(currently in the Amazon 3 paperbacks for £10 promotion as of 14/06/15)
Octavia Shelton thought she’d have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow.
Instead she’s married to safe, reliable Jonathan, and her life now consists of packed lunches, school runs and mountains of dirty washing. She’s not unhappy. It’s just that she can barely recognise herself.
So as Octavia watches her best friend’s marriage break up, it gets her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and rediscover the person she used to be? Escape back to the island she visited years ago? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her?
Octavia and Roberta are best friends, they have the kind of friendship that when the affluent Roberta rings from a police station in the middle of a winter's night and says 'bring me a tshirt - mine has blood on', Octavia does not question it - just hopes she has not finally killed off Scott, her loathsome and unsuitable husband - gets in her car and goes to her rescue.
It is clearly apparent that as perfect as Roberta's life seems from the outside, behind closed doors things are far from it. She is dissatisfied, unappreciated and emotionally bullied. She decides that enough is enough and leaves, taking teenage daughter Alicia with her. Her first port of call is Octavia who seems to have a strong and happy marriage, but Roberta's situation leaves her wondering if she is really as contented as she thought. Especially as people point out that she is just not the outgoing, unburdened free spirit she used to be, and it doesn't take long for thoughts of her first love to bubble up from the depths where she has buried them.
I absolutely loved my few days where I luxuriated in the pages of The Island Escape. It is beautifully written in alternating chapters from Octavia and Roberta, with empathy, humour and the most vivid description of the beautiful islands of Sardinia and Corsica.
Fisher delved into the early middle aged women's relationships and stripped them to their bare bones, letting the reader right into their souls. They are very different characters but the very closest of friends and would do anything for one another, and do. We also see how 'what if' moments can change our lives.
The ending of the book is perfect and things are resolved exactly as I would have liked, both characters going through huge developments and really finding who they are and what they are capable of.
I loved the book so much I went straight to Amazon and bough Fisher's debut The School Gate Survival Guide
A definite 5* from me
Review copy kindly provided by the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.