Sunday, May 9, 2021

Her Last Holiday by C.L. Taylor

Title: Her Last Holiday
Author: C.L. Taylor
Publication: Avon, trade paperback, 2021
Genre: Suspense
Description: You go on a retreat to be healed. You don’t expect to die. But two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in the Mediterranean 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 never revealed what happened to the third victim: Jenna.

Jenna’s family has not recovered from her death, particularly the older sister who was too busy to talk to her right before she left for Malta. When Fran’s mother bullies her onto attending Tom Wade’s first post-prison upcoming retreat, Fran finds herself face to face with the man who must 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?

My Impression: The trope of a sister disappearing and her worried relative investigating the disappearance, either in plain sight or somewhat disguised as here, is a popular one. I’m thinking of the romantic suspense I grew up on: Thunder on the Right by everyone’s favorite Mary Stewart (here, the missing woman is a cousin), The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt, and Call in the Night by Susan Howatch (this one startled me because the heroine was an American called Clare Sullivan and I had a friend with that name). That was before Susan Howatch became obsessed with her Anglican church series, which was fascinating but odd.  

Her Last Holiday is told in alternating sections from Jenna’s point of view in the past and her sister Fran, masquerading under their mother’s name Geraldine, in the present. Although the chapters were clearly labeled Then and Now, I found it somewhat jarring to go back and forth, and I found the whole setup unconvincing although I persevered to the end.  Overall, this was a disappointing read; there were a few good twists at the end but nothing that made up for an implausible plot and unlikable characters.
This is my eleventh book for the Cloak and Dagger Challenge.

Links: * Barnes & Noble * IndieBound * Amazon * Book Depository
Source: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and TLC Book Tours for review purposes. Please visit other stops on the tour to read other reviews:


Lark said...

Sorry this one ended up being so disappointing. But then I don't like books with unlikable characters and implausible plot lines either.

TracyK said...

I would not enjoy reading a story where someone puts themselves in jeopardy to try to find out something about the fate of a relative. But I am sure that there are many readers who would like it.

CLM said...

I would not want a family member to put herself in danger to discover my fate but I suspect I would want her to investigate if the police were indifferent - and probably one doesn't *expect* to be in danger in most situations. It's crossing the line that puts one at risk (using a false name or sleuthing alone or leaving incriminating items in one's room or forgetting to answer to a false name) or getting too close to a murderer!

Sara Strand said...

Bummer this wasn't a hit for you, thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours