Review of 'The Three Day Rule', a novel by Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees.
This review is based on the paperback version of the novel, 320 pages, ISBN 0099457830, published by Arrow books, cover price £6.99, authors Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees.
There is a saying that any good house guest would do well to adhere to, after three days, guests and fish begin to go off. This is the message in this novel.
The story, set over three days Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day begins in Cornwall. The Thorne family are gathering on the remote island of Brayner to celebrate Christmas together.
Apart from the elder Thorne, Gerald, none of the family members are particularly looking forward to the event, however they console themselves with the thought that it is only for three days and then they can return to their ordinary lives.
When the Thornes' gather, so do the storm clouds, both emotional and weather-wise, as family rivalries, petty grudges and long held enmities take over!
Widower Gerald Thorne lives on the island and he is joined by lawyer son Elliot, his wife Isabelle and daughter Taylor and his doctor daughter Stephanie, her husband David and their children Simon and Natascha.
The family are a eclectic bunch of people, Gerald is an amateur artist, content with his own company and that of his elderly dog, Rufus. Elliot and Isabelle are successful, career orientated and wealthy, they have sent their daughter to boarding school in order to have 'time for themselves'. The teenager resents this bitterly, to compensate, she puts herself out to be as awkward, rebellious and as difficult as possible.
Stephanie and David are a couple in crisis, their middle child, Paul, has died in a tragic accident and although they try to keep going for the sake of the other children, the cracks are showing and their nerves are stretched to breaking point. Stephanie dislikes her brother's wife and feels inferior to her elegant sister in law.
Elliot arrives a day later than his wife and daughter, the reason for this is that he has been with his young mistress, an Australian lawyer called Kellie. Elliot has booked Kellie into a hotel on the mainland with the intention of slipping away to be with her as often as possible during the Christmas break. When he arrives on Brayner he finds that on the remote island, he cannot get a phone signal and the only way to contact Kellie will be via his fathers radio phone system.
On Christmas Eve, Kellie is alone, bored, lonely and uncertain of her feelings for Elliot. She takes a walk by the harbour as she tries to unravel the problems of a relationship with a married man who makes excuse after excuse not to leave his wife. Kellie is not happy with her life and her doubts grow.
At the harbour, she meets Ben, the operator of the taxi boat which runs between the mainland and Brayner. Kellie accepts a trip in the taxi boat when Ben explains that he has a delivery for Brayner island. Ben takes a slight detour to show Kellie a seal colony. Tragedy strikes as she and Ben approach the island and the boat is wrecked. They struggle to reach the shore and as they do, a severe snow storm blows up and the pair are marooned on the island. They shelter in an old fisherman's hut but soon realise that they will have to walk across the island to the safety of civilisation.
The snow storm has taken everyone by surprise and the walk which should have taken thirty minutes takes Ben and Kellie a couple of hours. They arrive at the village and have no option but to stay on the island. The landlady of the local pub also rents out holiday cottages and offers one to Kellie and Ben to stay in. She also supplies them with spare clothes and manages to contact Ben's family and Kellie's hotel. The two realise that they are going to have to spend Christmas together as the taxi boat will not be repaired until after Christmas. Kellie feels uncomfortable as she knows that Elliot is on the island with his family.
Michael, the son of the landlady of the pub is another central character in the novel. Michael has met Taylor Thorne before and is besotted by her. He breaks all the rules and as a result, gets himself into a situation that he cannot handle. Michael is a typical mixed up angst ridden teenager, he wants to appear cool and mature, yet underneath he is still a child. Taylor is a bully and she cashes in on Michael's crush to get her own way, with disastrous results.
As the plot progresses through the Christmas holiday, the family dramas and crises unravel. The sub plots within the main storyline show this dysfunctional family in all their glory. The events are humorous, surprising and sad in turn. The final outcome of the story is reached after many an unexpected twist, thanks to the authors well crafted plot.
==About the Authors==
Lloyd and Rees are a husband and wife writing duo, they have both had individually written novels published and have teamed up to write several best sellers. The couple live in London and have two children.
==Availability and Cost==
My copy bears the cover price of £6.99, the book can be found on various websites.
www.ebay.co.uk £2.67 (new) and various prices in auction format.
www.amazon.co.uk £3.75 (new) or from 0.01p (used).
Naturally I cannot guarantee these prices on other dates.
==My Thoughts and Conclusion==
Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees were not familiar authors to me prior to reading 'The Three Day Rule', so I started the novel with no preconceptions or expectations. I am not usually a fan of co-written novels, but this one is an exceptionally good read.
'The Three Day Rule' is a remarkable novel. The authors have taken a family and crafted an intricate plot full of intrigue and human weaknesses, lightened by humour and irony around them. The characters are believable and likeable on the whole, even the 'stroppy' teenage girl has her moments and I found I could relate to the central characters in the novel and actually cared what happened to them!
The standard of writing is high and Lloyd and Rees have created a truly memorable and enjoyable novel. The fictitious island of Brayner is so well described that you felt as though you actually knew the place as the story unfolded. Green Bay Harbour and the Windcheater pub could almost be just down the road, so realistically were they described!
I enjoyed this novel so much that I read it over the course of one evening and the following morning. If you like a modern novel with strong, believable characters, a well crafted plot with plenty of action, give 'The Three Day Rule' a go, I highly recommend it.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 February 2010
N.B. My reviews may be found on other review sites under the same user name.
I have to start this review by saying that I enjoyed this book so much I could hardly put it down which with two small children is no mean feat! 'The Three Day Rule' is written by the very successful writing team of husband and wife Emlyn Rees and Josie Lloyd. This is the sixth book they have written together (I have read them all) and they just seem to get better.
This book (quite appropriately for when I was reading it) covers one Christmas period enjoyed (or endured) by the Thorne family. All the family members have come together at their father's home on the small island of Braynor to enjoy the festivities together. Elder son Elliot says that they can only be together for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day because of the three day rule - which is how long any family can endure each other before returning to normality! I think there are times when I can relate to that rule!
The extended Thorne family is made up of the father Gerald, now widowed, and his two children Elliot and Stephanie. Elliot is married to Isabelle and they have a teenage daughter, Taylor. However, Elliot has been having an affair with Kellie, who is staying in a hotel on the mainland, where hopefully Elliot will be able to visit if he gets the opportunity! Stephanie is married to David with whom they now only have two children since their son Paul died in a tragic accident eighteen months ago.
So you can see that potentially all is not well in the Thorne household and tensions are brewing nicely for Christmas. Isabelle's attempts to take over the house do not go down well with Stephanie who is already under enormous strain to be cheerful because it is Christmas. Taylor, with her friend Michael has all sorts of adventures planned, all slightly risky and dangerous! Elliot, of course, is scheming how he can meet up with Kellie - not helped by the fact his mobile does not work on the island!
Added to all this the weather is taking a turn for the worse and there is a physical storm brewing outside as well as an emotional one inside. Things are further complicated when Kellie meets local boatman Ben who takes her on a visit to the island - she only wants to take a look but after problems with the boat they find they are stranded.
Not wishing to give too much of the story away, all I will say is that the next three days are an emotional rollercoaster for all involved. Things are said that cannot be unsaid, secrets revealed which are shocks, revelations which change the way people feel, all hurtling towards potential disaster!
I felt this book was so well written and because of this I was really caught up in events. The characters were all very strong and believable, and I always think that the mark of a good book is whether you care about the characters - which I did. Whilst reading it I also felt that I went through a journey of emotions with them and there were times when I was actually crying I was so caught up in what was happening!
The book is divided into three sections each covering a different day. I'm not sure how the authors go about writing as a team - in the earlier books you got the impression they wrote different chapters each, but you don't in this book. Their writing combination seems to work together so well though - excellent pace, good description, believable characters and a gripping storyline - all the ingredients needed for a good book!
'The Three Day Rule' is published by Arrow Books for a RRP of £6.99. With almost 400 enthralling pages I would say that is good value for money! And all I can say as I finish this review is that I really can't wait for their next book!
No phone. No electricity. Snowed in with your family. Welcome to one hell of a Christmas. When the Thorne family gather for the annual Christmas festivities - the arguments, jealousies and long-held enmities that make every family Christmas so special - they think they've only got to endure each other for three days, and then they can return to normality. But then the snows come, along with the ninety-mile-an-hour winds and the plunging temperatures, and the Thornes get cut of with only each other for support, or to blame. It promises to be a Christmas like no other...Here, get to know the family you're never going to forget.