Friday, June 21, 2013

Book Review: The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon

Title: The Longest Holiday
Author: Paige Toon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publishing Date: April 25th 2013
Length: 400 pages
Keywords: romance, chick-lit, vacation, self-discovery, Key West
Source: Publisher

He's smiling down at me with tears in his eyes as I say my solemn vow:
'I, Laura, take thee, Matthew, to be my lawful wedded husband…' I thought I would never feel like this about anyone ever again. Not after my first love… Not after the heartbreak and the loss and the trying to pick myself back up again… Then I met Matthew, and I know that he has my heart forever: my perfect, gorgeous, adoring Matthew. And then I wake up. And I remember that he's not perfect. He's so far from perfect that my heart could surely collapse from the pain that instantly engulfs me…
To say Laura is unlucky in love is an understatement. Her first boyfriend died in a horrific accident, and now she's just discovered that her husband of six months has been hiding a terrible secret. Devastated and unwilling to face reality, she escapes on a girls' holiday to Key West with her best friend Marty. But a deep and instant attraction to a sexy Cuban scuba diver takes her completely by surprise. When her two weeks in the sun come to an end, Laura doesn't want to go home again. But she can't run from real life forever. Can she?

Summary by Goodreads 

Laura, Marty and Bridget are on their way to Key West. They've come to explore Florida, to party and most important to forget (and forgive) Laura's husband Matthew. THE LONGEST HOLIDAY is told from Laura's perspective who has to deal with a lot right now, something her husband did to her. Like possibly every other woman I couldn't help to feel sorry for Laura and angry at otherwise pretty perfect, but admittedly plain, Matthew.
The Keys open up a whole new world for Laura. Without the pressure and pretence of life back in London. And without any barriers to hold her back. For Laura it's not just a trip across the Atlantic, but a chance to discover herself and find her place in life.What is life worth if you are constantly stressing or worrying yourself? Laura's inspirational quote sums it up best: "Don't wait for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain." 

The trio's girl power is a fabulous and carefree plunge into the story. Marty and Bridget urge Laura to let go and drink, party and have fun with them. Together they absolve a dive course and drive around to explore the island. You'll learn a few fun facts about the Keys and are awarded with a gratis crash course on Scuba diving. It's a wonderland of colorful underwater scenery, brightly painted houses and the richness of nature and food in its exotic glory. They are having a blast, but when the time comes to leave and go back to England Laura does what she feels like and not what others expect her to do. She stays.

One evening Laura finds herself wandering around and is magically drawn to an overgrown garden. It's life that throws fortunate coincidences your way and so it comes that Laura moves in with her new crush, sexy Scuba diver Leo, his friend Carlos and his sister Carmen and her boyfriend. By stepping into their home, she's entering an almost dream-like world, paradise right outside her window. Now it's her task to find out what's in her heart. Can she go back to London and face reality or does she stay in Florida. And what does brooding and cautious Leo want?

Laura's and Leo's relationship is like a little game itself. They are slinking around each other, testing, and teasing. When they are ready and willing to let go of their inhibitions, their emotions flow into a sensual bond that gives THE LONGEST HOLIDAY a very passionate and slightly erotic air. Be assured, this isn't about the sex only, their love story convinces with a a true romantic feel to it. 
Leo isn't your typical love interest. He's unrelenting and at first seemingly uninterested. But there's much more to him than you first thought. In the course of the story he goes through something that shows his loyal and loving character that you can't help but be touched by. 

So far I have only read one other book by Paige Toon, ONE PERFECT SUMMER, and I enjoyed it so much that I did a jump of joy when Simon & Schuster sent me her newest book THE LONGEST HOLIDAY. I heard that Paige Toon brings back characters from her previous books and involves them in her new stories. That's something I am absolutely cheerful about. I'm a reader who never wants to let go of her characters and meet them again and again. I recognized one character from ONE PERFECT SUMMER crossing Laura's way but there could be others, too I haven't met yet. My goal is to read all previous Paige Toon books by next year so that 2013 can be officially named my Paige Toon year.  

1) of its vibrant underwater scenery
2) we've always wanted to live in paradise
3) of a glimpse on the other side of love
4) there's a new dream for everyone
5) we get a chance to meet other beloved Paige Toon characters again

4/5 **** - A luscious and inspirational journey to paradise, self-discovery and beyond!

THE LONGEST HOLIDAY is indeed a fine holiday read and another definitive chick-lit favourite of mine. You practically feel the soft sea breeze combing your hair, sand between your toes and smell the richest flavours of Leo's curry. Between Laura's sorrowful past and her confusing present, there's hope at a bright and rewarding future.

* Want to read more by Paige Toon? Start with her first novel, LUCY IN THE SKY!

* You can read an excerpt of THE LONGEST HOLIDAY by clicking here.

* You might want to have a look at Paige Toon's research photos for THE LONGEST HOLIDAY.

* For further information about Paige Toon and her books visit

* Thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for sending me THE LONGEST HOLIDAY for review! 

1 comment:

  1. I'm not great at letting go of favourite characters either, so it's always great when they turn up again in different books. I'm glad you enjoyed this book overall. I haven't heard of it before, but I'll definitely check this author out now. Great review!