Sunday 14 May 2023

The Summer Holiday by S E Lynes BOOKS ON TOUR #The SummerHoliday @SELynesAuthor @bookouture #BookReview


One loving couple. One surprise guest. One week to destroy everything…

When the doorbell rings, I take one last look round the villa. The nuts and olives are in bowls; the white wine is chilling in the fridge; everything is ready for my old college friend, the guest I’m dying to impress.

When I open the door, Coco steps from the dusty street into the cool tiled hall, as effortlessly beautiful as ever. But then her face freezes in horror, her mouth falling open. I turn to see my husband Jeff behind me, his eyes wide, his cheeks pale.

After a moment, they both smile, pretending nothing happened at all. But I know what I saw.

This holiday was meant to rescue my marriage, not ruin it.

But the connection between my friend and my husband isn’t what I thought.

All three of us have something to lose, and something to fight for.

And when the truth comes out, not all of us will survive…

The Summer Holiday by S E Lynes was published by Bookouture on 4 May 2023. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Books On Tour 

I think it is very plain to see, from my previous reviews, how much of a mega fan of S E Lynes I am. I very happily accepted this book for review as part of Bookouture's Books on Tour feature. Lynes is an outstanding author, she writes a heady mix of domestic noir and psychological thriller, and does it with style and skill. 

The Summer Holiday opens with a bang! The prologue informs us of a mysterious woman, dressed in white, staggering along a road. She is angry, she is upset and she faces danger. 

The reader is then introduced to Kate, married to Jeff and just beginning a holiday in their luxury villa in Spain. It's clear that Kate and Jeff have been together for many years, it's clear that Kate would like this to be a peaceful holiday, it's their first time away without their daughter. Jeff is clearly a workaholic, checking his emails regularly, keeping her waiting.  It also becomes clear that he's not actually a very nice bloke. Whilst he may be very successful at work, and dedicated to sporting activities, he treats Kate with disdain. He expects everything to be ready for him, he never thinks about meals, he just knows that they will appear. Kate realises how badly she's treated, but finds it difficult to speak out, she tells herself that she should be grateful to have such a luxurious life. 

Once more, Kate is alone. In a local bar she spots a face from long ago. Coco Moss; the most popular girl at school, and someone who Kate always wanted to be like, but never quite achieved it. When she sees Coco later, she plucks up the courage to speak with her. It's clear that Coco has no idea who Kate is, but the mention of a villa puts a gleam in her eye and she accepts Kate's invitation to visit the villa. 

When Coco arrives, she and Jeff's reaction to one another speaks volumes. Although they hastily cover up, it's clear that there is history between them. It becomes Kate's mission to find out what that is exactly. 

This author creates such an incredible sense of place within the story. The Spanish heat adds to the tension so much, making the reader feel almost claustrophobic at times.  The story is narrated in the three voices; Kate, Jeff and Coco, and do not expect to like any of them. Jeff and Coco are manipulative and deceitful whilst poor Kate comes across as naive and something of a wet dishcloth at times. As the tension increases, things are revealed that are shocking an unexpected. 

With an explosive ending that ties up some quite loose threads, this feels a little more thriller than the author's usual books. There's an in-depth look at family relationships and friendship, with an emphasis on wanting what you think you need, with a dollop of misogynistic behaviour that will make most women bristle with anger. Pacy and tension filled. 

A former BBC Producer, S.E. Lynes has lived in France, Spain, Scotland and Italy and is now settled in Greater London. 

After completing her MA, she taught creative writing at Richmond Adult Community College for ten years. 

She now combines writing, mentoring and lecturing in Richmond Borough.





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