Penguin | 2017 (1 June) | 391p | Review copy and bought copy | Buy the book
It took quite a while for Jemma to persuade her boyfriend that he should finally make a decision to commit to her – that they should tie the knot and begin a new life together, putting their past behind them. And now Jemma is in the Maldives, staying in a beautiful luxurious resort, with the sea just a few steps away, on the dream honeymoon that she has planned for years. If only the man she married just a week ago hadn’t vanished off the face of the earth a few days into their holiday, leaving her to walk alone the beaches and island trails for hour upon hour searching for him. The police are now involved and it seems like the whole island is looking for him, while, back at home, the media has already caught the scent of a story too good to miss – the honeymoon paradise that has become a hell.
And that is as much as you’re going to hear from me about the plot because The Honeymoon is one of those psychological thrillers that relies on you not knowing what to expect next to make you keep turning those pages. They certainly fly through the fingers. The Honeymoon is a very fast read. I just had to know what happened to Jemma’s husband. But what also pulled me in is its dream holiday setting. There is such a holiday mood to this novel, with its beaches, pools, swimming, bars as well as the rich and beautiful who flock to these islands for their honeymoons – possibly more than once. This luxury contrasts very well with the misery of Jemma’s situation which casts such a pall over the resort.
The novel moves between the present and the past, with a mix of present and past tense, first and third person narratives. While I did find this rather clunkily done at times, it definitely powers the mystery on as well as letting us find out more about Jemma – from her own point of view or from the perspective of others. I never warmed to her. She thrives in her role of Unreliable Narrator. I felt conditioned not to believe a word she says. And, as the story developed, she increasingly irritated me. Having said that, I didn’t like many of the other characters in this book either, although there were a couple I’d liked to have seen more of.
The Honeymoon is a book proud of its twists and one or two did catch me out, even though I was on heightened twist awareness alert. But they didn’t make me go WOW so much as groan. Overall, though, I think that The Honeymoon is a fast, light, rather pretty and, ultimately, daft psychological thriller that would do very well indeed for a quick beach read. It would certainly be an appropriate place in which to read it, just be sure to keep one eye on your holiday companion.