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Having read a few of Judy Astleys other books (reviews can be found on the site) and thoroughly enjoying her light style of writing, I was delighted to find one of her later offerings on the shelf at our local library. Her chick-lit humour is perfect for an easy read and as Im exceptionally busy at the moment it seemed a perfect choice as I dont have the energy for anything more deep and meaningful just now.
The book is about a mature couple whose children are almost all grown up. With their youngest about to take off on a gap year before university, they decide that it might be a good idea to sell their house and do a bit of a gap year themselves.
Their children arent exactly happy to hear this, as the thought of losing the home they have grown up in becomes increasingly a reality. With all the problems of their relationships and worrying about their parents health they embark on a plan to keep them close and protect their inheritance.
Mac & Lottie The parents who want to get away from it all have done plenty of travelling in the past when they made it big with their hippie band in the sixties. The problem is that the house they so readily bought with all their money is falling to bits and they dont have enough income to save it from total dilapidation. They want to travel the world in style and have a break from all the troubles of their family. Will they be able to have their dreams or will the family and other issues prevent them from taking off into the sunset?
Ilex The only son of the family has lots of problems with his long-term girlfriend. She wants more from the relationship but he craves after a bit of excitement and when she kicks him out he naturally moves back into the family home. Will he manage to win Mandas heart back and move back out so his parents can sell up?
Clover The elder daughter has her own family and to some it looks perfect, but with a cheating husband and two spoiled daughters, she is also looking for someone to make her feel special again. Ditching her husband, she also moves back home and its up to her parents to try to get her back on track with the philandering Sean and see that she gets her dream of a holiday home in France.
Sorrel The youngest child in the family is devastated at the thought of not having a family home to come back to after her gap year. Shes a bit melodramatic too and thinks the idea of her parents having their own gap year is very uncool.
Im so glad that I had read some of Judy Astleys other books first, because this one just didnt really do it for me. It wasnt that it was a bad read, in fact it was ok, but it seemed to be lacking in something all the way through. I suppose I was assuming that the book would see the main characters selling up and following through on their adventures all over the world but the book is in fact more to do with the events that happen before anything is signed sealed or delivered.
The characters of Mac and Lottie were very easy to get to like but their selfish and at times horrible children just made me cringe. So wrapped up in their own ideas of what life should be like for their parents, they didnt care about their wishes or desires.
I realise that they may have been worried about their parents health whilst travelling but to be more concerned about themselves being left out in the street when they should have been making their own way in the world, just annoyed me.
I was really disappointed that the book went the way it did and I dont want to give it away for any potential readers, but it could have offered so much more. There wasnt so much humour in this book as others that I have read by this author and is was sadly missed.
Instead of being an exciting read I found this one to be quite dull in places and did wonder about giving up on it at one stage, but I dont really like to do that, especially when its by an author that Ive read before and whose books I have enjoyed. I could see the possibility of a follow up for this book where the main characters do get to realise their dreams and set off for an adventure and hopefully if this happens, then Ill get the book that I thought I was getting here.
***Other Judy Astley Books***
Just for the Summer
Seven for a Secret
Every Good Girl
The Right Thing
No Place for a Man
Away From It All
***Price & Availability***
The paperback retails for the price of £6.99 but is available at Play.com for only £5.49.
ISBN No. 0552773201
Sorrel is about to go off on her Gap Year. She sooo wants a home to come home to. Ilex, her brother, is trying to upgrade his flat and marry his smart girlfriend Manda. He'd like some immediate equity. Clover, the elder sister, has plans that involve a bijou second home in France. And she wants it now. If only their parents would be sensible. If only they would sell their large, rather grand but somewhat dilapidated home and hand over their inheritance. But parents aren't always as sensible as their children. They are planning on blowing the lot.