Opening Line: “My mother’s funeral was a small affair on a hot Tuesday."
Emma Tupper never imagined herself going to Africa that was always her mother’s dream. All she’s ever wanted was to be a lawyer and through eighty hour work weeks to make partner at the firm. So when her mother falls ill and dies, leaving Emma a ticket to the (made up) country of Tswanaland, it might be grief forcing her decisions or an anguished sense of wanting to connect with her mother but Emma suddenly finds herself taking (an unheard of) month off work and boarding a flight to Africa.
Six months later… We join Emma on a dirt road attempting to get home; it seems her 30 day safari hasn’t gone exactly according to plan. Falling ill early on the tour Emma was left in a remote village to recover only to get stranded by a massive earthquake. Completely cut off to the outside world and any form of communication, her ordeal has finally come to an end. Now she can just slip back into her old life, or can she?
These early chapters were my favourite parts of the book as we watch no nonsense Emma naively return home expecting to pick up where she left off. It quickly becomes apparent though that everything has changed. To start with someone forgot to tell her that she was missing –presumed dead.
The fact that no one meets her at the airport should have been her first clue something was wrong, then her bank cards won’t work, her accounts frozen. When she discovers some (cute) guy living in her apartment everything falls apart. She’s also been replaced at work (that bitch!) her boyfriend has found someone else (awfully fast don’t ya think?) And her car and all her possessions have been disposed of. It seems that everyone has just moved on and that Emma has been “forgotten.”
This was a great read I loved the original storyline. I mean when everyone thinks you’re dead, how do you start your life over again? Would it be the same or would you change a few things? Throughout Emma’s story we get intermittent flashes back to Africa and her experiences after the earthquake. Personally I would have liked this section to have played a bigger role as it was the catalyst for the entire story yet sometimes felt like an afterthought.
I should also mention how funny this is, even though there a lot of heavy issues Emma’s determination, new appreciation of Scotch and dry wit is hard not to enjoy. I especially liked her hilarious, flirty interactions with Dominique (the reluctant roommate) who, you guessed it also becomes the love interest. The dialogue here is so clever and well written. He was a lovely character ultimately dealing with his own issues and starting a new life.
Catherine McKenzie has quickly become an auto-buy author me. I just love her style of chick-lit; she manages to avoid all the clichés and gives us an original, smart story with fast paced writing and addictive characters. Definitely check out her first book (Spin) Cheers