7 October 2015
Book Review: A Proper Family Adventure by Chrissie Manby
Chelsea Benson is taking her boyfriend Adam along for the trip, but they've hit another rough patch. Will they make it through the cruise without splitting up?
Also on the ship is Jane Thynne, who should have been on that cruise as a honeymooner. Instead, mourning the death of her fiance, she is there with her best friend. Will taking the cruise without Greg help Jane begin to heal from her devastating loss?
Meanwhile, Jack Benson and Adam's daughter Lily go head to head once again in the ship's passenger talent contest and Granddad Bill causes havoc in the on-board casino.
It's full steam ahead for a proper family adventure . . ."
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I only got into Chrissie Manby's new 'Proper Family...' series with the book that was released last year, A Proper Family Christmas. That was a funny but touching tale of a family coming together against the odds, and I immediately grew to love everything about the Benson family. I was super excited to be sent a review of this summer's book, A Proper Family Adventure. Once again, it stars the Benson family, this time going on a cruise holiday together after a holiday win. Of course, things aren't plain sailing with the family, and there's more than a few bumps along the way for them. Throw in a grieving fellow passenger, her best friend and lots of other abnormalities and we are due for a great time with them...
Due to the fact I had read the previous book, I felt like I knew enough of the characters to quickly slip back into family life with the Benson's, and not spend too much time worrying about who was who, and what was going on. That being said, enough is told to the reader about the previous two books that if this is the first you have read in the series, you can easily start here and enjoy everything about it, knowing just enough to understand the foibles of the family. I certainly do want to get around to reading the first book in the series, A Proper Family Holiday, but for now this one had to suffice, and it certainly did for me.
While the matriarch of the family Ronnie steps back slightly in this book, it takes a look at the new relationship of the youngest Benson sister Chelsea, and her new boyfriend Adam who has accompanied her on the family cruise with his young daughter Lily. I felt it was very brave of Adam to come along on a family holiday so early in their relationship, and it certainly causes some awkward moments for the couple. However, I loved that their struggle of a new relationship, as well as Adam's issues of still grieving for his deceased wife and dealing with a child made it all feel very realistic and believable, and I was so badly rooting for them to make it through despite their difficulties.
I was a bit sad when it was revealed that the newest family member Annabelle and her brood weren't going to be on the cruise, but Chrissie certainly made it work in the book. There was a whole spin off story involving her, Granddad Bill and the younger girls of the family, and it worked perfectly. In fact, there was one particular scene towards the end of the book that genuinely had me sobbing - I felt so emotional reading it, I couldn't quite cope with what I was reading and it really hit me hard - that's the talent of Chrissie's writing, that she can draw you into this family, make you care for them and become emotionally invested yourself, I loved everything about the Benson's by the end of this book!
As well as the Benson's, a couple of new characters made an appearance in this book, even though they do of course link to the Benson's in some way, a way I found very touching and believable too. Jane, recently single after the death of her beloved boyfriend, has been persuaded by her best friend Kirsty to go on the cruise her boyfriend had booked for her before he died. Jane isn't sure, and struggles with the idea of travelling to all the places they had intended to go together, now alone, and I felt incredibly sorry for her as the book went on. However, I also felt sorry for Kirsty who had to go exploring alone, and I was wishing Jane would just be able to let go and enjoy herself a little bit before it was too late! The way everything comes together at the end is just perfect, and I was sad to leave the family behind once more.
Luckily for me, the Benson's are back this Christmas with another story, A Wedding at Christmas - I cannot wait to read this and find out what is happening next with them all! This was an utterly charming story from start to finish, filled with laughs, tears and lots of family fun that you just won't want to put down. I haven't been on a cruise myself, but this book made it seem like such fun, for everyone from the youngest children to the adults who could enjoy all the entertainment the ship has to offer! As well as the ship, we are treated to lots of glorious destinations, fun and frolicks and I loved it! Roll on November for the next book, but if you can't wait until then, just read this again! I can highly recommend it!!