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?
Review: I was lucky enough to have my copy of The Longest Holiday signed by Paige Toon right before a scorching bank holiday weekend, so I knew that I had made the right choice in electing this to be my first read at the beginning of my Paige Toon marathon!
The story begins with three friends travelling to the Florida Keys. We soon discover, however that main character Laura isn’t just there for a jolly good time, she’s there because of a betrayal on the part of her husband. Just how he has betrayed her and what she is going to do about it is revealed as the story goes on… I think this was a great choice of storyline for a summer read. It was totally unexpected and you never knew how Laura was going to react as each obstacle was put in her way during her time in Florida and her time back home. I think that some tough issues were dealt with and it was a brave move turning what could have been a story about three friends having a good time and then facing possible issues when they go back home to a story of a holiday that turned into a mission of self discovery for one of the characters.
The characters in question are three strong female characters. Laura’s two friends Marty and Bridget don’t play too big a part in the whole novel but they are key to wrapping up events at the end and they are supportive of their friend, which is admirable and also realistic. I found Laura a little difficult to like through the entirety of the novel but this shows how well written she was, that her indecision made me question her personality as I was reading. Laura’s husband Matthew and sexy dive-instructor Leo are the main male characters. I have to admit, I liked neither of these characters and this did take away, somewhat, from my enjoyment of the book.
The majority of the book is written from Laura’s point of view, in her voice but then a twist in the tale means that Leo then takes over and we get to hear some of the story from his point of view. I though this worked really well. This twist happened at a time where I was wondering where exactly the story was going so I thought this was excellent timing on the part of the author. It also worked really well because, as a reader, you never really know what’s going on in Leo’s head and so to have the final section of the novel told by him was a real gift!
Overall this is a great summer read and you will definitely be left wanting to retrace Laura’s footsteps in Florida! I did start to wonder where the story was going at one point but as I say, Toon turned this around with a dramatic twist; readers should definitely prepare themselves for this! If you are a fan of Paige Toon, you will find her usual ‘escapism’ style in this novel. If, like me, this is your first dabble into the world of her writing, this novel works great as a stand alone work and a brilliant read for sitting in the sun with!