Samantha Tonge returns to the blog with a story of two sisters, healing and a dream holiday that wasn’t quite as expected with
The Summer Island Swap
Sarah has looked after her sister Amy since their mother succumbed to breast cancer when Sarah was eleven and Amy seven. It was a difficult childhood for them both, their father was demanding and verbally abusive, and at eighteen Sarah left to ‘make her own way’, starting as a receptionist at a mid-level hotel. Now years later, Sarah’s been promoted to Assistant Manager, Amy is working as a veterinary rurse, and has just won a small windfall from the lottery. Amy’s plan is to take Sarah away on a dream holiday – a month of five-star relaxation in the British Virgin Islands.
But just before they left, Amy changed the holiday to a conservation-themed one, with shacks, compost toilets, work rotas and working various projects to help native flora and fauna in the recovery from a hurricane three years earlier. Surprise!
I’ll be honest, initially it was difficult to get into the story as there was a ton of self-doubt and recrimination (and more than a few control issues) from Sarah, and the surprises, along with some withholding of pertinent information from Sarah, was troubling. But soon, the space, Amy’s excitement, Sarah’s determination and innovation when it came to the ‘resort’ and their money troubles, and Rick’s appeal to Sarah, and her fighting it if not making friends with Cheeky the monkey was addictive. Soon, things are changing, Rick and Sarah are getting closer, we understand Sarah’s struggles with self-esteem and Rick’s similar battles with his older brother, and the balance between making a difference to conservation while simultaneously amassing profits and a sustainable model to keep the family’s island in business. Tonge’s ability to combine pertinent issues, flawed characters and a cute monkey to spur on healing and hope worked – and as each page passed, I needed to know more. A lovely getaway with several twists, that left me smiling and happy for them all.
Title: The Summer Island Swap
Author: Samantha Tonge
Genre: British, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Friendship, Holiday Themed, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Woman's Fiction
Published by: Aria
Published on: 4 June, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 22 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google ♦Audible
Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect...
After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.
But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.
So now Sarah's battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn't all doom and gloom. They're at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she’s sure is hiding a secret.
Perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Mandy Baggot and Heidi Swain.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.