24 Jun Retreat To The Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas
Lively, funny and inspiring – this summer romance has it all
Jo Thomas’s novels always assail the senses with the tantalising promise of the taste and smell of gorgeous food, not to mention the feel-good factor of friendship, and dreams of romance.
She excels herself with this story of divorcee Eliza who escapes the chaos of living with her grown-up kids for two weeks in Spain house-sitting for Josep, a producer of fine Iberica ham.
For too many years, Eliza has submerged her identity as a wife then mother at everyone’s beck and call. She’s now supposed to be writing an essay for a foundation course that will lead to a university degree, and hopes the break at Josep’s beautiful villa will provide the peace, quiet and inspiration she needs.
After all, her duties are minimal – ensure the villa is always secure, don’t let anyone know Josep is away, don’t let the dogs sleep on the bed and don’t have parties! Just the instructions she left for her offspring.
But lulled into carelessness by the Spanish sun, Eliza spends more and more time at the village bar, where she makes friends with a lively bunch of ex-pats and encourages barkeeper Juan in his pursuit of the perfect tapas, undeterred by the disapproval of the local snobby, all-male gastronomica society.
Then she finds herself looking after Josep’s pigs when Pedro the pigman goes AWOL – even with the help of local schoolboy Sebastian, her time is full and there just isn’t time to write that essay!
But things take a turn when an impromptu pool party gets a little too lively and Eliza wakes up to her responsibilities not just to herself, but to her employer. She’s let him down and vows to make amends – but will Josep give her the time or opportunity to redeem herself?
Lively, funny and romantic, this is a super story with a strong underlying theme of self-discovery and fresh beginnings.
Eliza needs to find out what is important to her, and so do all her new friends, whose lives in Spain have not turned out as expected.
Fortunately Eliza is made of strong stuff. She may struggle to sort out her own life but she’s great at lending encouragement to everyone else, from young Sebastian, whose parents want more for him than the life of a pig farmer to Josep himself, when he seems ready to throw in the towel.
Talking about towels, there are a few sensuous scenes between Josep and Eliza that involve towels, swimming trunks and little else! It all adds to the feel-good factor of this story.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning the pigs, especially stud boar Banderas who deserves a spin-off book of his own. Their antics add to the charm of the story.
The smell of wild thyme, the vibrancy of real oranges growing on the trees, the squealing of pigs, the crow of the cockerel, the heat of the Spanish sun, the dusty path that leads to refreshments in the village square where the thrum of a Spanish guitar can be heard in the distance … I feel I’m there with Eliza and all her friends.
I’ve reached the end, and have to leave Spain, but will Eliza return to her humdrum life or find a new one under the Spanish sun?
Pick up this book and enjoy discovering the answer to that one yourself.
Retreat To The Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas is published by Penguin in paperback and ebook
About the Author
Jo’s debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway award-winning bestseller. In every one of her novels Jo loves to explore new countries and discover the food produced there, both of which she thoroughly enjoys researching. Jo lives in Pembrokeshire with her husband and three children, where cooking and gathering around the kitchen table are a hugely important and fun part of their family.