Friday, 13 April 2012

Working from home book review: Package deal by Tasha Harrison

This is a vivacious book that is fun, sunny and compelling. It follows a group of Brits abroad in Kefalonia taking in their stereotypical behaviour and turning it into an adventurous romp. It brings together the fun of Carry On films without the cheesy jokes or the sexist behaviour (well, apart from a few characters) and a huge helping of soap opera.

However, as with all the best ‘light-hearted’ reading this is more complex than it appears. Harrison has 12 main characters, all with excess baggage and a life-changing journey to complete in two weeks. She handles this well and drip feeds the information as we need it without it becoming frustrating.

My only criticism is that the characters socialise with each other sooner than you would expect; especially for Brits, but this interaction fuels the plot and is easily forgivable.

The plot centers around Mia who has come to Kefalonia on a secret mission. In her quiet holiday complex she is put in close proximity to a young couple who just want sun, sea and lots of sex; two middle aged friends who are celebrating their divorces; two single lads who thought they were coming to a party resort; a gay yoga teacher on a pledge of sexual abstinence; a couple celebrating their 40th anniversary; a jilted lover attending his honeymoon by himself and the gorgeous, buff caretaker who desperately wants to escape the island.

These are characters you believe in and root for even though many of them start out as stereotypes. It is a brave transition but Harrison pulls it off partly through the interesting back stories but also in the way she understands her characters.

Summer holiday reading doesn’t get much better than this as you will find yourself snooping on your fellow holiday makers to sniff out scandals. If you find yourself reading this on a dull, grey day in Blighty you might find yourself researching a few holiday deals (while praying that you will not be mixing with a group quite like this).

Package deal by Tasha Harrison is available on Amazon here.

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