T M Logan's third novel takes place in a villa in the south of France – the perfect setting for a scorching thriller full of simmering tension and heated emotions.
Four best friends, and their families, head to Provence to spend a week together to celebrate turning forty. Four friends who share a history, share memories and with whom they share all their secrets. Or do they? What happens when you go away with a group of people you think you know, only too find you don’t know them at all?
I’ll tell you what happens – you get an absolutely compelling, page turning read that forces you to constantly reassess your opinion of each character and then constantly surprises or shocks you with the secrets these characters might be trying to hide from each other!
The Holiday is the perfect addition to any suitcase this summer! It's pace is well judged, it's a scenario that's relatable, the characters are easy to identify with and feel empathy towards, and a plot which leads you down one path but then takes you towards at a totally unexpected destination. I was really impressed with Logan’s clever and complex plot; it continued to keep me gripped until the very last page. The last third of the novel is absolutely heart stopping and the tension soars to such a high degree, it smashes any heat wave recorded this year!
The main character is Kate and we spend most of the novel with her. She uncovers something very unsettling as soon as she arrives at the villa and this sets up an atmosphere of unease, suspicion and threat from the outset. I found Kate authentic and believable, and was impressed with Logan’s creation of such a convincing female voice. As the novel develops, we quickly realise that it’s not only Kate who is grappling with problems preventing her from enjoying the break. Each of the four friends have things from the past – and the present - that they are trying to keep from bubbling towards the surface.
Initially it looks as if this is a story about an affair and a breakdown between a couple, but the longer the group spend together, the more we learn about the the other characters. Soon it's clear that they are all flawed, all suffering and all trying to maintain a façade to protect themselves or their children. Each of the four friends is well crafted, with snapshots from some of the husbands to help show further insight or observations about what is happening at the villa. I loved how curious I was to find out more about each of the women, their relationships with each other, their motivations, fears and dilemmas. There are some powerful scenes, some emotive issues raised and basically, well, it's just a fabulous read with a cast of fantastic characters and such a dramatic finale that nothing - not even a crisp, cool glass of wine - will be able to distract you from finishing it!
I was hugely impressed with the depth and interweaving plot lines, how expertly Logan handles the multiple threads and how well he captures the range of relationships and dynamics between the families, friends, husbands, wives and children. The dialogue between the teenagers is particularly strong and the way their problems, concerns and secrets wriggle their way into the forefront of the story is really clever. It really is a terrific read and an exceptionally well executed thriller.
I definitely recommend this tense, compelling thriller about families, friendships, secrets and lies. Whether you are on holiday or not this summer, make sure this book is on your shopping list for travel essentials!