The Perfect Holiday - T.J. Emerson

Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley

Official Blurb:

Olivia and Julian are enjoying lazy days in their Spanish villa, a well deserved break from their busy lives. Especially for Julian, who after a lifetime as a carer was thrust into the public eye following the tragic murder of his first wife.
The languid heat and peace of the villa is broken only by clifftop walks, sun drenched lunches and cooling swims. Until a chance encounter with Gabriel - an attractive man, many years their junior - changes everything.
Soon their idyllic break turns into a dangerous, high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse. Will any of them get out alive?

My Thoughts:

I’m a bit torn about how I feel about this book. On the one hand, I was gripped and enjoyed the story. I’ve even been thinking about it since I finished, which is always a good sign. On the other hand, the ending was terrible and wasn’t worth reading this book for.
A lot of the other reviewers have said they found the story too slow going, and I agree with this to a certain extent. There was a lot of repetition with the day to day of Olivia and Julian’s holiday. They kept visiting the same places and lying by the pool a lot. This didn’t help the story move at a swift pace. However, I did pick up an undertone of malice and intrigue going on. I couldn’t quite figure out what Gabriel’s motive, plan or direction in the story would be. This is what helped me get through the book; it kept me moving through it and wanting to pick it up again to find out how the story would be brought together.
Julian as a character was very morose, and it was hard to root for him or want the best for him. I know he’d had a bad life, but this gave him an air of entitlement. Olivia was very astute; she was picking up everything small thing that was said, so it was made quite evident that nothing was getting past her.
I was expecting to be shocked and appalled at the end as this is what it seemed to be leading to. I was neither. I was just disappointed, and I needed more from this story to have made it worthwhile. The ‘big twist’ was a little too obvious, and the fate of the characters just seemed pointless after I’d invested so much time in their lives. I needed more on the Gabriel side of things as well; an epilogue from his perspective would have worked well. As it stands, the epilogue from Olivia’s point of view was just dull.
For me, the best part about the book was the ‘before’ section when Julian meets Gabriel. Some of the reviewers felt the sex scenes were too full on. I didn’t find this at all, and I think I can be a bit of a prude when it comes to these types of things. However, I found it to be relatively tame. So, overall, I do feel like I wasted my time reading this, but I did enjoy the majority of it whilst reading. So, a tough one to score, I think I will settle on a middle ground of three stars. I don’t think I will be rushing to read anything else by this author anytime soon. It just wasn’t innovative enough for my liking.

The Perfect Holiday
by T.J. Emerson
Date Started
9th March 2022
Date Finished
12th March 2022