Friday, 15 September 2017

Book Review - The Holiday Cruise by Victoria Cooke

Amazon UK
Title: The Holiday Cruise
Author: Victoria Cooke
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: 15th September 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

The high seas are calling!
As if it weren’t enough to be cheated on by her husband of ten years, Yorkshire lass Hannah Davis is losing her beauty salon business too. Luckily, her big sister is there to pick up the pieces, but Hannah is desperate to find some independence.

Impulsively, Hannah applies for a spa job…on a cruise ship! Christmas in the Caribbean, springtime in the Mediterranean, what’s not to like? But, despite being in her thirties, Hannah has never done anything on her own before, and she’s terrified.

As the ship sets sail, Hannah has never been further from home…or closer to discovering who she is and who she wants to be.

I demand a sequel! Those are the only rational and logical thoughts I can come out with at the second as I'm in awe of how much I enjoyed it. 

Actually enjoy was the wrong word, I think I lived Hannah's journey with her, and from my own experiences can I just say that the author was spot on in so many ways with this this book.  The descriptions of the ports, it was like I was there seeing them, taking me back to my own previous cruises that have visited some of these places. 

And then there is this big emotional I have been feeling for the last 10-15% which I'm not sure whether its due to the writing, or just knowing how it is when a seasonal contract ends, no matter what your future plans are, just how upset and lost you feel, and The Holiday Cruise has brought all of this and more back to me. 

It's not just about Hannah who goes to work on a cruise ship after losing her husband, home and beauty salon almost all at the same time. Its not just about the exotic locations, and living on board a ship for 9 months and the close friendships you make. It is a real journey of self-discovery for Hannah as she works out for the first time perhaps in her life what she really wants in life. 

I loved hearing about life in the spa on board the ship, I have had on board spa treatments in the past, and I know that Hannah's treatments would have been far better than any I had, if for no reason than there was no mention of the selling products at the end of a treatment, that and of course she is good at her job! 

I feel as though I have travelled a great deal just from reading this book, as when Hannah has the time to get off the ship in the various ports, they are described in detail. The unexpected overnight stay in Palma, Mallorca had me laughing in recognition at the messy night out in Magaluf, but since I am close in age to our main character, I completely agreed with her thoughts of the town too! 

Then there was the sail in to Kotor, which I experienced a year ago myself, and found it described really well including the early morning to watch it properly. Or there was the tour taken in St. Maarten that was similar to one I took a couple of years back. 

And that's not counting the close knit friendships that are gained when working abroad for a fixed period of time, its intense, emotions are heightened and I loved the friends Hannah made, and was also interested in the descriptions of the crew only areas onboard the ship. 

If all of that is not enough to entice you in, then the second half of the book has a slight shift in focus to a beautiful storyline, that I adored reading, and that is all I'm saying about it. 

I pretty much adored every single second of this book and didn't want it to end, I'm half tempted to go back to the beginning to read it again straight away, but that may just be because I don't have my own next cruise booked yet! 

The Holiday Cruise is one of a rare sort of book that spoke to me on so many levels and one I could thoroughly identify with.  It would work well as s holiday read, poolside read, cruise read, garden read, wintery read by the fire (and Christmas in the Caribbean does feature)...

....or in other words buy this book now and read it! I loved it and if you like travel, romance, finding yourself or generally just curious about life on a cruise ship then I can see no reason why you wouldn't enjoy it too. 

Thank you so much to HQ Digital and Netgalley for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Happy Publication Day to Victoria Cooke - The Holiday Cruise is out now! 

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