Tuesday, April 26, 2016

300 Days of Sun

Man, if I could give an award for prettiest cover for the most perfect summer read, this book would absolutely win it. So let's just pretend I've made one full of rhinestones, OK?

300 Days of Sun - Deborah Lawrenson
Combining the atmosphere of Jess Walters’ Beautiful Ruins with the intriguing historical backstory of Christina Baker Kline’s The Orphan Train, Deborah Lawrenson’s mesmerizing novel transports readers to a sunny Portuguese town with a shadowy past—where two women, decades apart, are drawn into a dark game of truth and lies that still haunts the shifting sea marshes.

Traveling to Faro, Portugal, journalist Joanna Millard hopes to escape an unsatisfying relationship and a stalled career. Faro is an enchanting town, and the seaside views are enhanced by the company of Nathan Emberlin, a charismatic younger man. But behind the crumbling facades of Moorish buildings, Joanna soon realizes, Faro has a seedy underbelly, its economy compromised by corruption and wartime spoils. And Nathan has an ulterior motive for seeking her company: he is determined to discover the truth involving a child’s kidnapping that may have taken place on this dramatic coastline over two decades ago.

Joanna’s subsequent search leads her to Ian Rylands, an English expat who cryptically insists she will find answers in The Alliance, a novel written by American Esta Hartford. The book recounts an American couple’s experience in Portugal during World War II, and their entanglements both personal and professional with their German enemies. Only Rylands insists the book isn’t fiction, and as Joanna reads deeper into The Alliance, she begins to suspect that Esta Hartford’s story and Nathan Emberlin’s may indeed converge in Faro—where the past not only casts a long shadow but still exerts a very present danger.

I think I need to read more from this author because she does such a fantastic job of mentally sending you to the setting, I can't think of anyone who does it better. I signed up for this book tour only for the cover and the comparison to Orphan Train, which is one of my favorite books so I felt compelled to read. Does it live up to that comparison? Meh, not really. Sure, 300 Days of Sun has a great story that we flip back to but it doesn't grab me like Orphan Train, but that doesn't mean it's not good on its own merit. Basically, we have two separate story lines that are put together so you leave feeling like you've really finished two different stories. 

We have Joanna, who has come to Portugal to escape her life that she feels is suffocating her. She decides to take a class on how to speak Portuguese, which is how she meets Nathan, and expatriate. Nathan soon asks for Joanna's help in solving an old kidnapping case, which leads them to a book, and that essentially breaks this book wide open. It's a mystery that sucks you in and keeps you reading to figure out what has happened in the past and how it is motivating things in the current. My number one complaint is going to be in parts, it was too slow for my liking. I'm saying this as a person who gets very little dedicated reading time so I'm reading in short chunks of time and sometimes I'd finish my chunk and felt like nothing happened. I would 100% feel differently if I could plop myself down, preferably in a lawn chair in the sunshine, and just read. Maybe split up over a weekend. The best part about the book for me is the mystery at the heart of it, and of course, the writing. Never in my life have I ever thought I'd ever want to go to Portugal, but Deborah Lawrenson has made me want to get a passport and go. It sounds absolutely stunning. This would be a really great addition to your vacation planning- take this book with you! I also think this would make an intriguing book club book as well. 

You can purchase your own copy of 300 Days of Sun from Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble. In the meantime. you can follow Deborah on her website, blog, and Facebook!

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I absolutely love this cover as well. I think it would be gorgeous as a wall print - I could decorate an entire room around it!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.