Thursday 28 August 2014

Review ~ The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello.

Title: The Time of Our Lives.
Author: Jane Costello.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK.
Genre: Chick Lit.
Release Date: March 27, 2014.
Source: Bought.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Three best friends. One five-star hotel. Will it be the holiday of a lifetime . . .?

Imogen and her friends Meredith and Nicola have had their fill of budget holidays, cattle-class flights and 6 a.m. offensives for a space by the pool.

So when Meredith wins a VIP holiday at Barcelona's hippest new hotel, they plan to sip champagne with the jet set, party with the glitterati and switch off in unapologetic luxury.

But when the worst crisis of her working life erupts back home, Imogen has to juggle her BlackBerry with a Manhattan, while soothing a hysterical boss and hunting down an AWOL assistant.

Between a robbery, a run-in with hotel security staff and an encounter on a nudist beach that they'd all rather forget, the friends stumble from one disaster to the next. At least Imogen has a distraction in the form of the gorgeous guy who's always in the right place at the very worst time. Until, that is, his motives start to arouse a few suspicions . . .

Hilarious and heart-warming by turns, The Time of Our Lives is Jane Costello at her romantic best.

The Time of Our Lives is the first Jane Costello book I’ve read and I have to say, not picking up one of her books before is single-handedly the worst book related decision I have ever made. The Time of Our Lives is chick lit at its complete and utter best. It has all the components of a typical chick lit novel – friendship, humour, romance, drama – written with such vivacity and style that bounces off the pages and had a warm and inviting feel to it, making me feel like I was more of fourth friend the whole way through rather than being told the story of three strangers’ holiday. Jane puts this book together perfectly.

Okay so I did read the synopsis before buying the book, and it made me smile, really, but I did not expect just how hilarious this book was actually going to be. Seriously I don’t think I have laughed out loud this much reading any book before. Jane Costello’s wit and humour is simply wonderful to read – it definitely worked on me because I was just smiling and laughing on virtually every page. Though that’s not to say this book doesn’t have a more touching, poignant feel at times because it does. But I don’t think I can express that too much other than by saying that Jane has thought of everything.

Meredith has won a VIP holiday to Barcelona – taking with her her best friends Nicola and our main character, Imogen. As we learn from the beginning of the book, an expensive holiday is an exciting thing. Finally, they can avoid the disasters of the budget holidays they’re used to! Or maybe not… If you ask Imogen to promote a competition to win a luxury holiday, I don’t think she’d have too many kind words to say. She definitely wouldn’t be able to tempt me into entering, anyway. I absolutely loved her character. She was very down to earth and great to read. Her holiday is massively interrupted by work and it was just so funny. Her interaction with boss David was one of my favourite parts here – oh if he was my boss… I would lose the plot! But I just loved how dramatic he made everything. Just from her flight alone, you could tell this was not going to be the easiest, most relaxing of holidays for Imogen. The situations she would get herself in were brilliant to read. For example, her attempt to get cream for her foot was one of those subtle, witty moments that has now left me reading all the labels on my beauty/skincare products, just to be on the safe side… Honestly, it felt like nothing would go right for Imogen and that just made her all the more endearing.

Meredith and Nicola both have their own stories here – we learn plenty about them and soon realise Imogen isn’t the only one with a life to sort out. But it was Imogen’s story that really appealed to me. Her phone calls to her daughter were sad because I thought she was a great mother but there was that one thing upsetting Florence which stopped her from showing much love and appreciation towards her mum. I also can’t forget to mention journalist Harry – more for the fact that I am completely in love with this fictional character…. The Time of Our Lives provided me with some of my favourite book characters ever.

It’s safe to say this was a learning curve of a holiday for the girls. It was a learning curve for me too – learning about this fantastic author that I have been missing out on. Jane Costello’s writing style flows flawlessly. It really is wonderfully written. We’re brought on this journey with the characters and can feel every emotion with them. There was one twist in particular that Jane wrote in which I didn’t see coming, either because I was completely immersed in the story it had never crossed my mind or because the book was just that well written. Regardless, it was credit to Jane for some top-class writing. I was expecting to enjoy The Time of Our Lives but it was much, much better than I had been anticipating. This book had it all and though I’ve read plenty of brilliant chick-lit novels lately, this one is staying with me and is easily one of my favourites, ever.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

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