The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon
Published by Simon & Schuster UK on April 25, 2013
Laura has been married to the man of her dreams for seven months. But, she now discovers, a week before the wedding Matthew made a terrible mistake…
Escaping the heartache and humiliation, Laura is whisked off to Florida´s Key West by her best friend Marty. A carefree holiday full of cocktails and fun, surrounded by gorgeous, tanned men, is exactly what the doctor ordered. Distraction comes in form of sexy Cuba scuba diver Leo. As the end of the holiday approaches, Laura doesn´t want to go home. Is it time to face the music? Or is there more to Key West than a holiday romance?
When you review books and work together with a lot of publishers, you have to keep track on all the new releases and books you want to read. The publisher, who is responsible for the German edition of this one, was just sending me the book without any up-front notice for me.
So I thought, well, okay, I got it, why don´t give it a try. But it turns out, the style of the author isn´t really for me. I read another book by her and the result was kind of the same.
Laura is shocked. Her husband cheated on her right before their wedding and now he becomes a father! Together with her friend Marty she flees to Florida, to get a bit space between them and to get a chance to think about what to do next. But in Florida things change forever. She meets Leo and with him she starts to feel different and that she wants something in life, she won´t be able to get back home.
The Longest Holiday is written from the personal point of view by Laura. During the story you discover bit by bit what had happened before her trip to Florida. So the reader spends part of the plot in the present and some in the past of Laura. That keeps going on until both come together and from there on the reader shares with Laura her present life.
What annoyed me almost from the beginning of this novel was all the bitchy dialogues between Laura, Marty and Bridget and that everyone around Laura (except for Bridget) tried to tell her what to do, how to do and where to do. As if Laura, an almost thirty year old woman, wasn´t capable of deciding and thinking for herself. Her mother puts pressure on her, her husband and even her best friend Marty tells her how she has to feel and how to act. No wonder, that Laura starts to ignore her cell and finally turns it off for good. With such a mother and supposed to be good friend you don´t need enemies at all.
A few pages before the end of the book the perspective changes into the first-person narrative of Leo and Bridget. The story becomes all of the sudden drive and a slight change in his tone. If that would have been the case from the beginning, this would have been a four or maybe five lashes book. So, it was barely a three and a half lashes.
No doubt, Paige Toon has a wonderful and nice writing style. Alone how she describes the landscapes of Florida, the city of Miami or Key West itself - was bliss for the reading eye. But how she sees women, how she lets them feel, think or act, that is not really my thing.
There is nothing to say when characters are not that profound and don´t have much to say. But in a modern novel about a young woman it is hard to believe or take, that she has nothing to say at all. Neither Laura´s mother nor her best friend Marty or her husband seem to be ok with the fact, that she needs time, that she can´t live with the knowledge of her husband becoming a father and that she doesn´t want to meet that baby. In fact, they try to make her feel guilty.
And that made me angry. He was the one who cheated on her, he was the one who didn´t think and now they want to put that guilt on her? She has done nothing wrong. And in combination with all that bitchy behavior I soon was annoyed and finally kind of angry.
No, I am not happy with the way how the author created her figures. If this is normal for Paige Toon, then I am really sorry, but such female characters are the worst to me.
If you are a fan of shallow novels with some superficial characters and a soft writing style, then this is definitely your book. If not: keep your hands off. As sad as it is, but for me, Paige Toon novels don´t seem to be the right kind of book.
*I read the German edition new release by Fischer Krüger on June 23, 2016
Paige Toon was born in 1975 and grew up between England, Australia and America. A philosophy graduate, she worked at teen, film, and women´s magazines, before ending up a reviews editor at Heat magazine. Paige is married, has two small children, and lives in Cambridge.