The Man of her Dreams by Sarra Manning

You can always rely on Sarra Manning to write a quirky and unusual take on the romance novel. Esme is having a really bad day – having a wisdom tooth removed would be enough to floor most people. Do as advised, take strong painkillers and sleep it off. Unfortunately, she has promised to attend a new-agey hen do where as a bit of a laugh she allows herself to be nagged into creating a ‘vision board’ of her ideal man. Through no fault of her own, she ends up in A&E with a head wound after an altercation with an angry cyclist. Imagine her surprise when she meets Theo while waiting at the hospital. He ticks all the boxes, and she can’t believe her eyes – is he a figment of her pain-addled imagination?

You know you are reading something special when you’re a third of the way through before you come up for air. Esme is a wonderful character despite (or maybe because of) her jaundiced view of men and relationships – her experience simply does not allow her to trust them or their motives. Her parents’ disfunctional marriage, and her treatment at the hands of her ex-husband, have made sure that a new relationship is the last thing on her mind. She has always had a rich imaginary life, which is why she thinks she has conjured Theo up, but has she?

The author has assembled a great cast of supporting characters, and there is a lot of humour to lighten the mood. Not giving anything away, but the ending is spot on – the perfect conclusion to this highly enjoyable story. I am a big fan of Sarra Manning’s writing and this was no exception. I look forward to whatever she writes next. Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.