A real delight today to be sharing my review of the fifth (and final) book in Elaine Spires’ Singles series, Singles, Set and Match, published for kindle yesterday (1st July) and available via Amazon in the UK and US. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the blog tour invitation and ongoing support, and to the author for my advance reading e-copy.
Rachel really didn’t have to work too hard to entice me to read this one. I do rather wish though that I could tell you I’d read the whole series, and was eagerly awaiting this last book – sadly, I’ve only ever managed to fit in Single All The Way, but thoroughly enjoyed it (you’ll find my review here), and I couldn’t resist the opportunity of spending time again with tour manager Eve, see how her life might have moved on, and to meet a new cast of characters (and maybe some old friends too).
The fifth and final book in the Singles’ Series takes us to the Mediterranean island of Ibiza then back to the Caribbean island of Antigua, where it all began.
After making a hard decision two years earlier Eve Mitchell has moved on with the hand that life has dealt her and she finds herself on the White Island working a tennis holiday. While it isn’t a job she would have chosen, in her typical pragmatic way Eve gets on with it, working hard to ensure that her diverse group of singles, with their hopes, expectations, character flaws and baggage, have the best time possible. And as she binds together tennis sessions, social gatherings, meals and trips Eve hears some tragic personal news that brings her to another crossroads in her life. Will she and the love of her life Melv finally make a life together and live happily ever after?
Friends will know that singles holidays are something I’m very familiar with, and that was one of the reasons I so enjoyed the last book I read in this series: the author has an insider’s knowledge, recreating the whole experience with the insight of a former tour manager, but also with a real understanding of the diverse characters you find on holidays like this. It really takes some doing to introduce a large cast of characters, make them individually distinct and recognisable, and to hold your interest as the days pass, getting to know them better and exploring their individual stories.
I think I might have been on holiday with every character in this book – or most certainly others like them. The sharing of confidences and personal secrets, the misunderstandings, the conflict that sometimes happens, the different agendas people have when they choose a singles holiday – everything is so well done, and incredibly authentic.
The characters are excellent. I had a particular soft spot for Ron – he’s the kind of guy I’d naturally gravitate towards, even if his lame jokes might wear a little – and I particularly liked the fact that the book follows the holiday makers as they return home, giving us some lovely insights into the lives they escaped while on holiday, sometimes unexpected and often immensely touching. The Fourth Form – the disruptive group of friends – was particularly familiar to me, as was the way they can spoil a holiday for others. But I really liked the way that individuals emerge from the group – Titty far more complex than expected, Spizz a much nicer guy than he initially seemed.
The fact that this was a tennis holiday did worry me a tad, as it’s not a pursuit I’m particularly keen on – but it worried tour manager Eve too, and I was able to sit in the shade quite happily with her, enjoying a coffee and watching events unfold. The setting is excellent too – a really nice introduction to Ibiza, a destination I’ve never visited, with excellent detailed descriptions.
But the book extends beyond the holiday, as we also follow Eve’s own story, already familiar to some from glimpses in the earlier books. I very much liked that – although the story didn’t end in quite the way I’d hoped for or expected.
I’d really recommend this one – something really different, extremely well written, the kind of ensemble piece I always thoroughly enjoy. I must mention too that you don’t need to have read the earlier books – although its nice to see again some characters you recognise, and to see the conclusion of Eve’s own story, there’s more than enough detail to catch-up on what’s gone before. It’s good fun, a realistic look at the world of singles’ holidays and the people who choose them, but with some real depth and moments you might not be expecting. I very much enjoyed it.
About the author
Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels.
Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea. Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series. Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019. Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019!
Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.