Today marks the release of the latest book by CL Taylor called ‘Her Last Holiday’ and it’s a book that’s disturbed my slumber for the last couple of nights.
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 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. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?
The story is written through the narrative of 3 strong and determined women, sisters Fran and Jenna and another woman called Kate. It flows in a past and present tense, with the present narrative seen through Fran and Kate’s eyes and the past through Jenna’s having disappeared after her holiday, hence the name, ‘Her Last Holiday’.
Fran is determined to find out what happened to her younger sister after disappearing from a spiritual retreat and is convinced that Tom Wade, the leader of SoulShrink, is behind it. Tom has just been released from prison after the 2 of other people who accidentally died on the same retreat but Tom has always maintained his innocence regarding Jenna. Now back in the open, his wife Kate is adamant that normal services resume and goes about creating a new retreat in the same resort. Fran is guilt ridden by elderly mother into joining the retreat and finally finding the truth.
The story flows back and forth between the narratives and different time periods really set the scene for the story. Fran and Jenna never had a close relationship due to their age gap and that really affected Jenna and her confidence which becomes very apparent whilst confiding in Tom, who she unexpectedly falls for. Fran is a brash character who’s quick to speak up and easily falls into character as she pretends to be someone else on the retreat but she finds it hard to hold her tongue, when revelations come to light and her questioning raises suspicions. Kate is a complex character who’s fuelled by money and control and won’t let anything stand in the way of her success, including her husband Tom, she’s ruthless but also occasionally admirable in her ballsiness.
This book is gripping for many reasons, the strong female leads all with complexities making for fascinating reading, their riddled with secrets and lies and within each chapter, a drama is revealed hooking the reader even further in. Their narratives are unreliable, leaving the reader unsure of who to believe and being set in a spiritual retreat where people come to cleanse themselves against the exotic backdrop of Gozo adds an element of mystery and luxury to the story.
Once again, Cally has outdid herself with her latest book, riddled with suspense, dominant characters and twists at every turn, ‘Her Last Holiday’ is a compulsive thriller that pulls the reader in to discover the truth.
You can buy ‘Her Last Holiday’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.