I would not advise reading this book in the winter, as not only does Spires describe Antigua beautifully but she especially emphasises the scorching tropical weather! I quickly became very envious of the bikini clad women who were complaining that it was too hot to do anything but sunbathe by the pool.
Although I’ll admit to finding a sweet revenge when they were hit by a dramatic rain storm, unfortunately this smug feeling was short-lived as most of the characters used the opportunity to ‘comfort’ each other in the bedrooms…or the offices…
Elaine Spires‘ second novel is Single’s Holiday, set on her beloved Antigua… the Caribbean at its most luscious, its most beautiful… silver sand, cobalt sky, warm, turquoise sea… and a bunch of complete strangers who only have one thing in common: they’re single! Some are looking for romance and some for something more… but they’ve all chosen to spend their holiday with people they have never met before. And pretty soon some become great friends, some enemies and some lovers, but it is perhaps their tour leader Eve who has the biggest shock of all.
Glorious days on the beach, boozy, balmy nights and a pending tropical storm combine in a story to make you laugh and cry with just the right number of twists to keep you turning the pages as you get to know all the members of the group as they, in turn, get to know each other.
Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine spends her time between her homes in Westcliff-on-Sea and Five Islands, Antigua (W.I.).
Thanks to the Spire’s quirky style of writing I quickly became enamoured with her characters, as their individual journalistic accounts of the ten days showcased their different personalities whilst telling the story from their very different viewpoints. There are 19 main characters; eighteen guests and one tour guide – Eve. Throughout the book we discover more about their past lives, learn why they are on the holiday and notice how they interact with each other. The book also teaches a lesson in first impressions; cleverly capturing each guests initial impressions of each other, based on the first meeting at the airport, before showing how the opinion’s and understanding of each character slowly develop and alter by the last night of the holiday.
The book is full of twists and turns, secrets and surprises all revealed during the holiday. When reading it I began to imagine the story as a tv drama, with a new episode for every day of the holiday. Therefore I was not surprised to discover upon finishing the book that a pilot episode for a TV series of Singles’ Holiday will be filmed this summer, and I also learnt that Singles’ Holiday has been adapted as a stage play and it will be touring in autumn!
If you like the sound of this book, it is available in hardback or via kindle download. Spires’ also has another book launching this year which follows Eve’s adventures with a new holiday group, including some of the same characters, this time set in India:
Singles and Spice (available on Kindle on March 14th, paperback early April)
A singles’ holiday to India’s Golden Triangle – Taj Mahal, the pink city of Jaipur, tiger-spotting in Ranthambore, the noisy, crowded streets of Delhi – all go to make up a trip that is hot, humid and spicy. Eve Mitchell, Travel Together’s tour manager extraordinaire has a couple of familiar faces in her little group of travellers and others that she hasn’t met before; sexy man-eating pensioners, a compulsive over-eater, a constant whiner, a cross-dresser, and a man with a personal problem.
And there’s a big surprise awaiting someone -and Eve – early one morning. By the end of the tour, which sees our group travelling by coach, rickshaw, train and elephant, she will know rather more about some of their innermost secrets than she’d like. But Eve deals with all the twists and turns the trip throws at her as we try to understand what makes people travel the world with a bunch of complete strangers and tourism’s latest success: the phenomenon that is a singles’ holiday.
How do these books sound to you, would you like to read them? Please comment below x