Friday, 16 September 2016

The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley

The Holiday Swap

The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley
Published: 2nd September 2016
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Pages: 392
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Two women, two very different lives – one perfect solution to escape festive heartbreak!
Tucked away in the idyllic English countryside, Daisy Fischer’s cosy little cottage has always been her safe haven. But when her completely dependable boyfriend issues her an ultimatum, Daisy realises there’s a whole world out there she’s missing out on.
Florence Cortes’s life couldn’t be better – gorgeous apartment right on the beach, fabulous job and dreamy boyfriend, or so she thought. Suddenly, Flo’s life isn’t so perfect after all.
When the girls house swap for the holidays, it’s not long before Daisy is being distracted by sun, sea and sexy Javier while Flo finds herself snowbound for Christmas with only handsome neighbour Hugo and a house full of animals to keep her company.
Love actually does seem to be all around this Christmas, but in the places Flo and Daisy least expect to find it…

After reading and adoring Zara Stoneley’s first novel Stable Mates I knew I just had to read The Holiday Swap straight away. With a plot similar to my very favourite movie I was sure it was going to be a winner for me and it was, it was utter perfection and one that needs adding to my paperback collection when it’s released.

Daisy Fischer has the ideal rural life settled with boyfriend Jimmy. He doesn’t get in the way of Daisy’s everyday life with her horse Barney, dog Mabel and her dog grooming business and that’s the way Daisy likes it. So when Jimmy wants to make their relationship more serious Daisy’s shocked as she was happy as she was and thought Jimmy was too. Deciding she needs time away to think about her future, Daisy heads off to Barcelona for a break with best friend Anna.

Florence Cortes has the dream life, she lives in beautiful Barcelona by the sea, has the ideal job writing for her own magazine and has the perfect boyfriend in Oli or so she thinks. When a dream trip to Paris doesn’t end quite the way Flo imagines she realises it’s time to take time out think about what she really wants out of life.

When Daisy and Flo realise that a weekend of fun just isn’t a long enough break they decide to swap lives for the last few weeks before Christmas. So Daisy stays in Barcelona and spends some time alone until she meets handsome Javier who just seems to keep popping up wherever she goes. Florence returns to Tippermere the place she grew up hoping to work out what she really wants. Having sworn off men until she returns home Flo begins to be distracted by Daisy’s next door neighbour Hugo, who is determined him and Flo are going to get better acquainted.

Can Daisy and Flo find what they are looking for before they go home and can they allow the unexpected romance that is brewing into their lives?

I loved both of the main characters Daisy and Flo. Despite being miles apart geographically these two I found were very similar, they’re both longing for that perfect man to come along and sweep them off their feet or horse in Daisy’s case. They both have dreams which initially they are reluctant to follow. Daisy to travel and see the world and Flo to write her novel. I loved reading how they both grew in confidence after their shattered relationships and became stronger and more determined to follow their dreams and was really pleased they both got some romance with some proper hunky men.

This is a novel set in two very contrasting places, we have the snowy, sleepy village of Tippermere in Cheshire England where everything seemed cosy and settled. Then we have the sun, sea, sand and excitement of the big city of Barcelona filled with new experiences on every corner. I loved both of these settings and thought the contrast worked perfectly making this the ideal summer read to accompany your sunbathing or the perfect winter read to cosy up by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate.

I love Zara Stoneley’s writing style, its fast paced giving enough details to set the scene perfectly but also to carry the story along. She has included some wonderful comical moments, many involving Flo falling over and some sizzling romance scenes. The Holiday Swap is a book about second chances, friendships and grabbing hold of your dreams. I simply adored this book and think it has made the ideal book to start my festive reading.

I’d like to thank the publishers Harper Impulse and Netgalley for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

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