Friday, 22 May 2015

The Island Escape - Kerry Fisher

I'm so pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for 
The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher

About the book...

Can one woman’s marriage survive her best friend’s divorce? Fans of Veronica Henry and Erica James, this is the next book to add to your reading list.

It’s time to get back to where it all began…

Octavia Sheldon thought she’d have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow. But things didn’t turn out quite like that.

Married to safe, reliable Jonathan, her life now consists of packed lunches, school runs and more loads of dirty washing than she ever thought possible. She’s not unhappy. It’s just that she can barely recognise herself any longer.

So as Octavia watches her best friend’s marriage break up, it starts her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and get back to the person she used to be? Escape back to the island where she spent her summers? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her…?

About the author...
I write funny, honest books about ordinary women and family life. When I’m not doing that, I can be seen haring across the Surrey hills trying to stop my lab/schnauzer eating other people’s picnics or running off with their kites. Or helping my teenage son think back to when he might last have seen his rugby shorts. Or explaining to my daughter that I can help with English, Latin and Spanish but art, technology or, ugh, sewing, she’s on her own. Or telling my very tolerant husband that the dog needs organic chicken because she’s got a sensitive stomach but could he make do with an omelette?

But I wasn’t always a writer. Once I left my hometown of Peterborough to go to university in Bath, I got the travel bug and have never recovered. I was an English teacher in Spain and Corsica, a holiday rep in Tuscany, a PA in an art school in Florence, a guidebook researcher and author, travel journalist. Horizons, broad, exciting, unknown and promising were what inspired me. Nothing thrilled or terrified me quite as much as landing in a foreign country with a whole new territory to discover.
And then the children arrived…and with them disappeared the days of elephant riding in Thailand, testing new theme park rides in America and abseiling down the highest tower in Rotterdam.  So I had to find new ways of exploring far-flung lands. After working as a book reviewer for Candis magazine, I realised fiction was the way to keep that sense of anticipation and excitement alive.
When the children were young, the challenge was finding the time to write. Now both are at senior school, the challenge is to write down the funny (and sometimes hideous) things they say before I forget in case I need to use them in a novel – in our house, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Even the dog has to make friends on the hill so that I can talk to their owners about books. So if you see otherwise sane-looking women leaping into hedges and hiding behind oak trees on the Surrey Downs, they’ve probably spotted me heading their way with my latest book recommendation…
Other than reading and writing, I love cooking, entertaining, wine and friends…I’m more like Clover than Jen1 – not very groomed and a bit messy, though I don’t have wellies in my kitchen sink. Or a trust fund…
My thoughts...
I was given a copy of this book by Kerry's publishers in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.  First up, who wouldn't be drawn to pick this book up with a cover like that, especially when we are under a deluge at the moment?!  The idea of warm, sunny days with a sea view sounds like heaven to me.

The book revolves around two friends Octavia and Roberta and their husbands Jonathan and Scott.  Each couple very different, Octavia and Jonathan on the surface, settled into a simple, homely, quiet routine of family life and work.  Roberta and Scott, in comparison  posh, go getters living life at a faster pace with different outlooks to what they want from life.  Each relationship has it's problems and when Roberta ends her marriage Octavia begins to look at her own relationship. Is it what it seems?

I loved this book, a perfect holiday read for a sunny afternoon curled up by the pool with the sun glinting off the water.  This was for me an easy read but was also a very thought provoking book - it's not all pink and fluffy and touches on some serious subjects but Kerry has a light writing style that more than hints at humour and has created characters that are true to life dealing with real life issues.   Predictable at times but written in such a way that it was pacey.  The pages flew by I was so engaged.

I guarantee this book will evoke many questions.  How many of us have ever wondered 'what if'?  This is exactly what Octavia does when the breakdown of Roberta's marriage causes her to take stock of her own life.  Is the grass really greener on the other side?  It can appear so, if like Octavia  you've been in a long term relationship, family commitments and work can take over, leaving no time for fun.

This was in many ways a book full of cliches and highlighted the fact that relationships both romantic and platonic should be equal.  Giving and taking in equal measures.  Anything less than this can be unhealthy and  you should only take out what you put into a relationship. If the balance is unfair, one party will eventually get fed up.  Nothing is ever simple though, relationships are complex and sometimes you have to distance yourself from a relationship to get a clearer picture of what you have and what you want and need for the future.

I loved The Island Escape and have found another author to watch out for.  A book about relationships that are more complex than would first appear has got to be good, satisfying my natural curiosity or 'nosiness' depending which way you look at it. So a huge thank you Kerry, I can't wait for your next one :)

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