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I've been a fan of Annie Sanders novels for a long time, and I think they are definitely getting better with every book they write. I have read all but one of the four books they have released so far, so when I saw on Amazon that they had a new one coming out in June 2008, I quickly reserved a copy at the library. I soon got the notice that the book was ready to collect and so I eagerly started to read it.
Sarah and David Lewis have been married for years but things are getting stale between the pair. They have twins, Claire and Tom, who are about to start University, and Sarah is dreading being left at home alone without the children. Sarah decides she needs to get away for a while, almost like a gap year, without David, and she quickly flees to France and her friend Nathalie's home. But Sarah's family life is disintegrating, her daughter is getting out of control, and things aren't going to plan for Sarah either...
I must say that my nan and mum managed to read this book before me, and both really loved it so I had hoped that I would enjoy it just as much as them. However, I found that while I definitely enjoyed the story, I didn't think it was the best book they've ever written, and I thought perhaps they enjoyed it more because of their generation and the fact its written about a 40 year old woman being stuck in a rut. Maybe being 22, I couldn't relate properly to some of the things in the book, but it was still enjoyable as a story overall.
The idea of going away on an extended holiday and leaving your husband behind is certainly not something I would want to do but the way it was approached by the authors was one I could understand and you didn't hate Sarah for wanting to leave her marriage for a while. The relationship between Sarah and her husband was definitely not at its best, and for some reason I did end up feeling a bit sorry for the deserted David, as he was just left alone without knowing what to do with himself. The authors didn't make him a villain as such, just part of an unhappy marriage, and so I didn't feel too bad for sympathising with him!
In fact, it was actually the character of Sarah who I wasn't so keen on throughout the book. I could see why she wanted a break in routine for a while, but I felt the way she treated her husband and children wasn't at all nice. The fact she expected her children to be okay with her after deserting their dad was a bit ridiculous and she did annoy me in this respect. She seemed to move on from her husband a bit quickly for me, and I did hope that David would show a bit of resistance before willingly taking her back as she hadn't behaved very nicely at all.
As well as the main story between Sarah and David, there were also a couple of other stories running parallel to this which were also very enjoyable. The book kept us updated about Claire and Tom's life at University, which was actually a not so nice story to read but still compelling. There was also a bit of a mystery involving Sarah and David's parents which was good, and something totally different. The way the authors can weave these stories so easily alongside the main one is fantastic, and keeps the reader very interested.
Overall I felt that this was a very good book which certainly kept my interest for the duration. I didn't think that it was my favourite book of Annie Sanders so far, that would be Goodbye Jimmy Choo, but still it was a very good read for anyone who loves chick lit. The characters were well written, the story had a good few twists and turns, and was fairly realistic. Although I felt I couldn't relate to the story, I still enjoyed the read and am looking forward to their next book.
ISBN: 978-0752889702. Published by Orion in June 2008. The hardback copy contains 352 pages, and is available on Amazon for £7.74. For more information on the authors, see their website www.anniesanders.com.
Thank you for reading.