Now I know I’m a little bit early with this one, but with my holidays coming up I didn’t want to miss out on my chance to tell you how much I enjoyed Just for the Holidays by one of my favourite authors, Sue Moorcroft. It’ll be published by Avon on 18th May – but it’s available for pre-order (and at just £1.99 for kindle), so why wait? “The only book you need on holiday” says the publicity – I’m just sorry my timing was all wrong for this one!
In theory, nothing could be better than a summer spent basking in the French sun. That is, until you add in three teenagers, two love interests, one divorcing couple, and a very unexpected pregnancy.
Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the relaxing holiday Leah Beaumont was hoping for – but it’s the one she’s got. With her sister Michele’s family falling apart at the seams, it’s up to Leah to pick up the pieces and try to hold them all together.
But with a handsome helicopter pilot staying next door, Leah can’t help but think she might have a few distractions of her own to deal with…
A glorious summer read, for you to devour in one sitting – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.
You know that cover quote from Katie Fforde? The one that says “I love all of Sue Moorcroft’s books”? Well that quote could have been written by me too. So, how does this book compare with my favourites?
I immediately took to Leah, the book’s central figure, dragged to France on a family holiday when her preference would be for her own company. Her sister Michele dumps her with looking after the family, and things go from bad to worse when Michele’s estranged husband becomes incapable of providing any support. Mind you, the gorgeous guy next door – a helicopter pilot, no less – makes life rather more bearable, even if all those darned teenagers make moving things any further well nigh impossible.
I’ll readily admit that a book that focuses so closely on its teenage characters might not be a natural choice for me, but the author’s strength – well, one of her many strengths! – is in writing about real people in recognisable situations, handling all those twists and turns in relationships that bring both joy and pain. And the emphasis there is on “real people” – the teens are as complex and well drawn as the adults, with believable emotions and reactions triggered by events as diverse as family conflict or first love.
There were so many things I enjoyed about this book. The “foodie” side of Leah – always a good way to win over teenagers – was really well done, as she casually throws together family meals from a handful of ingredients. Then there’s the well drawn backdrop of Alsace, the insights into chocolate making, and the vast amounts I learned about text-speak. Oh, and how to do a handbrake turn in a Porsche in a DIY store car park!
I think it’s probably fair to say that although this is largely a novel about the course of love and life refusing to run smoothly, there’s a great deal more in there too – the complexities of sibling relationships, broken families, fractured friendship, jealousy, manipulation, deception, and an excellent thread dealing with corporate shenanigans in the world of aviation.
Sue’s writing is as effortless to read as ever, and this is a book you’ll race through as I did – lighter reading at its very best, but with an occasional sharp edge to throw you off-balance when her people behave badly, as real people sometimes do.
My thanks to netgalley and publishers Avon for my advance reading e-copy – and for the paperback copy now adding its beauty to my bookshelves. Also thanks to Avon for my sunflower seeds, planted as instructed and – wait for it – now sprouting!
About the author
For more information on Sue Moorcroft and her books, she has an excellent website: she also has a Facebook author page, and you can follow her on Twitter. Sue also has a Street Team that I’m proud to be part of, and you can find out more about it here – if you enjoy this book, why not join us?