Friday 17 May 2013

The Longest Holiday - Paige Toon

Pages: 378
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 25th April 2013
Edition: UK paperback, purchased copy

Other Titles by this Author: Lucy in the Sky, Johnny be Good, Chasing Daisy, Pictures of Lily, Baby Be Mine, One Perfect Summer

‘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?

I’m a huge fan of Paige Toon’s but I was a little let down by her last novel, One Perfect Summer so I hoped for great things from The Longest Holiday. Oh boy, did I get what I asked for!

First of all, I love how Paige Toon connects her novels by minor characters appearing as main characters. Laura was the original girlfriend of Will in Chasing Daisy, and The Longest Holiday picks up on her story a few years after the traumatic events of that excellent, excellent book. We also find out that Daisy and Luis got engaged! There was also a subtle link to One Perfect Summer with Laura’s husband Matthew being the university friend of Lukas. I love when authors do this and I spent a lot of time wondering which characters from The Longest Holiday might get their own book in the future! My money’s on Bridget or Carmen.

As is often the case with these novels I end up with a serious case of wanderlust. The object of my affections this time? Key West. I want to live there forever and learn to dive. If I happen to meet a guy like Leo while I’m there, well that’d be grand! He’s a gorgeous mystery and I loved the fact that him and Laura didn’t immediately get involved. These was a tense, sexy build up and it made their first kiss that much better.

Leo and Laura’s relationship was really strong and I wanted them to be together so, so much, but I always really appreciated how Page Toon didn’t write Laura’s decision between him and Matthew to be a piece of cake. She was married and prepared to spend the rest of her life with Matthew before he broke her heart and that’s not something you get over in just a few weeks. Her to-ing and fro-ing was realistic and made me empathise with her at a much deeper level than I would have if Matthew had just been left in England and forgotten about. It was an incredibly difficult decision for Laura and I’m glad that she was confused and agonised over it.

The whole situation was made me even harder with the blind conviction of her friends and family that she would forgive Matthew and come home to him. It made me so angry! It’s such a double standard that it was Laura who had to be forgiven for her relationship with Leo even in light of Matthew’s discretion. It’s such a valid point and I’m glad it was tackled in The Longest Holiday.

Something very unexpected happened in The Longest Holiday that simultaneously made me very, very happy and scared the living daylights out of me: we got to read from Leo’s point of view. It was great to see the man behind the come hither smile and very few words as well as learn more about his background, it was just the situation that called for his section... I won’t say any more about it, but boy, it had me on the edge of my seat.

The Longest Holiday is another warm, sexy and thoughtful read from Paige Toon and I’m over the moon that I’ll get to read two new books from her next year; one of them a YA novel!


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