This delightful jaunt begins in a crowded airport and centers on two British families who are trying to get to Italy for a holiday, or as Americans might say, a vacation. Unfortunately, thanks to an ash cloud, their flight is cancelled, and they are faced with having their hopes for time away from home being dashed. As they are introducing themselves and lamenting their similar fates to each other, they brilliantly come up with the idea to switch houses for the two weeks instead of going home disappointed. Yes, I realize this sounds like that lovely movie called The Holiday where Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet switch homes for the holidays, but since this deals with two families rather than two single women, the trappings and issues are quite a bit different. Like the movie, however, the story does focus on the two women’s issues more than anyone else’s and is definitely worth consideration.
In fact, Gorman expertly reveals the key characters in the story like peeling away the layers in an onion, slow enough that the reader has time to add each new tidbit of information but not so much to slow the story down. There are plenty of hilarious twists, some of which involve animals, throughout the novel, but there are also a couple of points of serious commentary that are reflective of modern times folded into the story. All in all, I would say this is a balanced tale that may just inspire readers to seriously consider their familial relationships. Fantastic read for sure!