Jemma’s new husband, of five days, has disappeared, on their honeymoon.
They are at a luxury resort on the Maldives. True, they’ve had a row. True, things haven’t been going well. Jemma is sick and paralysed with terror. Everyone at her resort is watching her. She is sure they all believe that she has murdered him.
Time goes on and still he doesn’t appear.
The novel is carefully crafted, with a well-constructed scenario and a complex, but well-devised plot, with a twist early on, which certainly took me by surprise. This is definitely chick-lit, but without the excruciating sex and soppy bits.
The author is clearly very familiar with the Maldives (lucky thing!) and the holiday scene over there. She writes her setting with great confidence.
The chapters alternate between ‘now’ and various periods in the years leading up to Jemma’s marriage. The chapters set in the past adopt the third person point of view and are generally, but not always, about Jemma. The ‘now’ chapters are related by Jemma in the first person, but she is an unreliable narrator, forgetting and adding events and scenes in a chaotic way – maybe because she is at breaking point, maybe because this is very convenient for the plot, perhaps a little too convenient. The plot asks questions, because the reader cannot understand characters’ motivations – until Jemma, being ‘unreliable’, mentions another happening or conversation. The latter part of the book was disappointing because it was disjointed; although there is action, it occurs several months apart and through the eyes of different characters, who hear about events, rather than taking part in them.
The number of characters is kept to a tidy minimum. They are believable and appear consistently throughout the book, even the murderer, whose identity was a total shock. However, Jemma is under intolerable stress throughout; we hardly see her relaxed. Another point is that Jemma’s mother-in-law, Veronica, who is vile, occupies many, many pages, but she and her nastiness don’t have any bearing on the plot.
However, I read on – avidly. The answers to the many questions posed in this book, especially the big whammy at the end, were all there, but they could have been written more dramatically, making me feel I was present, rather than reading it in the newspaper.
I regret giving ‘The Honeymoon’ only three stars, seeing as I enjoyed it so much, but I have explained why.
‘The Honeymoon’ can be purchased here.