With the very hot weather we had been experiencing recently this novel with its bright cover and its warm sounding title jumped out as the next to be read. Time for reading has been in short supply recently, but when I did finally get around to pick it up it was the perfect read to wile away a hot sunny lazy afternoon.
I first discovered this author via the publishing house Transita, sadly no longer in existence, whose by-line was contemporary women's fiction for the more discerning woman and definitely not chick lit. Although I have enjoyed all her novels the last title she published 'Paris Imperfect' I was a little disappointed with compared to the previous two.
However I felt that 'Tropical Connections' was so much better, a return to the style I had previously appreciated. Susie has a talent for writing a story, with as I have mentioned elsewhere before now, all the elements of a traditional romantic novel but written to appeal to the modern independent woman. Her characters are always very realistic personalities and having read more about her background, it is clear that she draws on her own fascinating life experiences.
In this story the protagonist is Claire Downing an art historian who to escape a failed relationship accepts a job cataloguing a businessman's collection of Buddhist Art on a tropical island in the South China Seas. It is no coincidence that she has been drawn to accepting the post in Maising due to the fact that a friend Howard Gillespie is a banker on the island and he just happens to love her! Things are not that simple though as Claire finds herself drawn to another expat she meets, the handsome and elusive Australian Drew, currently working on the island as an agricultural aid advisor. The two females she also befriends have their own problems Deborah, a young American mother with a ghastly husband, takes a young lover. Then there is Lucy the young bride of a much older highly ranked British Embassy official, struggling to cope with what is expected of her in her new role. The three girls become friends and this story of their loves and problems adjusting to an expatriate lifestyle also leads them into mystery and danger as they become involved with things they may well have been better off leaving alone. All because Claire is drawn into the intrigue surrounding the man she is working for.
Of course it is this intrigue that makes this novel into a page turner for the reader, although sometimes I was a little annoyed by some of the characters decisions. I think this was because they seemed like real people and I wanted to warn them. To sum up then this is worth reading at any time but perfect for holiday reading and in its genre a five star read.
I am going to send this book out travelling via Bookcrossing - Tropical Connections. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to join in with this Bookring.
Links below to my Bookcrossing reviews for Susie Vereker's earlier novels, about which more information can also be found on Amazon
Photo courtesy of Susie Vereker's website.
To learn more about Susie Vereker visit these links. In particular her own website which is well worth reading.