Author: JC Miller
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Release Date: August 29th, 2014
Length: 254 pages | 7 hours 28 minutes
Source: Received from Curt Simmons in exchange for an honest review
Dr. William Koval, a pragmatist with little faith in humanity, prefers to dwell in the eerily comforting microscopic realm, where he is master of his domain. But his worldview is upended when he decides to go on the English walking tour his wife had been planning before her murder three years earlier. Only when William confronts his past, including his troubled marriage, will he find a way to rejoin the living, to move forward, and perhaps love again. The real journey, he discovers, lies within.
I heard about Vacation because it was narrated by awesome local audiobook narrator Curt Simmons, who you may remember from my interview with him and his narration of Omari and the People. I was instantly intrigued because it takes place in part in Seattle, and in part in England (where I’m headed for my honeymoon in 4 weeks).
Vacation is a contemporary fiction- it struck me as having a lot of the same motifs attributed to women’s fiction, but the main character is male…so I don’t know what category that puts it in. There is romance, although it’s more bittersweet than swoony. The MC, William, is a complex and complicated man- a good man at heart, but definitely dealing with his own issues after his wife’s murder. When he finally lets himself be surprised by life, and give up his death grip on control, amazing and bizarre things happen. But the story doesn’t end there- this isn’t a morality tale about letting life surprise you. Nope, it continues into the messy, complicated things that happen between two damaged people.
I liked the fact that the story wasn’t about the romance. It was about facing fears and allowing yourself to be loved, which is something a lot of people struggle with. And although I was frustrated a lot with the love interest’s hot/cold tendencies, it made her a more realistic character. I didn’t fully connect with any of the characters in this novel, but it may be the most true-to-life contemporary I’ve ever read.
I recommend it to fans of women’s fiction and general contemporary fiction dealing with loss, love, moving on, and knowing yourself. And, of course, I recommend the audiobook, which Curt narrates beautifully.