A staycation is something that it looks like many of us will be having this year, whether literally at our own homes or at least staying within the UK. Sophie and Harriet’s staycation is rather impromptu. An erupting volcano and the resulting ash cloud grounds flights and ruins both families’ Italian holiday plans. They meet at the airport and after some discussion, they come to the perfect arrangement – a city break in Sophie’s London house for Harriet, while Sophie enjoys a country break in Harriet’s farm in Gloucestershire.
I can’t imagine agreeing to swap houses with somebody I had only just met at an airport. My house definitely wouldn’t be in a decent enough condition for someone to just come and move in! And this is certainly how Harriet feels when she, her husband James and daughter Billie arrive at what is to be their holiday home in London. Harriet is one of life’s organisers, a little obsessive some might say, and she sets about tackling the lack of order in Sophie and Dan’s home. She is rather perturbed to find that staying in this house also involves looking after the family pet, Spot. Can’t say I would have been too happy about that either!
On the other hand, Sophie thinks she has died and gone to heaven in Harriet’s immaculate, large farmhouse. Her husband Dan as usual starts to organise lots of things to keep her and their children busy, including some rather weird and wonderful sounding spa treatments. When she is thrown into the deep end at a Scout fundraiser, she rises to the occasion and starts to wonder why she hasn’t been doing more things for herself and making her own decisions.
As the holidays progress, both women start to find their attitudes to life begin to change and this was lovely to see. There were a lot of rather funny situations throughout the book which made me laugh but there were also some rather more serious issues addressed as well. Both Sophie and Harriet began to be better versions of themselves, helped in no small part by their growing and very supportive friendship.
I enjoyed the contrasts between the city and country settings, which also reflected the differences between the women. There were lots of interesting side characters in both settings, all of whom had something about them which changed Sophie and Harriet in some way. The author showed that in many ways, initial appearances can be deceptive and that we shouldn’t be too quick to make judgements.
I found The Staycation to be a really enjoyable and engaging read. There is so much happening for both families that you will be keen to keep those pages turning and find out how it’s all going to work out for them. You’ll definitely be rooting for both Sophie and Harriet and cheering on their friendship. This would be a great choice of feel-good fiction to see you through your own staycation, and it’s sure to leave you smiling.
My thanks to Alainna at Orion for my review e-copy of the book via Netgalley. The Staycation is published by Trapeze (an imprint of Orion) on 1st of June as an ebook and the paperback will follow in July. You can order a Kindle copy here: The Staycation
From the back of the book
Two families. One cancelled flight. And a last minute house swap…
Things get desperate for strangers Harriet and Sophie when they become stranded with their families in Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Each woman has her own reason for really really really needing the family holiday they’ve anticipated for months. But Iceland’s volcano has other plans for them. When their flights are cancelled, the families swap houses and discover that sometimes the best things in life happen close to home.
This ash cloud has a silver lining, even if no one can quite see it yet.
About the author
Michele writes comedies packed with lots of heart, best friends and girl power. She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and now making London her home.
Michele also writes cosy comedies under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.
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