The Staycation by Michele Gorman – Book Review

The Staycation by Michele Gorman – Book Review

The Staycation by Michele Gorman

The Staycation

Author – Michele Gorman
Publisher – Trapeze
Pages – 336
Released – 1st June 2020
ISBN-13 – 978-1409190103
Format – ebook, paperback, audio
Review by – Julie
Rating – 4 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.
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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.

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‘The Staycation’ is the latest book from American-born, British-based author, Michele Gorman. It’s a wonderfully simple idea; two families meet and casually chat at Heathrow Airport, en route to Rome. As time goes by, it becomes clear that an ash cloud has put paid to any chance of international flights taking off in the immediate future. Rather than go home, the two families decide to swap properties for a fortnight. One swaps their London home for a country retreat, whilst the other leaves their farm for the bright lights of the city.

The book is written in the third person and we see the action through the eyes of slightly chaotic stay-at-home mum of two, Sophie, and ultra-organised successful solicitor, Harriet, who has a daughter. The cover suggests the reader is in for a light-hearted frivolous read, ideal for the back garden (as, ironically, none of us are allowed to go on holiday at the moment). However, as we delve deeper into the lives of these two polar-opposite women, we find there is more going on than we first thought. Their blossoming friendship allows them each to re-evaluate their own situation and the scene is set for some major upheavals for everyone, going forward.

The characters are well-defined although possibly slightly exaggerated and we are drip-fed their backstories as the book unfolds. Sophie is completely dominated by her husband, Dan, who controls every aspect of her life, from the clothes she wears, to the volunteering roles he finds for her. His passive aggression is relentless and it seems he denigrates her in every sentence. It is down to the skill of the writing that I began to hate him with a vengeance.

I don’t feel I got to know farmer James, Harriet’s husband, very well. He comes across as a solid, dependable sort of chap who’s just happy looking after his goats. Harriet is clearly on the autistic spectrum and her anxiety coping strategies confirm this. Nonetheless, she has apparently spent her life denying it, ironically not having the ability to empathise with why the suggestion keeps cropping up.

That these two women’s lives collide is fortuitous for them both. Through text messages and conversations, they encourage and facilitate each other to implement changes that will serve them both well for the future.

This multi-layered novel has some highly amusing moments but scratch the surface and it raises all sorts of questions. I think many readers will enjoy it and by the end, I suspect most will be Team Sophie, because her evolution is the most dramatic. It isn’t easy to take everyday events and weave an interesting story around them, so I commend the author. I found it quite addictive, if a little contrived at times. I award four well-deserved stars.

Book Reviewer – Julie

Purchase online from: BooksBlackwells

About the Author

Michele Gorman The Staycation

Michele writes books packed with heart and humor, best friends and girl power. She also writes cozy comedies under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, romance, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

She is both a USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London with her husband.

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What did you think of The Staycation? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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6 Responses

  1. Nadene says:

    A new to me author. The story sounds fun.

  2. DJ Sakata says:

    I have this on my calendar too

  3. Bianca says:

    I’ve been on a staycation since lockdown started. Great review!

  4. Kathy West says:

    This has an interesting plot.

  5. Megan | Bookstacks 'n Golden Moms says:

    I love the idea of a house swap. Definitely sounds like an intriguing book 🙂

  6. Robin Loves Reading says:

    Interesting concept. Great review.