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Published January 1st 2019
When holidays are a mix of drama and destiny
Book Cover courtesy Goodreads
It's the kind of prize we all dream of - winning an all-expenses paid luxury holiday to the exciting and exotic European city of Barcelona. Imagine the thrill and joy that long time friends, Imogen, Nicola, and Meredith feel when they here the news that they will be the ones who are heading to Spain courtesy of Elegant Vacations.
For single mum and dedicated but exhausted company executive Imogen Copeland, the news of a retreat could not be better. With her daughter Florence in the care of her mother, Imogen sets off with her friends for a well needed dose of sun and fun in Spain.
But of course nothing goes to plan and we share Imogen's pain, through what seems like an endless sea of funny mishaps and disasters involving spilt food, fashion malfunctions, phones disappearing down toilets, a robbery of her precious necklace and the like. You get the picture. This was sounding like the holiday from hell.
Add to that, the never ending stream of calls from her boss to manage a media disaster after he was caught in a mid air 'I need flight awkward daliance with a female passenger'.
This is not the holiday she had in mind. Until she meets the unbearably attractive science journalist Harry, who she reluctantly begins a holiday romance with.
While the book up until this point is filled with humor and frivolity, it takes on the more serious topic of grief and loss as we watch Imagen try to come to terms with the passing of her husband Roberto, the father of her daughter for Florence in an unexpected car accident 5 years earlier. Is she betraying Roberto by moving on? Is she worthy of the attention of a super-stud like Harry? What impact would a potentially new relationship have on her daughter? So many questions ...
Author Jane Costello gently deals with the rawness of Imogen's pain guilt and tragedy with sensitivity. It reinforces that there is no time frame for managing loss and that grief is a process which sometimes can't be rushed. While humour is never far away from the majority of pages, I was thankful for this added dimension to Imogen's character.
The time of our lives is a fun and easy read; it's the kind of book that itself would be enjoyed whilst on holidays, perhaps lazing by the pool, not unlike Imogen, but hopefully without the same raft of welcome mishaps.
About the author Jane Costello is an English author of nine novels and was a journalist prior to becoming a writer.