A real pleasure to be part of Bookouture‘s Books-on-tour again today, this time sharing my review of Some Like It Greek by Sue Roberts: published on 21st August, it’s now available via Amazon for kindle and in paperback, and in other e-formats via Apple Books, Kobo and Googleplay. My thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to join the tour and for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley), and to Sarah Hardy for her ongoing support.
Knowing how much I enjoy my armchair travel, I’m really not sure why it’s taken me so long to try one of Sue’s books – can you believe this is her sixth? You’ll find her Amazon author page here. And I’ll admit I was really delighted to find that this one was set in Kefalonia – I had a lovely holiday there, and I’ve been really wanting to make a return visit (although doing it in person didn’t seem like the best of ideas this year…).
There’s nothing like a summer escape. A sun-kissed story about living life to the full.
In the month from hell, incurable optimist Anna has lost her father and her job, and her trademark smile is dimming. Clearing out her dad’s house, she discovers a postcard of a beautiful sandy beach and a map with a route plotted to the Greek island of Kefalonia. With an empty summer stretching ahead, Anna’s eyes stray to her father’s old camper van. Next thing she knows, she’s hitting the road with friend Demi in tow, on a course from Salford to Skala!
Over one unforgettable summer, Anna and Demi make their rickety way along the sparkling Mediterranean coast, the hot sun shining down on their frequent mishaps with cheerful local characters. It’s the trip of a lifetime, and the scent of lemons in the air – as well as an unexpected romance – are just what Anna needs to awaken her inner Greek goddess.
But there are big surprises in store when they arrive at the island paradise, which could change both women’s lives forever. And as summer comes to an end, Anna has to decide whether she has had enough of the Greek life, or whether this is only just the beginning…
A joyful, hilarious summer read, perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella.
As this book started – Anna finds her boyfriend is a cheat, she loses her lovely father, her relationship with her sister is distinctly wobbly, and to cap it all she’s then made redundant – I did rather wonder if this was going to be the light uplifting read I really wanted it to be. But worry not, things soon take an upturn – she finds photos of her dad’s time in Kefalonia as a young man, and a map all marked out for a planned return there. She has her redundancy money, the fish seller’s van he’d converted into a camper van is sitting on the drive – why not do the trip for him, and take some of his ashes to the island he loved? But not on her own. Her father’s neighbour Demi (now on the brink of her 70s) has long wanted to heal the relationship with her family: they live on the island, near Sami, and her fear of flying has made it impossible until now.
So off they set – a journey of discovery in many ways, as Demi has a few more deeply hidden secrets than it appears, and Anna slowly regains her confidence and self esteem in the company of a supportive (well, most of the time!) friend. It’s a very long drive from Salford – and we follow their journey across Europe to catch the ferry to Sami, stopping off along the way, meeting new friends as they do, and their own friendship deepens. I do think I might have preferred a slightly less extended journey – I just wanted to get to Kefalonia and whatever might be waiting there – but I did settle into the pace, moving from campsite to campsite, sometimes breaking the journey, and the way the story and characters developed.
There’s a romance in the book, a really gentle one that I might not have been entirely convinced by at first – but he’s a nice guy, and it does give a good shape to Anna’s story, with a little happiness and a few rather nice surprises. But perhaps the biggest surprises are in Demi’s story – a bit of unexpected drama (and a few laughs) when they first arrive, a few secrets uncovered, and some rather large issues ultimately resolved.
The Kefalonian setting is every bit as beautifully described as I wanted it to be: I’m so glad Anna takes herself off to Fiskardo, because I rather loved it there too. And the food descriptions are a mouth-watering delight – to be honest, I was already salivating from the lamb with tomatoes and onions that Demi cooked back in Salford, and things just got better and better in the run up to the feast for Demi’s birthday.
It’s a lovely story and very well told, but I might have liked just a little more tension and conflict – the problems and challenges were resolved a little more easily than I wanted them to be at times. But if you’re looking for a really heart-warming and feel good story, I think you’ll love this one – with a lovely road trip and destination thrown in, some well-drawn characters, and a few good laughs too. Definitely one for your sun lounger in the garden, should the sun come out for us again… I enjoyed it.
About the author
Sue Roberts lives in Lancashire with her long term partner Derek and has had a lifelong love of writing, encouraged by winning a school writing competition at the age of 11.
She always assumed that ‘one day’ she would write a book, always having a busy household and a job, the idea remained firmly on the back burner but never forgotten.
The inspiration for her first novel came to her on a holiday to a Greek village. Her daughters had left home and suddenly the time had come to write that book!