Her Last Holiday by CL Taylor reminded me a little of Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers, although this is more of a thriller. It does however feature a wellness retreat run by an interesting duo, and plays host to some quirky guests.
This is the third book I’ve read by Cally (CL) Taylor and yet another enjoyable read with a couple of surprise twists at the end.
Her Last Holiday
by C.L. Taylor
Published by avon books uk
Source: Harper Collins
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.
Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third suspected victim: Jenna.
Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance.
Like Taylor’s other books we’re offered several narrators: Fran and Kate in the present; and Jenna in the past.
Fran describes herself as prickly and Taylor does a great job of sharing her brash nature. We also get insight into how she became that way and the childhood Fran spent challenging her mother and her expectations. The family history also goes some way to explain why Jenna went on the wellness retreat in the first place as she’d spent her life working frantically to avoid disappointing her mother as her sister had done. There’s a 12 year age gap between the sisters so they weren’t close, but they still had a connection.
Kate’s been waiting for her husband, Tom to be released after two years in prison. She’s boldly ambitious and brought business acumen to both the relationship and the wellness business, and she wants that life back. The Tom we meet in both timeframes is a bit harder to read. We see a version of him that believes in his work, but he becomes increasing cynical and is obviously keeping secrets.
I liked that Taylor makes this as much about Fran as finding out what happened to Jenna. At the retreat Fran is forced into therapy sessions with Tom despite her misgivings. There’s stuff she needs to deal with however and her time at the retreat isn’t wasted.
Fran, Jenna and Kate are all interesting narrators but I would have liked a little more insight into other characters who played key roles. There’s a journalist who pops up briefly and some guests at the current retreat who attended the earlier one. There was a smidge of inconsistency around the portrayal of Jenna and Fran’s father that confused me, and I didn’t entirely understand some of Jenna’s fairly-dramatic decisions.
Having said that Taylor takes this in a direction I hadn’t expected. We know what some of the players are thinking and what they’re hiding but we’re still not sure who to trust so there are several last minute surprises.
Her Last Holiday by CL Taylor was published in Australia by Harper Collins and is currently available.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for review purposes.