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The neon letters dancing across the cashpoint couldn’t have looked more complacent if they’d been flicking V-signs and pulling moonies.
Andi Evans is shocked; she’s the sort of woman who’s always in credit and it’s payday, so how come she’s more than two thousand pounds overdrawn? But that’s just the beginning of her horrific afternoon: she returns to work to discover that Alan Eades, office creep and slacker has taken the credit for the work she’s done getting the company Safe T Net ready to go public and she’s been sacked, then she arrives home to find her lazy, nasty actor boyfriend Tom shagging the downstairs neighbour after buying himself an Audi with Andi’s earnings.
Andi’s not the only one having a bad day though. Her sister, Angel, is on her final warning at the Knightsbridge Salon where she works as a beautician. She has one thing to do on this particular afternoon and that’s give Mrs Yuri, a Russian oligarch’s wife, a facial without mentioning the huge mole she has on her chin. The problem is Andi and Angel’s mum died of skin cancer and the mole looks an awful lot like their mum’s did when it was cancerous and Angel feels obliged to mention it. Before the appointment’s over, Angel’s been served her P45.
And then there’s Gemma, Angel’s housemate. Gemma’s an aspiring actress on a modelling job:
“You told me she was a size fourteen! I specifically requested a girl who was a size fourteen for this job! Not one who’s a sixteen on a good day, breathing in and wearing granny pants!”
Gemma’s only taken the job because Angel spends the rent money (and anything she’s managed to borrow from Andi) on designer handbags. By the end of the shoot, Gemma’s self-esteem’s on the floor and she’s dreaming of the buns she loves to bake. However, while the other – skinny – girls on the shoot have been aiming digs in her direction, they’ve told her about ex-premiership footballer Callum South’s latest reality TV show, in which he attempts to shed the pounds he’s gained since his career was cut short. It’s filming in Rock, the Monaco of the U.K. on the south west coast, and Gemma knows someone who owns a caravan they can borrow.
The three women set off for a summer of sun and chasing their dreams: Andi wants a break from London and Tom and to try and clear her debts; Angel’s after a millionaire to fund her designer lifestyle, and Gemma wants to lose the pounds and make it as an actress. Of course, it’s not going to be that simple but along the way they’re going to learn an awful lot about being true to themselves.
Escape for the Summer is a fabulous piece of escapism. I loved all the characters – even the vile ones; I loved the glamour of Rock and the lifestyles of the people there – some outrageously moneyed, others surprisingly simple; I loved the twists and turns of the plot, Saberton does a wonderful job of absorbing you into the world these characters are inhabiting and making you feel as though you’re in Rock, living alongside them. It didn’t matter that I’d worked out some of the twists because the journey to get to those points was so well done, I didn’t feel cheated, I felt like this was a damn good read!
Saberton juggles the stories of the three women by alternating between three first person viewpoints. This takes real skill and what could’ve become bloated instead drives the plot forward, keeping several strands going and making you want to get back to each thread to discover the next part of that character’s story. The ensemble cast and the wealthy setting put me very much in mind of Jilly Cooper’s classic novels (although Saberton allows for fewer details in her sex scenes!) and I’m desperate for more books about ‘the Rock chicks’ to see how their story progresses. Highly recommended for your holiday reading pile (and it’s only £1.99 on Kindle at the time of writing).
Thanks to Ruth Saberton for the review copy.