Welcome to another Vacation Reads Challenge post! This time I will be taking you on a Caribbean cruise with a stop in Ireland and Spain with the novel The Perfect Man by Shelia O'Flanagan.
Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
From a bestselling author comes a captivating novel about family ties, romance and leaving the past behind Two very different sisters, Mia (still in love with Alejo, the married father of her daughter) and Britt (the ice maiden author of a romantic bestseller), join a luxury honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean where Britt is the guest lecturer. Also on board are recently widowed Leo, still reeling from the discovery of his wife's betrayal just before her death, and Steve, a ship's officer who's soon looking for more than a holiday romance with Mia. Can Steve replace Alejo and is there any chance that Britt and Leo can see that they really should get together? When the characters head for home -- Mia to Spain, the others to Dublin -- it seems that all romantic options are off. But love has a way of triumphing in Sheila O'Flanagan's novels, even if it takes till the very last page...
I've read another of O'Flanagan's novels before (Bad Behaviour) and liked it so I was looking forward to this one. It didn't disappoint! It was such a fun read. It's a fairly long book and the great thing about it is that the story doesn't get dull or stuck. There was always movement with the plot and development with the characters. It was an enjoyable read all around.
What I found quite interesting about the characters Mia and Britt was that they were sisters yet weren't all that close. They had a deeper and more intimate relationship than two friends would have because they grew up together. This trip gave them the chance to learn about each other all over again. They were comfortable with being themselves around each other but there were deeper personality traits that the other did not understand. For example, Mia is still in love with Alejo which Britt finds baffling. As for Britt, she is a bestselling author but hates the life that comes with it. Mia can see that Britt is fantastic with the publicity even if Britt can't see it herself. They learn from each other and I really enjoyed that.
Like any great chick lit novel, the romance in The Perfect Man was present but wasn't in your face. You could figure out from the beginning which man should be with each sister but O'Flanagan does a great job of putting little twists and turns in the story and characters' personalities that make you wonder if you really did figure it out. The area of romantic relationships was one of the areas that I had issue with...both Mia and Britt tended to be quite hard on themselves when it came to relationships and I wanted to shake them both because they had so many great qualities! Luckily, they both came to their senses and realized that any man would be lucky to have them.
The reason I chose this as a read for the vacation challenge is because my own sister and I have been toying with the idea of going on a cruise ourselves. She's trying to decide if she wants to work on a cruise ship but wants to actually GO on a cruise before committing herself to working on one. Of course, we'd love to go somewhere hot like the sisters in The Perfect Man did (we live in Canada...we need to escape the winter!) but I'd really like to avoid a "structured" cruise. I want to be able to do what I want, when I want, where I want - not sit down to some stuffy dinner :)
Overall, I had fun reading this book. It was easy to put myself on the cruise and feel the roller coaster of emotions the characters go through. I would definitely recommend it to chick lit lovers! I'll also be checking out more of Shelia O'Flanagan's novels in the future.
Happy Reading :)