Sunday, 30 December 2018

Book Club Book Review: Table for Eight (Contemporary Fiction)

Table for Eight
Tricia Stringer

Publisher: Harlequin Fiction AU
Publication date:  24th September 2018
Pages: 496
RRP: $32.99
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Source: Courtesy of publisher via Beauty & Lace book club

A cruise, no matter how magical, can't change your life. Can it...?

Clever, charming dressmaker Ketty Clift is embarking on her final cruise from Sydney before she must make serious changes in her life. Supported by the ship's all-powerful maรฎtre d' Carlos, she has a mission: transform the lives of those who join her at her dining table every evening. Not only can Ketty turn Cinderellas into princesses with her legendary style-eye, but she has a gift for bringing people together.

But this trip is different. As the glamour and indulgence of the cruise takes hold, and the ship sails further away from Sydney towards the Pacific Islands, it becomes clear that her fellow travellers - a troubled family, a grieving widower and an angry divorcee determined to wreak revenge on her ex - are going to be harder work than usual.

As Ketty tries to deal with her own problems, including the unexpected arrival on board of her long-lost love, Leo - the man who broke her heart - as well as troubling news from home, she begins to realise this might be the one cruise that will defeat her.

Ketty Clift loves cruising and helping people so naturally she combines the two on her numerous cruises.
Ketty’s fashion design business has taken a recent downturn and she had thoughts of cancelling her cruise on the Diamond Duchess’s farewell voyage but it seemed fitting that what may be her last cruise is also the last voyage for this magnificent ship.

Ketty loves to observe people and her table of eight each night for dinner id the perfect opportunity to get to know her fellow passengers; their strengths and foibles.

One cruise. Twelve days. Eight strangers. (well almost strangers, there is a husband and wife with the wife’s father in the group).

Stringer skilfully develops her characters. There are characteristics you will see in yourself and the people around you which draws the reader in, quickly becoming invested in the characters’ lives, eager to learn more.

Stringer uses the backdrop of a luxury cruise liner to explore issues of broken relationships, love, loss, grief, family relationships, self image and second chances.

I’ve never been on a cruise and Stringer’s luscious descriptions of the opulence of the ship, the activities available, the night life and the beautiful islands they visited brought it all to life on the page. If you have cruised before I am sure it will bring back memories in vivid detail.

I loved that the characters were older (aged between 40 and 69) and how they formed friendships and relationships in a different way than younger people. Table for Eight confirms that age is no barrier to love and the need to have companionship and feel wanted.

The story is told in multiple POV so we get a well rounded view of what the characters think and feel. This also helps to explore the different ways that people see the same situation.
The main character, Ketty, is a people watcher and she loved giving people a nudge toward love, healing or a change of direction. Some may see Ketty as a meddler or a busy body but she always had good intentions.

Each character has their own reasons for being on the cruise and heartbreak, secrets and jealousies are slowly divulged throughout the story.

Stringer’s move from her highly successful Rural Fiction stories to the Contemporary Fiction market has been an outstanding success.

Content: themes of loss and grief
                 no sex
                 minimal coarse language (hardly worth a mention)

My rating    5/5            ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 

*This review is part of the Beauty & Lace book club. You can read the original review here 
Table for Eight is book #33 in the Australian Women Writers challenge

and part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie Author Challenge
photo courtesy of Harper Collins Aus
Tricia Stringer is a bestselling author of novels across three genres: women's fiction, historical saga and rural romance. Her first book, Queen of the Road, won Romantic Book of the Year in Australia and she has been shortlisted for more awards. Tricia has spent many years in education as a teacher, a librarian and in middle management; with her husband she took on the first licensed Post Office in South Australia where they included a bookshop, and she now works as a full-time writer. Tricia travels Australia and sometimes overseas researching and drawing inspiration for her novels which always feature an authentic Australian voice. Home is a place near the beach in rural South Australia.

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
 Website  ||  Facebook  ||  Twitter 


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