Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Holiday Reading - what's going in your luggage?

Lots of  people like Jilly Cooper for beach/poolside reading, I know I do!  One of my happiest 'holiday' memories is the time I took The Man who Made Husbands Jealous on holiday, and once I finished it (having laughed & cried and felt hot under the collar)  I lent it to Husby, who also read most of it and we then spent the rest of our holiday 'spotting' people (fellow holiday makers) who reminded us of characters in the book!  We so wanted to see a 'Rannaldini' but I guess he doesn't do package holidays!!

If you like JC then you will probably also enjoy Fiona Walker.  I have read several by her and they are lovely and gossipy, with likeable heroines and slightly exaggerated characters who surround her as she stumbles about through a particularly chaotic episode in her life until things turn out for the best : the end.  I am not making light of this genre, because it is a very successful formula, and it's what lots of us want to read on holiday - nothing too angsty or angry or dangerous, and I particularly love the way she analyses the 'psyche' of several key players along the way.  If I lived in a village, I would definitely want to live in a village imagined by FW or JC - the local pub is always friendly and people know you, there's usually intrigue and bed hopping going on, there are lots of lovely dogs and horses and the inhabitants look out for each other.

The FW novel I have just finished was The Love Letter which follows Allegra (Legs) North from her high powered city job, where she's having a torrid affair with her publisher boss, back to her Devon roots, where her hippy-ish mother is staying in a cottage on a naked painting holiday whilst involved in a 'tryst' with a rich neighbour.  The complications increase because Legs' best friend has become married to her ex-brother in law (Legs lives with her sister, who is very bitter about being made a single parent) and her mother's new 'amor' is the father of Leg's fiance - who she ditched in order to start the affair with her boss.

If that isn't intrigue enough for you, Legs has also been entrusted to keep her publishing house's top selling author sweet - he seems an eccentric, obsessive chap whose books feature a magical soothsayer (did I hear anyone say Harry Potter?)  Legs is suitably 'Bridget Jones' to be entertaining (her first weekend in Devon she has nothing to wear but her nephew's football strip because their bags have become muddled, on another occasion Legs attends a party wearing a turban, a 'flapper' gown and toe curling satin shoes - she's certainly no femme fatale, and yet the men swarm round her like moths to a flame! if only it were so easy!

To change the pace a little, how about a detective novel where the heroine is also an exotic dancer?  Diva Las Vegas by Stephanie Caffrey is just that, and it is a fun, fast paced mystery that really delivered humour and tension.  The gambling world provides plenty of real danger and people who our feisty heroine Raven should not get on the wrong side of, as well as beautiful women, charming men and seedy locations.  There are more books in the Raven McShane series, and I shall definitely be investigating them (pardon the pun!)

If this is still not 'dangerous' enough for you, because you love a gripping thriller and you like the body count high - then let me recommend Closer than You Think by Karen Rose.  The heroine of this book is Dr Faith Corcoran, who works with victims of assault - until she becomes one herself. On the run, she has changed her identity and returned to the house left empty when her Grandmother died, what Faith doesn't suspect is that the house has become the HQ for a very depraved killer, and he doesn't want his spree interrupted.

 Also newly arrived in Cincinnati is Deacon Novak - an FBI agent who has made a name for himself investigating some very high profile cases, but has returned home to a lot of 'baggage' - a tearaway brother who needs guidance & support, his old fashioned Aunt and Uncle to whom he is beholden for keeping the family 'glued' together and now the intriguing, but furtive, redhead he meets on his first case - injured by the roadside but not behaving at all like a victim.  Does this whet your appetite?

And remember - if you use a Kindle or other e-reader (because hey, they are ideal for packing light, and very user friendly in bright sunlight) don't forget your charger, and don't worry - your device does not need to be switched off during take-off (my brother-in-law who's a pilot has assured me of this!)

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