Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas
At the time of writing, we are at the end of a week where the UK has seen record-breaking temperatures. I left work on Tuesday and could feel the 40 degree heat bouncing off the asphalt. To some people, this is heaven. For me, unless I am submerged in a swimming pool sipping a drink with an umbrella in it, I don't want to know. I'm an Autumn girl all the way. And yes, even though it is currently the end of July, I am already checking out Autumn garlands and pumpkin decorations.
But before I fully wish my time away, there are still summer reads to be enjoyed! And today I am reviewing the latest book by Jo Thomas, an author I have grown very fond off. We are off to the Spanish Sun, where there is a pool, drinks and Iberico pigs. (!)
Eliza has a full house! When her 3 children grew up and moved out, she downsized to a smaller property...but now they're all back. Every room in the house is taken and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter's pug. Combined with the online course she's trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn't the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.
So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying 'house-sitters wanted' Eliza can't resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural finca in Southern Spain. looking after the owner's Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies...and finding a new zest for life and love along the way.
Throughout the novel, our heroine Eliza is struggling to write her end of term paper which is all about wellness and what makes us happy. This theme runs throughout the novel and it's lovely. In fact this book made me very happy indeed!
It's a very sweet novel about empty nesters (and the return of said nestees) and finding out what truly makes you happy, even if it something out of the norm. In this case pig-farming. It's a novel about celebrating life and letting go of past regrets and finding out what truly, truly makes you happy, makes you laugh and makes you fizz with delight.
Eliza is a great character, likeable, capable and struggling to find a role other than 'mum'. I love the range of people she meets at the Spanish language club. And I really enjoyed learning about food snobbery and taking great care with animal welfare and food production.
We learn all about how Iberico ham is produced, how the gentle care of the pigs in the most beautiful of environs, ensures the very best tasting meat.
This book feels like a love letter to the lazy, hazy days of a summer spent in Spain, and allowed me to voraciously holiday within its pages.. (We are struggling to book a holiday at the moment!). This is a wonderful summer read, perfect for a holiday or a lazy weekend spent in bed.