I finished reading this a few days ago. I would say that Jilly Cooper has always been one of my guilty pleasures, but I don’t feel guilty for loving them at all really. I know it seems strange to go from Hilary Mantel straight to Jilly Cooper, but I love reading like this. When I was a child I would go from Enid Blyton to Charlotte Bronte without understanding that there was really any difference.
This Jilly was rubbish though. Having said that, it is still a page turner - just not a very enjoyable one. It left me feeling a bit dirty (and not in a good way!) Her attitudes to sex, race, gender etc etc etc are pretty shocking. At one stage she basically says gang rape is ok if you’re drunk and as long as you say sorry afterwards. Being gay is someone’s ‘fault’… I could go on.
And aside from all this the main character is deeply annoying and not sympathetic at all.
Reading Jilly Cooper is normally a bit like sinking into a hot bath - easy, comforting and soothing, but this one was chilly, grubby and unsatisfying!