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Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

(Audiobook narrated by Alex Tregear)

Imogen is a single mother with a demanding job, who hasn’t had a holiday in years. So when her friend Meredith wins a luxury break in Barcelona, the two of them and their other best friend Nicola decide to take full advantage. After all, Meredith is pregnant, so who knows when they will get the chance again. However, things start to go wrong from the start, with Imogen having to sort out work problems despite being on holiday and coping with her demanding mother’s phone calls. And then there’s Harry – the fellow holidaymaker who is the first man to pique Imogen’s interest since Roberto, the father of her daughter.

I have listened to Jane Costello before and have previously enjoyed her books. Initially I enjoyed this one too, but I must admit that after a while, it started to grate on me somewhat. It is narrated by Imogen, and honestly…I just wanted to shake her and tell her to stop being such a doormat. This woman is on holiday for the first time in several years, and she receives several telephone calls a day from her boss and other colleagues, expecting her to sort out a problem that was not caused by her in the first place!! And she just puts up with it.

Additionally, I had to ask just how many ridiculous mishaps can happen to one person? It made it really hard to believe in the story when embarrassments and clumsy mishaps happened to Imogen time and time again, supposedly for comedic effect.

Anyway the ending was predictable, and well signposted, but I find that’s usually the case with chicklit.

I would listen to more by Jane Costello, but that is based on my previous experience, rather than this particular read. It’s not awful but it’s certainly not great either.

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This audiobook was narrated by Colleen Prendergast, who I have previously enjoyed listening to as a narrator. She did a great job here too, but unfortunately I did not particularly enjoy listening to this book.

The story is narrated by Nina Penhaligon, an actress on the brink of making it big in television. After making a massive blunder and embarrassing her agent, she decides to get away from it all and goes to stay with her brother in Devon. There she meets up with an old friend named Theo, who has problems of his own. Theo and his wife Kate’s marriage is floundering after they struggle to get over a traffic loss. Nina gets involved with helping Theo set up his holiday let business and falls for the quieter pace of life in Devon, as opposed to the hustle and bustle of London.

In between trying to help Theo and Kate mend their marriage, Nina also has to find out the truth about her own family history, help her brother see that too much work is not good for him, get involved with trying to save a local landmark, and of course, there’s a big dollop of romance in there too.

I’ve long ago come to the conclusion that chicklit is not a genre which really works for me, but when listening to audiobooks, I can sometimes enjoy it. This one started out fairly well, but it went on for so SO long. I felt that a few of the storylines could have been cut out completely and the book would have been better for it (I’m not going to be too specific here, as I don’t want to give away spoilers). It seemed to be about twice as long as it needed to be. The other thing was that the way the holiday let business got set up was just unrealistic. Nina basically happens upon Theo’s rundown, unkempt and completely unfurnished holiday cottages, and transforms them in ONE AFTERNOON!!

I appreciate that we are meant to be rooting for Nina, but I found her quite annoying by the end of it. They should have just called her a fairy godmother, given her a magic wand and have done with it. She managed to solve the problems of practically everyone in the village, and it felt like she was going around sprinkling her fairy dust everywhere. The other problem was that some of the plot points were so obviously signposted that it seemed incredible that Nina didn’t spot what was coming herself.

On the positive side (yes, there is one!) I thought the Devon setting was lovely and it did  make me think that I too would love to live in a place like that.

I should mention again that this is not really a genre I read a lot, because I generally find it very predictable, which was one of my niggles with this book. I’ve read several other reviews of this book, most of which rate it really highly, so if you do enjoy chicklit, then don’t be put off giving it a go. Unfortunately it just wasn’t really for me.

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In this comedy from 1962, James Stewart plays Roger Hobbs, a happily married man who is looking forward to spending a month off work getting away from it all with only his wife Peggy (Maureen O’Hara) for company.  But Peggy has other ideas, and she rents a beach house to which she invites their entire family, including sons-in-law and grandchildren!  Problems arise when the beach house turns out to be dilapidated – but that’s nothing to the problems caused by a voluptuous fellow holidaymaker who seems to take a liking to Roger; the marital problems of one of the daughters; the son’s obsession with western movies; and the youngest daughter’s determination not to enjoy herself!

I’m surprised that this film is not better known – after all it stars one of Hollywood’s best loved actors, Jimmy Stewart (a man who I’m convinced is impossible to dislike).  Here, Stewart is terrific, totally depicting Roger’s love for and frustration with his family.  And his facial expressions and little mannerisms are perfect – I found myself sympathising with him, even while laughing at his predicaments!

Maureen O’Hara is also perfect as his wife Peggy (and she looks amazing).  She is the perfect foil for Roger, and the love between the two of them comes through perfectly, even though they get annoyed with each other two.

Laurie Peters shines as the youngest daughter, and Minerva Urecal is great as the maid, Brenda.  In all honesty the two older daughters and sons in law are pretty forgettable, but that doesn’t detract from the film, as Stewart and O’Hara are terrific in every scene.  The scene when they first arrive at the house to discover that it is run-down and probably dangerous, is a hoot!

If you haven’t heard of this film, I’d definitely recommend it.  Lots of laughs and two very likable main characters make it well worth watching.

Year of release: 1962

Director: Henry Koster

Writers: Edward Streeter (book), Nunnally Johnson

Main cast: James Stewart, Maureen O’Hara, Lauri Peters

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