Monday, 28 January 2013

Island awakening: book review

Island Awakening by Lynne Martin

It's been a very long time since I read any romantic fiction, but I was led to read this particular novel because I found out it that it is set on Réunion and this piqued my curiosity.

The story: Marina Welsh thought a new job on a paradisiacal island  was the best medicine for a broken heart, but her new boss Richard Boyer made her life difficult ... I'll let you guess how the story ends.

front cover

Most of the story takes place on Réunion, but the island is only a background to the main story, and despite the enticing cover photos the volcano only gets a brief mention! Other local scenery gets a good mention though. The author has obviously visited Réunion, but gets some of the place names wrong (Villiere instead of Villèle, Trou des Roches instead of Tour des Roches, etc).

The story holds all the typical clichéd ingredients of romantic fiction and true to the genre you need to suspend your sense of reality; this is especially the case concerning the language issue: Marina only asks what languages are spoken on Réunion when she's already on the plane, and the fact that her French is 'rusty' is not an issue in the novel - everybody she meets speaks perfect, colloquial English and communication is never a problem. Anybody who's ever been to the island will tell you that a lack of French is often problematic!

Two final nitpicks: the main character is British but the book is written in American English, which I occasionally found jarring; and the proofreading could have been better - there were several errors that should have been corrected before publication.

back cover, 'Island Awakening'

All in all, a quickly-read piece of escapism for those who like romantic fiction, in which Réunion plays the role of an interesting but  rather pale backdrop.

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