The Vacation by M.M. Chouinard

EXCERPT: Please, God. Please let Lily be safe. Please bring her back to us. Please forgive me – please don’t make her pay the cost for my demons.

She repeats the prayers in a mantra designed to atone, and to break a cycle of obsessive thinking. How many times has her therapist told her to chase away anxiety with reason and facts? God doesn’t work that way, she tells herself. This isn’t because of you.

But how can it not be? It’s too much. It’s too coincidental.


She short-circuits the cycle of thoughts and returns to the prayer.

But Brandon was right –


This isn’t her fault. It can’t be, it just can’t.

Unless it is.

ABOUT ‘THE VACATION’: One of them is missing… One of them did it…

The Thanksgiving retreat was meant to be a time for them to get away from it all, miles from the secrets that threaten to tear their family apart. But they’re each hiding something:

Rose hopes the pretty house overlooking the sea is just the break her family needs. But as she gazes at the water and remembers her own childhood, she is utterly terrified.

Brandon knows his wife Rose has barely forgiven him for his affair. He’s started drinking again, a road that led him to disaster once before.

Brianna, Rose’s sister-in-law, is recovering from her fifth miscarriage, and when she looks at her adorable niece, she can’t help but see the daughter she deserves.

Then three-year-old Lily disappears from her bed in the villa. Isolated in what should have been paradise, it quickly becomes clear that one of them took her.

As one by one their secrets are uncovered, who will be destroyed next?

MY THOUGHTS: I not only found it impossible to connect with any of these characters, I found it difficult to tell them apart. They were all interchangeable and unremarkable. None of them were particularly likeable or memorable.

A child going missing from it’s bed is every parent’s nightmare. Was Lily abducted? Did she wander off? The Vacation ought to have been taut and suspenseful. I didn’t feel that. The writing felt flat, the plot predictable. None of the twists surprised me, and I figured out both the who and the why well before the end.

A lot of what occurs in The Vacation I found improbable and contrived, which is a pity. There was so much scope to develop this into a tense and chilling psychological thriller. But it was very wide of the mark for me. Even the ending was ‘meh.’

I am aware that I am very much out on a limb with my feelings about The Vacation. This book currently has an average rating of 4 stars. So if you enjoyed the excerpt from The Vacation, and the plot outline appeals, please do go ahead and read it. Just because this wasn’t for me, doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it.


#TheVacation #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: M.M. Chouinard writes crime fiction (including suspense, procedurals, and cozies), and women’s fiction. M.M. Chouinard’s first fiction story was published in her local paper when she was eight, and she fell in love with Agatha Christie novels not long after. While pursuing a Ph.D in psychology and helping to found the first U.S. research university of the new millenium, the stories kept rattling around inside her skull, demanding to come out. For sanity’s sake, she released them.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Vacation by M.M. Chouinard 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 profile page or the about page on

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Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbled. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

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