When Sophie’s boyfriend Callum dumps her just before they’re due to go on a two week holiday, she tells her family and friends that she’ll go on vacation by herself, thus proving what a strong independent female she is. However, it turns out she doesn’t have the guts to go through with it, and Sophie holes herself up in her flat and does her best to hide out until she can work out how to win her ex back. Joined by her sister Clare, Sophie soon finds herself resorting to more and more elaborate measures to ensure her secret staycation isn’t uncovered.
Sophie was a very likeable heroine, and Chrissie does a wonderfully Kinsella-esque job of allowing her leading lady to get swept along by a situation she rapidly loses control of. I did get a little cross with Sophie at times when she didn’t stand up for herself and failed to appreciate just how badly Callum treated her, but only because I wanted her to be happy. My favourite character was actually Clare. My first impression was that she was very straight forward, but I loved discovering more about her and her problems, and she really made me laugh!
I really enjoyed the slow exposure of Callum’s true character. Naturally the reader knows from the very beginning of the book that Callum doesn’t treat Sophie very well, but it’s brilliantly hard to tell whether he’s really such a bad guy or just confused. It took me most of the book to make my mind up about him, which was almost as long as it took Sophie!
The majority of the story is set in Sophie’s London flat. I was worried this would become a little tedious, especially as there are essentially only two characters present, but I found it worked well. It contrasted nicely with the final section of the book, which takes place in Majorca so has quite a different, though equally entertaining, feel.
With this tale Chrissie Manby proves she’s at the absolute peak of her genre, I can think of very few authors who can create the same feel-good factor. Light yet involving and very, very funny, ‘What I Did On My Holidays’ is my absolute favourite Chrissie novel to date and exactly what I’m looking for in a summer read. The only possible criticism I could have is that it should have been longer so I could have had more fun with Sophie and her hilarious secret staycation.