Sunday, 6 April 2014

Review: The Time of Our Lives - Jane Costello

Imogen and her friends have had their fill of budget holidays, cattle-class flights and 6 a.m. offensives for a space by the pool.So when one of the group wins a VIP holiday at Barcelona's hippest new hotel, they plan to sip champagne with the jet set, party with the glitterati and switch off in surroundings of unapologetic luxury.But as they mingle with movie stars, mafia bosses and millionaires, it becomes clear - with riotous consequences - that even in the most glamorous of locations, things can go wrong. Very wrong . . .

I was actually lucky enough to win an e-book copy of The Time of Our Lives over on twitter and giddy with the high of actually winning something (I think the last thing I won was a swimming contest at age seven) I sat down to read Jane Costello's latest after a horrible week of deadline hell.

Costello is a hugely successful author and is probably well known by most of you, and yet this is the first of her books that I've read so I didn't really know what to expect. What I got was chick-lit (how I hate that term) at is finest. Costello's novel is about love, loss and, most of all, friendship. Imogen, Meredith and Nicola are starting to reach that time in their lives when responsibilities have started to take over so the girls embark on one last hurrah, courtesy of Meredith's 5 star luxury break prize to sunny Barcelona. Throw in a PR nightmare, a gorgeous journalist, meddling family members and an unpredictable pregnancy and things don't quite go as planned. 

The novel is told completely from Imogen's point of view, something that I wasn't aware I'd really missed until I got stuck into the novel and began to really connect with her. Imogen loves her job, and her job loves her. so much so that when the biggest PR disaster to hit the firm occurs whilst she's off attempting to enjoy herself she can't actually be kept from attempting some damage control. With a holiday that soon turns into one disaster after the next, Imogen's determination, humour and, dare I say, good ol' British pluck really keep you hooked. Her batty family and brilliant friends provide plenty of laughs whilst the slow revelations of her past make your heart ache. Costello's novel is something that I don't think I'd normally go for but the lighthearted and playful approach that she takes to her characters and the situations that she manages to create (that you can so clearly see yourself getting tangled in) really made this one of the best escapist reads I've read in a while.

The Time of Our Lives is full of mishaps, misunderstandings and several brilliant one liners. Occasionally veering towards the slap-stick but executed with aplomb, Imogen and her escapades are sure to put a smile on your face and The Time of Our Lives would make for perfect summer reading when you just want to relax, melt into someone else's world and have a good chuckle to yourself.  

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