The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis
Publishing Date: 1st June 2017
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 416
Genre: Mystery & Thriller,, Literature/Fiction (Adult)
There’s trouble in paradise. . .
For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy. It should be paradise, but it’s turned into a nightmare.
Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?
Tina Seskis is a new author to me, although I’ve of course heard about her novels before – however, The Honeymoon is my first read by this author. And judging by the feelings it caused in me, I’ll sooner rather than later treat myself to Ms Seskis’s whole backlist, as this book was truly something different, something refreshing and unexpected.
This review may come as raw and not well organized but it is because I live in fear that I’m going to let something slip and spoil the reading for you, and this I would never forgive myself. It isn’t easy to tell you then why this book was so special and so please, just do trust me when I say that this novel is going to entice you and will probably put you off planning a holidays to the Maldives. Joking. Nothing will put me off. Or, maybe…?
In The Honeymoon we follow Jemma, freshly married and on her honeymoon in Maldives. Sadly, the holidays doesn’t turn out to be such relaxing and full of love as you could expect – Jemma’s husband has gone missing. We are then introduced to other characters, Jamie and Dan and get to know that Jemma has past with both of them. The story is told mostly from Jemma’s point of view, and we quickly start to doubt in her, she’s a truly unreliable narrator and she knows how to mess with our minds. It’s only much later that the other characters’ points of view are being used – however, I think they don’t explain much. Jemma’s story is told jumping between the past and the present and we get a chance to learn about her life, her background, her history and what happened in the lead – up to the honeymoon. Jemma was not the most likeable person, to be honest. She seemed really not to know what it is she wants from her life, she behaved as if everything and everyone should dance to her tune. She was frustrating, and I really couldn’t warm to her. She was spoilt and behaved like the worst sort of princess and truly, those feelings of dislike made you feel uncertain and you start to wonder what really happened, IF something really happened, and if it’s truth that Jemma doesn’t remember the night that her husband disappeared. Does she have anything to hide? Or the other characters are the ones that hide something? Because all the other characters felt also so very untrustworthy, guys, to be honest, but it only made the reading even more exciting and suspicious. But altogether, the author has brilliantly described her characters.
There is not any of this overwhelming tension in this novel but you still have a feeling that any time something can happen but you have no idea what – and I had many assumptions but, of course, I was far, far away from the truth. You know, you can often see books being advertised having incredible twist but you can see this twists coming almost immediately. This time, however, this twist was unexpected, unforeseen, and so shocking that I really didn’t know what to do with it. I loved what the author has done when writing about Jemma’s husband missing. I can bet anything that you’ve also assumed who her husband is – in fact, I skim – read the first part of the book once more, just to make sure that I haven’t missed anything – it was so brilliantly done!
The only thing that bothered me a little was the fact that the book was relatively slow, there was not a lot happening and just too often it felt a little bit to repetitive. Yes, I do understand that for this kind of a story the pace was actually right but it was the repetitiveness that slowed it down even more.
The descriptions of the little Maldivian island were so incredibly vivid, so easily brought to life and it was so easy to imagine the heat of the place, to feel the hot sun on your skin. However, even though it was a real paradise, there was a claustrophobic feeling to it – maybe because it was so isolated? Or maybe because Jemma felt this way?
It is slow burning and the author brilliantly builds the tension, right from the very first page and she keeps us guessing to the very end – it doesn’t happen often and the more I enjoyed the book. It sucks you in and you can’t help but start thinking why did Jemma’s husband disappeared – and there were plenty of possible scenarios, and it was brilliant to discover them and be kept in uncertainty.
The whole story is split into four parts, with the chapters jumping between past and present. It is full of surprises, red – herrings and dead – ends. Addictive and haunting, a novel about regrets, secrets, mistakes and misunderstanding. As usually, I had my own suspicions, but they changed so often and of course I was wrong. Yes, I guessed who but only when it was revealed to us, so this and the circumstances were like a bolt out of the blue and it made my stomach somersault – and I am sure it’s going to stay with me for a long, long time to come.
So this book, guys. Seriously. It had me hooked and it had me race through the pages because I desperately wanted to know what’s going on and what’s going to happen. This claustrophobic feeling was overwhelming, because just imagine – one small island and SOMETHING has happened there, right? I mean, Jemma’s husband must be somewhere, no? Then the end. So controversial and to be honest I am still not sure what to think about it, but it MADE me think, and wonder, and consider. I can bet anything that nobody will work this end out. I am not sure if there were any clues leading to this end, to be honest, or if the author so masterfully has pulled wool over my eyes. It was so clever and so tricky. A story about obsession and revenge, resentment and jealousy, about messy relationships and family dynamics. The author has created a great psychological thriller that kept me on my tenterhooks till the end. Shocking and thought provoking – recommended from me!