Reviewed by Sarah Brew
How can one honeymoon cause so much trouble?
Much as Emma loves Tom, she would never have got married if he hadn’t insisted. But with Tom sick for the whole week, shouldn’t she at least take advantage of the entertainment?
Winston married Melissa after a three-month whirlwind romance. As a breakfast TV fitness star, he’s anxious to keep things private. But the arrival of Melissa’s two children soon puts paid to that.
Rosie arrived at the Villa Rosa homeless and pregnant when she was just seventeen. Now, sixteen years later, she runs the place. However, the appearance of Winston throws her into confusion. He might not remember her, but she has never forgotten him…
By the end of the week, none of their lives will be the same. But how will they cope after the honeymoon is over?
Emma and Tom have been together for many years and have two children. Now, Tom has insisted they get married; a well-meant present from Emma’s friends means that she must leave her children behind for the first time ever as they set off for their honeymoon. Winston is a high-profile TV star, determined to keep his honeymoon location with Melissa a secret. Rosie is a single mother to 16 year old Nick; together, they run the Villa Rosa.
When the two couples arrive at the Villa Rosa, Rosie fears that the happy and secure life she has created for her and her son will collapse as her secret is finally revealed. Winston too is in fear – fear of discovery, in more ways than one.
As the story unfolds, we meet more characters. There are Melissa’s obnoxious children, foisted on the honeymoon couple by her jealous ex; there is Greek fisherman Greco, a man with hidden depths and there is the chef, Yannis a real Lothario. In addition, there are many swell-depicted supporting characters; all these people drift in and out of the story and in every case, you feel you get to know them and that they have a real part to play and an impact on events. Readers of Janey’s earlier Corrywood books will recognise some - it’s good to catch up with them. The island of Siphalonia is an important part of the story and gives an idyllic background – wonderfully described.
I loved Rosie – she is a strong and engaging person who has worked hard to make a successful life for her and her son; Jack too is extremely likeable although far from perfect – a typical teenager in so many ways, and so well depicted. Tom, on the other hand, was a frustrating and exasperating character – how does Emma put up with him?
The story twists and turns and the outcome of each situation is never predictable; the reader is left guessing right to the end. I enjoyed the way new situations were brought in and resolved as the book progressed.
I enjoyed the varied cast of characters and the skilful way their stories were interwoven without the reader ever losing track of which character’s story was being told. The true honeymoon quotes which preface each chapter are a fun addition to the story. A perfect escapist summer read (or a book to brighten up a dull winter’s day) with excellently depicted people and relationships.
I'd like to thank Philippa at Arrow Books for sending me a copy of After the Honeymoon and Sarah for offering to review it for me.