Wednesday 26 January 2022

Guest Review: The Staycation by Cressida McLaughlin

Travel agent, Hester Monday, has been keeping a secret …

Thanks to her fear of flying, she hasn’t been on a plane in years. Now Hester wants to make a good impression on her newest client, Jake Oakenfield, who was heroically injured saving an old lady, and is now laid up in a luxury hotel.

For Jake, unable to return to New York, binge watching Netflix just won’t do. He wants Hester to invent the ultimate escape and re-create her most magical holidays abroad from the confines of his hotel room.

As their perfect mini-breaks around the globe take on a life of their own, Hester wonders if her world of make-believe is all starting to feel just a little too real…

Review: I always enjoy books written by Cressida McLaughlin, and have recently been following and entranced by her Cornish Cream Tea series. I was pleased to find this new story from her and was intrigued to find out what kind of staycation I was to be treated to; we have all become much more familiar with this term of late, but it means very different things to different people. I was instantly alert as my eye was drawn to my surname on the very first page of the story, but this was a mere detail in a tale that had me engrossed from this page to the last.

The story concerns mainly two people - Hester Monday, a travel agent with a fear of flying, and Jake Oakenfield, a tourist marooned in London following an accident, injuries from which have prevented him for now from flying home to New York. Jake is lucky enough to be spending his enforced vacation in a luxurious hotel, but is frustrated by his inability to get around and in dire need of entertainment. When his sister sends Hester along to plan a holiday for him when he has recovered, he instead asks her to visit daily and describe details of what he imagines are her magical escapes around the world. Of course, Hester, unable to board a plane, hasn’t been to any his desired destinations, but, with the help of the hotel staff, manages to transform Jake’s hotel suite into some exotic locations and depict some experiences to be enjoyed there. As the days pass, Hester begins to feel herself drawn to Jake and he to her, but she is worried about how he will react when he finds out she has been lying to him.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end and would not hesitate to recommend it to others. It is, as described, a romantic escape and one that I did not want to end. The story is filled with interesting and well formed characters who I’m confident I would enjoy meeting. I loved watching as Hester and Jake became closer and closer, but, like Hester, feared the outcome when Jake discovered the truth, as of course he must; I was never quite sure how he would react. The ending was all that I hoped it would be, but the story was so skilfully written that it was never a foregone conclusion. Although the circumstances of Jake’s ‘incarceration’ were unfortunate, his suite and the hotel as a whole sounded absolutely wonderful, especially with that amazing concierge on hand; I wouldn’t mind spending a few days there myself. I am already missing Hester and Jake - the sign of a good story - I would love to know what they did next.

To get your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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