Wednesday 16 February 2022


Book review: The Staycation by Cressida McLaughlin [blog tour]

Who would've thought just a few years ago that 'staycation' would become such a normal part of our everyday vocabulary? With lockdowns, continuously changing travel restrictions, and uncertainties, it's been a lifeline for many to still get that holiday feeling amidst all the pandemic craziness. Personally, I love a staycation – always have. I'm usually super busy with work and life, so getting to relish some downtime in my own space, is something I treasure a lot. But what if the 'staycation' is a forced one in a hotel overseas, because you're recovering from an accident? Or what if it's the only way to go on holiday because you're afraid of travelling? That's the premise of this new romantic comedy by Cressida McLaughlin

Hester Monday is a travel agent with a secret. Even though she is amazing at describing and selling stunning getaways to faraway countries – from beach holidays in the most epic locations to thrilling city breaks – she's actually not been to most of these places herself. Because while her boss really wants Hester to meet their contacts overseas and experience all these wonderful destinations for herself, Hester has a fear of flying. She hasn't left the country since she was 11-years-old, but her boss and clients do not know that.

Despite this slight setback, Hester is the very best at her job. So when the company needs someone to book a holiday for a friend-of-a-friend, Hester is sent to seal the deal. But Jake, who's stuck in a hotel room in London recovering from a car accident, doesn't want to book a holiday to have something to look forward to. He's grumpy, rude, and just wants to get on the first flight back to his home in New York. However, he hadn't accounted for Hester's magic touch to selling holidays. 

Her detailed descriptions and clear passion for travel, transport him to a faraway destination – and makes him forget about his own misery, for a little while at least. So they strike a deal. While he's stuck in his hotel room, she'll come visit to talk to magically take him away to some of the best places she's ever been to. But as Hester hasn't actually been to any of the foreign location she talks to Jake about, it's only a matter of time before her secret finally comes out...

The premise of this novel is so unique, I absolutely loved it. Sure, these days most of us have been 'forced' to have staycations, but I imagine very few of us still imagined during those breaks that we were far away somewhere, exploring a new city, sampling the local cuisine, and immersing ourselves in the culture of a new place. It's a very fun idea, and author Cressida McLaughlin has done an incredible job transporting the reader with the magic of her words on the pages. 

And of course the characters were wonderful. I mean, firstly, how can you not be a delight with a name like 'Hester Monday'? And I was swooning over Jake as soon as Hester first laid eyes on him. There was one thing, though, that did annoy me about Hester. Sure, she had a fear of flying, but she dismissed travel all-together when she has so much to explore on her own doorstep in the U.K.; mainland Europe is just a short drive, train, or boat ride away; and even further afield, such as the U.S., is doable by boat. 

Her fear of flying should not have equated to such a blocker for her love of travel, nor did it need to be an issue at work, if she'd asked for alternative travel options. They're better for the environment than flying too! Having said that, I'm sure there was was more severe trauma associated with what happened to her when she was a child that caused a general fear of travel. But this wasn't addressed, and so at times this made Hester come across as tiresome, which was a shame as she was such a delightful character otherwise. 

Transportation options aside, I did really enjoy The Staycation. So much so, in fact, that I read it all in one night, relishing being taken on an adventure to some new-to-me destinations, and one of my ultimate favs: Edinburgh. The scenes taking place in Scotland were particularly fun to read. If you know, you know...

Books can be staycations too. And this one, with its lush descriptions of scrumptious food in Italy, a luxury getaway in Thailand, and many more exiting foreign destinations is the perfect example of that. 

The Staycation by Cressida McLaughlin is published by HarperCollins Publishers and you can purchase your copy now from your favourite book shop.

Blog tour stops for 'The Staycation' by Cressida McLaughlin

This review for 'The Staycation' is a part of the official blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure you check out the other stops!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me by the publisher, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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