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Undemanding Holiday Read
on 5 September 2016
Melissa, an archivist in her late thirties who has been taking care of her ailing mother, Elizabeth, is both hurt and horrified when she returns home unexpectedly and catches her husband, Richard, 'in flagrante' with a female work colleague. When Elizabeth dies shortly afterwards, Melissa decides to leave Richard behind and travels to Corfu to discover more about her mother's past relationship with famous writer and poet, Julian Adie, a heavy-drinking womaniser, who lived and worked on the island for some years (and whom the author has based on the writer Lawrence Durrell). Realizing that there is a lot more to Elizabeth's past life than she was aware, Melissa makes the acquaintance of some of the island inhabitants in the quest to learn more about Julian Adie and the women in his life. This brings her into contact with the darkly handsome Alexandros (with his strong jawline and deep brown eyes as soft as melted chocolate) who, after an initial resistance, lets Melissa know that he is very attracted to her. As time passes and she moves from Corfu, back to England and then to the south of France - where she discovers more about Julian Adie and her mother - Melissa begins to explore and re-evaluate her own life ...
I ordered this book years ago from Amazon for holiday reading, but once I received it, I felt it was going to be too lightweight and romantically sentimental for me and I have, until now, put off reading it. Having finally got around to it, I'm sorry to say that I was right in my assumption - but I can't explain more fully without revealing too much of the story and spoiling it for those who have yet to read it. In addition, the author makes a point of stating at the beginning of her book that although she based Julian Adie on Lawrence Durrell, she has "played fast and loose with his chronology… to give an impression of the author's life without providing in any way an accurate portrayal" - which made me wonder why she didn't just create her own character and left herself even more free to go wherever she wanted to with this story. That said, Ms Lawrenson's descriptions of Corfu and the south of France were beautifully done and parts of this novel were enjoyable to read and for those looking for a light, undemanding holiday read, this might just fit the bill.