Hannah convinces her husband Cliff to take a holiday home in the south of France for two weeks, along with their eleven year old son Luke, Hannah’s free spirirted sister Jill and her teenaged daughter, and Jill’s friend Tristan. In this time long simmering tensions come to a head between Hannah and Jill, and then Hannah and Cliff when they receive a very unexpected visitor. The story is told in the third person but with a few first person (Hannah) flashbacks, this works really well for the story. The author apparently has his roots in gay literature, which makes this insightful look into a straight married woman’s life all the more impressive.
Kooks for your Kindle?– All the characters are strong and well fleshed out. Jill is a rather selfish sister to Hannah, but has her reasons and is a very different personality. Aisha, her teenaged daughter, makes a pleasant regression from sullen, Facebook-addicted teen to playful older cousin to Luke while on holiday. Tristan shares a few traits with the traditional ‘gay best friend’ trope, but is more than a flamboyant, outspoken, good friend. He’s a talented chef, translator, dedicated uncle to his friends’ kids and plays a discreet role in the final act.
The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Hannah has been a passenger in her adult life up to this point, but the flashbacks reveal the reasons behind this. Cliff is outwardly affable, but under the veneer is a controlling, occasionally malevolent husband, so it’s satisfying to see his world begin to crumble.
Painting a picture for your paperback?– The drama takes place in the South of France, with the exception of the flashbacks. It’s a picturesque location for all these relationships to break down, with plenty of sunshine, good food, wine and mosquitos.
Evaluation of your eBook?– This exceeded my expectations, such a nuanced, well-written tale. All the characters are well thought out, and the surprises along the way (which I didn’t see coming) make it unputdownable once you’ve got into it. I’m a sucker for a tale of a long-manipulated woman finding her feet, and this is a good one which stuck with me for a while once I’d finished it- a sign of a thoughtful read. The low price is just a bonus! The ending is more ‘alluded to’ than ‘spelled out’, which left me wanting more- there’s definite sequel potential here. I’ve classed it as ‘much more substantial’ in the Frothy categories as it’s not a comedy, but it’s quite a short book, and light enough to read in a day if you have the time. Educational moment- I now know what Grindr is! It’s been a sheltered life…
Frothy Ranking: 5/5 cocktails.
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