The Holiday

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BookPretty art teacher Izzy Jordan is recovering from a b-a-d relationship, so when friends Max and Laura (they of the 21-year-old perfect marriage), invite her to spend the summer at their beautiful villa in Corfu, she jumps at the chance. Also heading out from England is ex-alcohol and substance abuser, now successful crime writer, Mark St James. Apart from plans to finish his latest best-seller, top of his summer-time agenda is to escape the clutches of a stalker who may, or may not, be threatening to kill him.

Mark is staying at the villa next door, with unlikely best friend Theo, whose legendary romantic serialising is causing Laura a few worries for her bruised and fragile friend. Then, in a moment of inspiration, Laura wonders if a light-hearted holiday romance might not be the very thing to help boost Izzy’s self-confidence. The question is whether Izzy will fall for the conveniently available, neighbourly Adonis.

The Holiday is Erica James’ sixth novel in five years. Having won the WH Smith Fresh Talent promotion in 1996, she has since been short-listed twice for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. What sets this novel apart is its easy blend of romance and humour with a darker, more dramatic under-belly. While the sun shines and the sea sparkles on this magical Greek isle, a series of unforeseen events could herald tragedy for all.

The Holiday is an easy-to-read, entertaining book. While its predictability and some less-than-convincing side-plots mean it fall short of being the perfect novel, the characters feel real and the plot is fast-paced enough to keep your attention to the very last line, which is perfect enough for an action-packed holiday read. –Carey Green