In brief: Georgia thought she had it all, until her fiance jilts her and she loses her job. Maybe it’s time to travel…but Thailand is full of one calamity after another. Will it make or break Georgia?
The good: Funny and uplifting.
The not-so-good: Georgia made some super dumb decisions at times.
Why I chose it: Heard good things about it on the internet.
Publisher: Mills & Boon (Harlequin)
Setting: Manchester, Turkey and Thailand
My rating: 7.5 out of 10
I was looking for something light and funny to read and my internet trawling suggested that this book would fit the bill. After all, who doesn’t enjoy books that travel to exotic, warm locales in the middle of winter? I’d also heard that this book had been compared to Bridget Jones and I adore Bridget, so I thought dropping $10 on the paperback was worth it. Note that I wouldn’t classify this as a romance novel, so don’t jump to any assumptions just because it’s published by Mills & Boon in Australia. Destination: Thailand is the first in The Lonely Hearts Travel Club series and it’s more of a regaining your confidence/finding your feet book (although I suspect that there will be romance in later stories).
The book follows Georgia, who was dumped almost at the altar by her fiancé. He’s found another woman and she’s pregnant. Georgia’s bestie Marie jets her off to Turkey to get her mind off things where Georgia begins to list the things she hasn’t done, which is travel extensively. When she returns home to Manchester, Georgia loses her job in a quite unbelievable way (I reckon the unions wouldn’t have been impressed by that one) so the fates align for her to take some time off. She meets Tricia in a travel agency, who books her a tour, but ends with a mysterious suggestion to go to the Blue Butterfly on a small island if things get too much. It doesn’t take too long for things in vein to start happening.
First of all, the tour is a mess with barely liveable conditions, bitchy roommates and drunken times. Then Georgia meets Dillon who looks to her that he might be more than just a holiday fling (to everyone else, he looks like trouble). Can she make it to the Blue Butterfly to heal herself? What will happen when reality bites?
I’ve heard that Georgia is based on experiences Katy has had herself, but I can’t comment as I haven’t read her blog. (I will be after I’ve finished this review though as I like Katy’s open, nothing off limits style of writing). I liked the idea of going off to find yourself post heartache but at times Georgia is a total dill. I’m surprised she didn’t have her passport stolen because at times she made some idiotic decisions. She was too trusting at times (hello Dillon and his conniving ways) and a bit of a doormat when it came to the passive aggressive taunts of one of her roommates. She also did the whole ‘got so drunk, did things I can’t remember/believe’ routine. I’m pleased to say that she did grow as a character throughout the book, so hold tight while she makes those mistakes. We don’t learn too much of her pre-travel days, so perhaps she was just really sheltered and restrained. I didn’t find Georgia annoying though as she’s upfront about her mistakes and the ending of the book is pretty hopeful. I think it helps that Georgia doesn’t ruminate on her errors or the things that happen to her – it’s done, finished and time to move on. She’s not Bridget, but she’s able to hold her own.
The style of writing is open and pretty funny at times. Some of the events could be considered clichéd, but Katy Colins makes them sound unique and integral to the story. It’s easy to continue reading – you won’t be tempted to put the book down. The supporting characters are also done really well – fleshed out and individual from the ultra-fun Marie (if she had a series, I’d read it) to the slimy tour leader Kit. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the Lonely Hearts Travel Club girls, who I’m sure have some trips up their sleeve and Stevie, Tricia’s godson. I’ve already bought the next book in the series (Destination: India) to see what happens to Georgia next as she’s reinventing her life and enjoy an armchair ride through the country!