Released: May 2014
After the Honeymoon starts when two couples go on a honeymoon to the Villa Rosa on a Greek Island. Emma and Tom are a very average ordinary couple with not much money. When they arrive, Tom becomes ill and spends the first part of the week bedridden, the second half watching TV and leaving Emma to entertain herself.
Winston, a TV fitness guru, has married Melissa after a whirlwind romance. They arrive at the Villa Rosa for a heavenly honeymoon in the only week Rosie, the manager and co-owner, has headed to the mainland for a break. Unfortunately Winston’s room was cancelled before he arrived and their room has been allocated to Emma and Tom. That won’t be the only thing going wrong for Winston in this very British farce when his two spoiled stepchildren arrive almost immediately after them.
Rosie found her way to the Villa Rosa when she was only seventeen, homeless and pregnant. Winston may not remember her but she certainly remembers him on her return to Villa Rosa. You probably think you can guess where this might be going and the trouble it will cause, only you would be underestimating the book. This is a story with a plot that twists and turns on every page. And the problems get ever more complicated when everyone gets back to England.
After the Honeymoon is bursting with larger than life characters, some likeable, some loathsome, but all of them playing an important part. The main problem I had with it was the multiple viewpoints. Although it was interesting to see the story unfold from the point of view of three characters, and this technique does keep the plot moving along quickly, it also means the story is repeated in some parts or skips around a little too much at other times. That said it is a suitably British farce – fun and tragic in equal measure.
Sometimes I found the dialogue a little slippery, and the changes of heart of a couple of the characters occasionally unbelievable, but they were minor characters anyway. The teenagers were particularly well drawn, as were the children, and Rosie’s story was really interesting; she was the character I most engaged with. The book is a really light and easy summer read. Easy to pick up and put down again when faced with the endless distractions that mums on holiday have to deal with.
Having been a journalist for over 25 years, Janey Fraser contributes regularly to newspapers and magazines, and is the guest editor of the June issue of Mslexia magazine as well as publishing books under the pen name Sophie King.