The TripFiction Book Club July/August ’19 reads ‘A Summer Reunion’ by Fanny Blake
Thriller set in the Hérault, Southern France
13th June 2019
The Holiday by T M Logan, thriller set in the Hérault, Southern France.
I read a very early copy of The Holiday and I chose to just wade in and let myself simply be taken where the story led without knowing anything about it. The title was enough to take the book on holiday (in France, of course!). I had no concept of the twists and turns that this apostolic last supper group of 12 would go on to experience in their glorious house in the French countryside. That was really fun and I recommend doing that sometimes!
Four female friends from Bristol University (my own Alma Mater, which made the story feel very relevant), to wit Izzy, Kate, Jennifer and Rowan – the latter three with partners and children in tow – have come together for a week in a stunning, luxury house in the Hérault (a villa not far from Béziers) in order to rekindle their friendship group. And what a rekindling that proves to be!
Almost at once Kate discovers texts on her husband’s phone that are clearly not meant for her eyes and it is pretty obvious that “CoralGirl” is one of the other members of the party. He seems to be having an affair, which would be so out of character but the evidence seems indisputable. Much of the story is written through Kate’s eyes. She starts to look for evidence of connection, little gestures, lingering touches, meaningful looks and she certainly has her work cut out as the week progresses. As the days pass new conundrums slide in, further destabilising the group dynamic.
The relationships between the adults gradually become a little fraught, as behaviours, alcohol and luxurious surroundings start to exacerbate a now more fragile friendship group. Factor in children – age ranges from 5 to later teens – and suddenly an easy-go-lucky week’s holiday becomes a heady mix of subterfuge, hormones, parental dilemmas and misunderstandings.
The author is hugely talented at keeping a subtle and persistent tension percolating throughout the story and the writing flows so well. There are twists and turns galore and I had no idea which character was going to come to harm! I read it on a sun lounger, by a pool, under the olive trees with a clear blue sky above – in France! Perfect literary wanderlust, mirroring the story! Setting is evoked well and one senses that the author is perhaps a regular visitor to this part of France.
Slight niggles: one of the couples met when they were client and therapist and started an inappropriate relationship. That was kind of thrown in and the repercussions in real life of such a relationship would have been pretty significant; simply passing the client on to another therapist wouldn’t be appropriate. Being struck off would be a pretty certain outcome! And grammar, just too many “with you and I’ (it should be “with you and me”) type sentences, which is becoming common- place but is still a bit irksome. Nevertheless, I read the novel in one sitting and couldn’t wait to dive back in when I was on a break.
Tina for the TripFiction Team
Join team TripFiction on Social Media: