EXCERPT: As Caroline continues to rant, Fran stares at her in awe. It’s been a while since she met someone with such fervour and passion, such a powerful drive to vanquish injustice and reveal the truth. It’s really quite inspiring, despite Caroline’s dubious taste in knitwear.
‘And that,’ Caroline says, ‘is why I’m not going to let them drive me away. They might have found a way to cover up your sister’s murder but they’re not going to intimidate me into letting this drop.’
‘No, but they could kill you.’
ABOUT ‘HER LAST HOLIDAY’: Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.
Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna.
Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?
MY THOUGHTS: I simply flew through Her Last Holiday by C.L. Taylor. Yes, I had to suspend belief, and no, this isn’t what I would call a psychological thriller, but it was fun and I enjoyed it, mainly I think, because of the characters, because I certainly didn’t find this suspenseful.
Fran, who is the central character, has been a disappointment to her parents, i.e. her mother. She’s a ‘no-frills’ type of person, an I.T. teacher who has never married nor produced a grandchild. She is twelve years older than her sister Jenna, a clone of, though much nicer than, their mother, a force to be reckoned with.
Jenna was bored by her job, her boyfriend had cheated on her, and Fran had inadvertantly pulled the rug out from under her feet, when she decided to go on a retreat to try and get her equilibrium back. It was a retreat from which she didn’t return, her death ruled suicide, her body never recovered.
Tom, the leader of the SoulShrink retreat, has had trauma in his own life, which led him to where he is. He is good looking and charismatic, but seems to be controlled by Kate, his facilitator.
Kate is more than just Tom’s assistant. Much more. SoulShrink was her idea, her baby, Tom the person she chose to front it. She is focused on success, complete with all the trappings, and God help anyone who gets in her way.
Now the blurb for Her Last Holiday is somewhat misleading. ‘Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat…’ Fran did not book herself onto this retreat. Geraldine, her mother, was booked to go but had an accident and couldn’t. She bullied Fran into going in her place.
I loved the machinations between the characters. A lot of people aren’t who or what they appear to be (highly improbable, I know, but fun) and there are many hidden agendas.
The downfall, for me, was the denouement. It all went a bit pear-shaped and OTT. I was disappointed. I can’t say more than that for fear of giving something away.
I: @cltaylorauthor @avonbooksuk
T: @callytaylor @AvonBooksUK
One of my favourite lines: ” ‘There’s no need to cause a fuss.’ A fuss? I found out my dad’s not my dad and she acts like I found a hair in my soup?”
THE AUTHOR: Cally Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning before leaving to write full time in 2014. She lives in Bristol with her partner and son.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Her Last Holiday by C.L. Taylor for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com