Tuesday, 10 June 2014

BOOK REVIEW: A Proper Family Holiday by Chrissie Manby

Given that summer has finally arrived, it's been the perfect opportunity to indulge in some holiday reading. As a fan of Chrissie Manby (bestselling author of many novels including Spa Wars, Getting Over Mr Right, and previous holiday-themed novel What I Did on My Holidays), I've been waiting for A Proper Family Holiday for quite some time, and was excited to finally receive it (on a lovely sunny weekend, too!)

Magazine writer Chelsea Benson isn't best pleased at the prospect of a family holiday. It may sound harmless enough - fun, even - to most, but a week in not-so-glorious Lanzarote with her parents, sister that she hasn't spoken to in two years, a grandad with dementia and her stroppy fifteen-year-old niece - as well as her overly-excitable 6-year-old nephew - is Chelsea's idea of pure hell. Forced into an all-inclusive package holiday that would make her uber-posh co-workers on Society magazine recoil in horror, Chelsea has to face up to the reality of heading off to an unglamorous destination with the Benson clan to celebrate mother Jacqui's 60th birthday.

Meanwhile, Ronnie Benson isn't enjoying herself either. What is supposed to be a relaxing week in the sun isn't relaxing for Ronnie, who seems to be doing exactly what she does back home - cleaning, fretting, and dealing with the constant demands of partner Mark and their two children. The arrival of stuck-up sister Chelsea could only make things worse. After all, Chelsea and the posh London ways that she's become accustomed to can only rub salt in the wounds of Ronnie, who had to give up her own big-city dreams when she fell pregnant with Sophie.

Jacqui has been looking forward to this holiday for ages and hopes that the sisters can stop their feud and finally get on - after all, there's a life-changing announcement that's soon to be made...

While Chelsea is trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation with the family she now seems completely unrelated to, she finds herself in the presence of handsome Adam, though sadly, with him is his terribly spoilt daughter Lily. Lily could give Veruca Salt a run for her money, and she really dislikes Chelsea, doing anything she can to get her out of the way. And when Chelsea finds herself forced to babysit nephew Jack, the competition can only get worse. Perhaps a trouble-free holiday for the Bensons was a bit too ambitious an idea?

I absolutely loved A Proper Family Holiday; it yet another fast-paced, fun and hilarious summer read from Chrissie Manby. The idea of being trapped on holiday with a feuding family is just too fun a premise to pass up. The book focuses on Chelsea, Ronnie, Sophie and Jacqui - and even Grandad Bill (whose part of the story is extremely funny indeed). I liked, and disliked at times, each of the sisters in equal measure, and so it was fun to see how their holidays, and own stories, began to unfold.

If you're looking for some great summer reads, definitely add this one to your beach bag!

Rating: 5/5

Also, the Benson family will return in A Proper Family Christmas, which is due for release in November.

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