable and the main premise (choosing not to have a child) was treated like a sin rather than a choice. Every time two characters had a ‘discussion’ I wanted to throw my kindle at the wall.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather Campbell

    Best book I've read in ages, couldn't put it down

  25. 4 out of 5

    June Jones

    Disappointing, I became tired of the plot, skipped pages, to get to the end.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    While it took me quite some time to read this one and really get into it, it was rather enjoyable towards the end.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I think this book had way more potential based on the storylines premise. Regardless it was an enjoyable enough read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Adele Parks books are okay. Chick lit for a rainy day.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julie Lees

    Men I’ve Loved Before is the first of Adele Parks’ novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and I have to admit it was compelling. It begins with the introduction of the female protagonist, Natalie, meticulously organising a birthday meal for her beloved husband, Neil. Having been married for seven years, we soon discover that this couple have formulated a routine around work, social engagements, down-time and even sex, which suits them both... or so they believe. Following an innocuous comment f Men I’ve Loved Before is the first of Adele Parks’ novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and I have to admit it was compelling. It begins with the introduction of the female protagonist, Natalie, meticulously organising a birthday meal for her beloved husband, Neil. Having been married for seven years, we soon discover that this couple have formulated a routine around work, social engagements, down-time and even sex, which suits them both... or so they believe. Following an innocuous comment from his charismatic, yet commitment phobe, friend Karl, Neil changes his mind about a fundamental premise on which their marriage is based: their decision not to have children. However, Natalie is resolute in her convictions, and so the scene is set for an unstoppable force to meet an immoveable object. As neither party are willing to budge, their lives begin a downward spiral into chaos and confusion, threatening everything they previously held dear and causing them to doubt their love for each other. Ms Parks cleverly highlights how misunderstandings can arise simply by failing to be honest with yourself, as well as the one person you love and trust the most. She also demonstrates how a refusal to communicate can lead you down a path you might previously never have considered, ultimately resulting in self-destruction and misery. I really enjoyed this read. The narrative is witty and the characters believable, if not always likeable, but I’m sure most of us will recognise and identify with the many personality traits revealed throughout the book, and their compulsion to reach out for something which they believe will enhance their lives, be that time, babies, commitment, or sex. The author’s use of humour, often by using a different character’s perspective, helped to lighten the many intense issues tackled within the novel’s pages, but without detracting from the serious undertones of these very real relationship problems. I found her account of three small children avoiding any attempts at regimentation by a seasoned anally retentive organiser, to be hilarious. The chaos and frustration generated in their wake will resonate with any new parent or novice child-minder, and give rise to a shudder in the more experienced amongst us. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find this book in Sainsbury’s at the bargain price of £1, and have to say it was a fantastic return for my money. I'm now looking forward to starting out on another of Adele Parks’ stories… just need to schedule a completely free day to finish it in one sitting as I know once I start, it will be a wrench to put it down again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Reil

    It took me ages to finish the book but this is by no means any reflection on the quality of what was between the covers, because it paced along rather nicely to be fair. It was for the simple fact that I have forsaken the paperback (my first love) for my Kindle (my new fancy piece) lately and regularly chose one preference over the other. But every time I did pick up this novel, I was pleasantly entertained by the story of Nat and Neil and the huge divide that had suddenly appeared in their rela It took me ages to finish the book but this is by no means any reflection on the quality of what was between the covers, because it paced along rather nicely to be fair. It was for the simple fact that I have forsaken the paperback (my first love) for my Kindle (my new fancy piece) lately and regularly chose one preference over the other. But every time I did pick up this novel, I was pleasantly entertained by the story of Nat and Neil and the huge divide that had suddenly appeared in their relatively united and happy marriage. When one of them wants a baby and the other one doesn't. It leads to all sorts of problems and misunderstandings that could have easily been avoided, if only the secret had come out sooner. But then, there would be no tale to tell so it was good for us that it didn't. This is the first Adele Parks gem that I've managed to acquire and hopefully, it won't be the last. Her writing style is extremely easy on a tired mind as she brings both humour and emotion, along with great character behavior to the forefront and let's us in on what makes us human and so prone to making mistakes. I'm looking forward to seeking out more of her work in the future, in any format.

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