30 April 2013

Book Review: The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon

"'Don't wait for the storm to pass; learn to dance in the rain…' Laura has been married to the man of her dreams for seven months. But a week before the wedding, Matthew made a terrible mistake. Escaping the humiliation that is now her marriage, Laura is whisked off to Florida's Key West by her best friend Marty. A carefree holiday full of cocktails and fun, surrounded by gorgeous, tanned men, is exactly what the doctor ordered. Distraction comes in the form of sexy Cuban scuba diver Leo. Laura's instant attraction to him knocks her flying, and she falls hard. As the end of the holiday approaches, Laura doesn't want to go home. Is it time to face the music? Or is there more to Key West than a holiday romance?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Longest Holiday as a paperback or an eBook now!

I am a huge Paige Toon fan, and I'd go as far as to say she is in my all-time top 5 authors that I never miss (joined by Lindsey Kelk, Melissa Hill, Milly Johnson and Dorothy Koomson) so when I received a copy of her brand new book The Longest Holiday to review from Simon & Schuster, I was over the moon and instantly got stuck into reading it. As always with Paige's books, it was an absolutely brilliant read, and I was reluctant to finish it because I knew that that meant waiting another year for a new story from her! However, it was worth devouring straight away, and it's already made it on to my 'Keeper's Shelf'!

Laura thought she had the perfect marriage - her and husband Matthew have only been married a few months but are very much in love, and Laura is enjoying her newly-wed life. However, when she finds out that Matthew made a horrible mistake just a few weeks before his wedding, and that there are long-lasting consequences from that, she decides to hot-foot it away from the embarrassment that is her marriage, and flies to Florida's Key West with her best friend Marty, and her friend Bridget. Whilst there, she meets scuba diver instructor Leo and begins to have feelings for him that she had never expected to feel, especially given that she is still married. When it's time to go back home and to reality, Laura is sure she doesn't want to escape her holiday romance and face her husband again. Will her friends and family be able to persuade Laura that she has no future with Leo, and that her home lies with Matthew?

If you've read any of Paige's previous books, you will know that she is known for putting in characters from her older stories to keep them all linked, and I love sitting and waiting for a link to become apparent to me. It took me a few chapters to twig about this one, but I soon realised that the main character in this book, Laura, was a more minor character in Toon's previous novel Chasing Daisy. Laura was racing driver Will Trust's girlfriend, and it was nice to catch up with her a few years on from what happened in that book, and a few hints are thrown to us about Daisy and what's she up to now too which was really fun to read. In fact, now I've read this one, I'm looking forward to seeing Laura pop up in another story in a few years time!

The book dives straight in with Laura and co landing in Key West, and slowly things are revealed to us about the reasons that the girls had fled halfway across the world from Laura's husband. I felt incredibly sorry for Laura, she's been betrayed in an awful way, one which many women dread and you can understand her reluctance to get past what Matthew did. The crux of her betrayal by Matthew is at the centre of the novel really, and her marriage hovers over everything she does in Key West - is she really prepared to throw it all away on what could just really be a holiday romance? However, Toon does write Matthew quite sympathetically, and you do feel like he really didn't mean to do what he did, and I was sort of hoping Laura would make the choice to make her marriage work and live happily ever after. Leo, though, was a great character and you can understand why Laura falls for him so easily. He's a typical Latin-sounding 'stud' and his troubled past only makes all the more desirable to her, even if he has a tendency to be a bit moody and quiet at times.

Toon sets pretty much all of the book in Key West, and you can tell she has really done her research about the place, and Miami too. I've been lucky enough to visit Florida 3 times in my life, but Key West isn't somewhere we ever ventured, but now I certainly want to go there! It sounds brilliant, and I loved the detail that she puts into things like Laura's scuba diving course too. You can see why Laura falls in love with the place and wants to stay, and the people seem so friendly too, especially Leo's family, well except for Carmen that is. I found all of those characters easy to like, and they seem like such a laid back bunch, Laura certainly finds herself accepted quickly. The book actually utilises surprisingly few characters, really sticking to the 3 women we meet at the start, Matthew, Laura's parents, and the Key West contingent, and this really worked for me, it kept the story completely focused on Laura and her indecision.

What I found most surprising about the book was the ending. Suddenly, this huge development happens just a few chapters before the end and we're left on tenterhooks wondering what on earth is going to happen, and then out of nowhere, it cuts into the epilogue! It felt odd and almost rushed at the end, but luckily it isn't left too up in the air and Toon tries to tie it all up neatly for the reader. However, I just felt that it could have been eased to into a little slower, I almost felt like my book was missing a few chapters, it just seemed a bit strange! That said, it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book at all, and I was pleased that it ended how it did. I wasn't sure all the way through the book though which man Laura would choose - I certainly would have hated to have been in her position, and you can't help but feel either choice would make sense for her. The Longest Holiday is a superb read, and I really did enjoy every single page. It was a very addictive read, and kept me up until the late hours finishing it as I wanted to see who Laura would choose! For fans of Paige Toon, this is a must-read book, and certainly one to add to your collection.

1 comment:

  1. Whoop! Great review, Chloe! Can't wait to read it xo