Book Review: The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

There’s trouble in paradise. . .

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy. It should be paradise, but it’s turned into a nightmare.

Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?  

Published 1st June 2017 by Penguin (UK)  

Tina Seskis’s ‘When We Were Friends’ was one of the few books I managed to squeeze in in 2015, between full time work/parenting and completing my degree, and I really, really enjoyed it. At that time, my mind was so completely taken up with the billion other things I had going on, that it had to be an unputdownable, gripping plot that managed to hold my attention – and this one really did the trick. So I had high hopes for Tina’s latest novel, The Honeymoon, especially after reading some raving reviews.

I’m so pleased to say that The Honeymoon was every bit as compelling and gripping as I’d hoped. It was impossible to stop reading right from the very first page. It begins with the disappearance of Jemma’s husband while on honeymoon in the beautiful island setting of the Maldives, and with a multi split narrative, details the time period immediately before his disappearance, early in the relationship and after –  all drip feeding snippets of information to the reader, building tension and averting suspicion this way and that throughout.

As we learn about Jemma’s relationship, it becomes clear how complex it actually is. This isn’t a fairytale romance – it’s messy, dark and abusive. Only it’s constantly difficult to pin down where the blame lies. Is Jemma hiding something? Are there other people involved? I wondered many times why the hell these two people had come to be honeymooning at all – the relationship is so dysfunctional and they don’t even seem to like each other. At one point in the book I began to think this was even effecting my enjoyment and belief in the situation, but stick with it – as secrets are revealed it all starts to make sense.

The Honeymoon is packed with twists and turns meaning I never knew which way the book was going to go, despite my best attempts at guessing. And when the final twist comes ….believe me, there’s no way you’ll see it coming. It’s a shocker! Tina Seskis turns everything you think you know and expect about this genre in just a couple of paragraphs. I could not have predicted it at all.

With its stunningly beautiful and luxurious setting contrasting with a dark, claustrophobic mystery, this is a book that conjures atmosphere, intensity and intrigue by the bucket load. Tina Seskis’s writing is evocative and compelling, holding me firmly in its grip until I’d finished the very last page. I only wish I’d been reading it on a heat soaked beach myself – this book is a must for your summer holiday reading this year.

(I read an advance e-book courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

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