Cover Image: The Holiday Escape

The Holiday Escape

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Member Reviews

Ah Heidi Swain never lets you down! It’s been a while since my last Heidi read but I was looking forward to this one, especially with how gloomy it has been weather wise - aren’t we all in the need of some sunshine!!

Well, this will transport you to Barcelona - a city I’ve never been to but now feel like I really should visit one day - and then Kittiwake Cove, with its British seas, hidden coves, cosy village pubs and a parrot with the greatest character, what more could you want!

Ally is such a great character with a deep rooted dream to leave the confines of Kittiwake Cove and Hollyhock Cottage for the bright lights, culture and history of Barcelona. But when her holiday fling arrives on her doorstep, things are about to change in ways that Ally could never imagine…

Ally’s dad and best friend Flora are a massive part of this book and they were both just the nicest characters and people you would love to bump into, who deserve a little bit of extra sunshine and maybe some romance to…

Romance brings us onto Logan… now, my feelings for him fluctuated throughout the book, you know when you feel like somethings not quite what it seems.. I just had a little bit of unease about him but couldn’t quite figure out why for the majority.

Overall this was such a lovely book with a lovely message of appreciating everything that we’ve got - it’s so true that it often takes nearly losing something for us to realise just how good we had it. Great characters, a fab storyline and setting and moments that had you feeling all of the emotions.

Now I’ve just got to sit and patiently wait for Heidi’s next book wishing I could book a visit to Hollyhock Cottage and one of its lovely craft workshops!

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It’s hard to believe the Holiday Escape is Heidi Swain’s 18th novel and I have enjoyed every single one of them. The places the novels are set are always such a main character in Heidi’s books and Kittiwake Cove in Dorset sounds idyllic. Ally and her dad Geoff run a successful business at their home for people to learn art and crafts and stay at their lovely home. Ally s hiding a secret from her dad to protect him but when she meets Logan in Barcelona little does she know it will change her view on her home and her life. Some great characters and Flora is a best friend that anyone would want. A fab read

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Enjoyable read throughout. The setting is absolutely idyllic and gives off cosy, community vibes which are synonymous with this author. The plot line is engaging with dashes of intrigue. A perfect anytime of the year read.

Thank you Netgalley

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Reading a book written by Heidi Swain is like meeting new friends that you instantly bond with, become completely connected to them, and making you want to be with them all the time! From the outset of the story, when we first meet Logan and Ally, who inadvertently uses her best friend Flora’s name as a pseudonym, we are drawn to their characters and their instant attraction, with a little help from a friendly nun!

I adored their brief connection in Barcelona, but when Ally runs out on Logan she never expected to come face to face with him in Kittiwake Cove. I loved the fictional location of Kittiwake Cove in Dorset, with the hidden spot on the beach, the swimming platform, and the house and gardens Ally’s parents inherited. I think one of Heidi Swain’s many talents is her ability to world-build so effortlessly that I have always fallen in love with her locations and wanted to be there every time. As idyllic as the house and gardens were, Ally simply saw her life in the cove being limited by her parent’s dream and her dream of a life in Barcelona was held ransom, and it clouded her judgement.

Duty was a strong thread to the story, with Ally feeling she should help her father achieve the dream he had with her mother, at the expense of her own dreams. I loved Ally’s dad Geoff, her best friend Flora and Flora’s twin brother Freddie but I was unsure and unsettled by Tara, returning to the area after several years. Still, life would be boring if we loved everyone, right?

The Holiday Escape was a perfect holiday read. I read it while on holiday in South Korea, and it made me want to spend time in my hotel room when I really needed to explore! There was a delightful balance of romance, community and the conflict between duty and desire at its’ core.

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I really loved this Heidi Swain standalone novel.

From when Ally goes off on holiday and escapes into a different persona, to when worlds collide once she is back home, attempting to fool everyone that she really is happy in her life.

And when faces from the most recent past, and childhood past re-appear, things start to get complicated and suddenly Ally is no longer completely sure what it is she really wants.

I loved seeing what Ally would decide for her life, and I also really enjoyed getting to know Logan. I also loved all the various courses that were run at Hollyhock Cottage.

This was a really enjoyable story with a a great setting that was a pure delight to read.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

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Another wonderful holiday romance by fantastic author Heidi Swain!
Ally lives in the idyllic coastal village of Kittiwake with her father, helping him to run a retreat that was the dream of both him and her mother. She loves her dad, but this was never the life she envisioned for herself. Instead, a promise to her mother, before she died, ties Ally to a place filled with memories that aren't all pleasant.
On a much needed break away, Ally reinvents herself and meets a young man, Logan, who she begins to develop[p feelings for, and not wanting him to know the extent of her pitiful real life, she ghosts him.
Coming back home, she makes plans to finally admit to her father that running the retreat with him is not what she wants to do, forever, but then several spanners get thrown in the works, with the reappearance of an old school 'friend', Tara, and, then, ironically, Logan.
Nothing is ever as straightforward as that, so I'll leave you to the book to find out what happens!
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, immersing myself in the life of Ally and the Kittiwake residents.
Ally, herself is a mixed up character, trying to fulfil a vow while forsaking all she really wants.
Her best friend, Flora, is a real rock, and you see the ups and downs they both travel, as various events unfold. And the strength of friendship.
Logan - I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with, as I could see how good they were for one another, but as I came to realise certain things, I doubted his character, but he redeemed himself!
I LOVED Kasuku, the foul-mouthed parrot who was inherited along with the cottage by Ally's parents was a fabulous addition to the cast of colourful characters, too.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for an ARC.

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Another lovely book from Heidi - great setting, interesting characters and excellent story telling.

Full review to follow on the blog tour next week.

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Heidi Swain is a favourite Author of mine and I am always very excited to read her new book. This book is a standalone novel. At first, I didn't warm to Ally, the female protagonist, however as the book progressed and I found out more about her, I began to understand her and like her a bit more.
I loved the setting of Kittiwake Cove in Dorset. It sounded idyllic and I would definitely love to go to one of the retreats if they really existed.
This was a heartwarming and enjoyable read.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for my ARC.

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As always, this book was filled with amazing characters, all with their own stories for us to follow.
Kittiwake Cove was a beautiful setting filled with so many of my story favourites - a beach within walking distance, a cosy pub and a close knit community.
I loved following Ally's life discovering her love of things she already had over those she thought she wanted.
Another amazing book by Heidi!

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I have read several books by Heidi Swain and loved them but this one didn’t hit the spot for me. I loved the coastal village setting but Ally was keen to escape… I didn’t empathise with her at all which was disappointing but other readers probably will.

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This was a lovely read about finding joy and love in what’s right under your nose. Ally always thought she had to go abroad to find the history and the culture she craved but through a series of events she’s has to accept a live at home along the Dorset coast. Logan however sees the coast line and area as the perfect place to be and with a little covert help from Ally’s dad he sets out to make her fall in love with her home.

There are other twists and turns along the way, with people not being who they said, and under hand tactics, but everything finally comes to a head thanks to a once in a generation storm and everyone finally manages to clear their conscious and say what they really want and feel.

Some amazing descriptions of home grown sights that easily rival those European ones. A nice easy read with lots of heart and family. Some amazing characters which were easy to relate to. A great stand alone book.

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Thank you to Simon & Schuster and especially to the team at Books and the City for letting me take part in this tour and my copy of this book via Netgalley. I am a huge fan of Heidi's writing and have been reading her books for many years now. I love Heidi's sense of community that features in every story.

This book follows Ally. At first I found it a bit hard to warm to Ally. I think I didn't like the pretence she put up while on holiday. I also loved Hollyhock cottage and Kittiwake Cove so Ally's dislike and need to leave for a 'better' life rubbed me up the wrong way slightly. However as the book progressed it was easy to love Ally.

Hollyhock cottage and the business that Ally and her father, Geoff have built there sounds absolutely wonderful. I seriously want to sign myself up for one of their craft weekends, despite both me not being creative and of course its not actually real!

With a mix of family, friendship and romance Heidi builds some really strong relationships in this book. It's evident from very early on how close Flora and Ally are and how much she really loves her father. I loved that Flora and Ally could be honest with each other and while it may upset each other they also forgave each other. It showed a true friendship that can weather any storm. Ally sacrificed everything for her father and would do it all again in a heartbeat to make him happy.

This book is exactly what I have come to expect from Heidi and it was everything I needed. Full of community, love, friendship and heart warming moments. It's a perfect read to get you in the mood for summer.

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The Holiday Escape is a standalone novel from Heidi Swain and sees us visiting the fictional small town of Kittiwake Cove. She really does create the most wonderful locations whether it’s the well known Nightingale Square or Wynbridge or, as in this case, a close-knit seaside community in Dorset. Along with her dad, Ally runs Hollyhock Cottage as a creative retreat. I loved the sound of the residential courses they organised where guests could learn about jewellery-making, nature writing. painting and many more creative activities. It sounded an idyllic setting, especially with Ally’s dad cooking up some incredible food for the guests to enjoy.

However, Ally can’t wait to escape Hollyhock Cottage and Kittiwake Cove, a place she feels trapped. When we first meet her she’s off to Barcelona, a place where she’s always dreamed of living and working. A chance meeting on the plane leads to a passionate holiday romance with Logan but what happens on holiday, stays on holiday right? Wrong! Once home again, Ally is shocked when the new guest in the garden apartment is none other than Logan. Logan is equally surprised, particularly since he thinks Ally is a high flying business woman called Flora!

I did feel rather sorry for Ally who had made a promise to her late mother to look after her dad and the business. She was willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of her dad and to keep that promise but she has dreams of a very different kind of life in the city. Whenever she goes on holiday, she imagines herself as living that life, a very different Ally. So that’s why Logan is so surprised to meet the real Ally and quite hurt that she hadn’t told him the truth. However, I couldn’t help feeling that Logan was keeping a few secrets of his own though I couldn’t work out what they were.

Once the air was cleared between them, the attraction between them was still undeniable and I enjoyed reading about them getting to know each other properly. The chill waters of the sea where they regularly went swimming couldn’t cool their ardour! Heidi Swain is great at building up the attraction between her characters in a way that may feeling the heat as much as them! Theirs was not the only romance in the book but I’ll leave you to discover that for yourself.

The Holiday Escape is, as the title suggests, a lovely escapist read in such a fabulous location. There are lots of other great characters and storylines to follow which I haven’t even touched upon. Would Ally realise her ambitions or would she fall for the charms of Kittiwake Cove and Logan of course? Well, you’ll need to read the book to find out! The Holiday Escape is a perfect summer read complete with romance, secrets and intrigue.

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I would actually rate this a solid 4.5⭐️

I love it when we are treated to a standalone book from Heidi Swain. It's lovely getting to meet characters for the first time and exploring new locations.

Kittiwake Cove is home to Ally, her Dad Geoff, her best friend Flora, and a fun group of other residents. But Ally longs to be far away from Hollyhock Cottage. This had me instantly gripped as I felt the pull to the Cottage myself.

As always with Heidi Swain's writing, we are treated to laughter, tears, flowing dialogue, and wonderful descriptions of both the scenery and the food (which truly made my mouth water!). I could picture it all so clearly in my head, and I wished I was there. I wouldn't mind sharing a picnic with Logan, if I'm being honest.

There's drama, humour, cheekiness, and some sizzle, just what I like in a summery book! A definite must-read from one of my absolute favourite authors.

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Thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

It’s dry in a Dorset and is the story of Ally, who, along with her Dad run the business.

But she she’s always dreamt of living elsewhere and a much better life. I loved the characters and the friendship between Ally and Flora.

Will Ally get to live the life she’s dreamt of, or will the area and her friends show that the life she’s living is her best life?

I recommend this book.

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Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review.

This was a book of two halves for me, as I didn't really enjoy the first half. The second half was much better.

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Ally helps run the family business, a crafters retreat from Hollyhock Cottage in Kittiwake Cove, Dorset. But Ally longs for a different life, glamourous city living with fancy restaurants and galleries at her fingertips. Each off season Ally takes trips where she pretends to live the life she wants, if only for a short while. But a chance encounter with Logan on the plane to Barcelona turns out to be something more than the intended pleasant distraction, and sends Ally home with a less than spring like step.

Used to feeling refreshed upon her return, Ally feels dejected and tries to throw herself into running the retreat. But when Logan turns up unexpectedly at the holiday cottage as a guest, the summer seems like it’s going to be less than straightforward.

I am a big fan of Heidi Swain’s work, and her books are an auto request/buy for me. I started this one with high anticipation but it wasn’t long before I realised I wasn’t connecting to the story or the characters. I’ve come to expect Heidi’s protagonists to be very warm and easily likable characters but Ally just felt very superficial to me.

It was still an easy read that I enjoyed enough to finish just didn’t live up to my expectations for this author.

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Heidi Swain is one of my auto buy authors and I have loved each and every one of her books that she has written. The Holiday Escape is her second standalone novel so this is a perfect book to introduce you to Heidi’s writing if you haven’t read a book by her before.

Ally is our female lead in The Holiday Escape and we meet her two personas! The Ally who jets away to Barcelona and pretends to be the person living the life she dreamed of and the Ally who lives and works with her dad at costal Hollyhock Cottage where they run creative retreats.
But call it fate if you will Ally's two worlds are about to collide when the romance, she sparked on her recent get away surprises her by turning up at Hollyhock Cottage!

This set of characters got right under my skin and I devoured each and every chapter hungry for more. Ally is such a selfless character putting her mums wishes and dads needs before her own and I loved the path of self-discovery she made throughout this storyline with a little help from Logan along the way. The friendship between Ally and Flora was a joy to watch they felt more like sisters with an unbreakable bond but as for the dreaded Tara she had my warning siren going off from her first appearance!

What I loved about this storyline is that in places it was predictable but equally there was surprises instore for me too so I was kept hooked the whole way through and could kick myself for not joining the dots together to work out what was going on behind the scenes.
The book covers the effects of losing a loved one on our path in life, moving on and letting go of the restraints we sometimes put on ourselves through feeling of loyalty, duty and love. But this book is on no way a sad novel it is full of hope, friendship, love and support.

Heidi Swain’s first book The Cherry Tree Café has always held the number one spot firmly for me and as much as I have loved her following books none of them have quite challenged this one for the top spot…..

That is until The Holiday Escape has come along and now it hasn’t knocked it off its perch but they are sitting firmly together in the number one spot together so Heidi Swain fans you are in for a treat with this one.

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Lovely book full of holiday romance, loved it from start to finish. I would highly recommend as I would all of Heidi Swain books.

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I have read and/or listened to all but Heidi Swain’s previous book, my favourite will always be Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage. I enjoyed diving into The Holiday Escape and was excited to be transported to my favourite County ‘Dorset’. Kittiwake Cove sounds wonderful and just the place to find home in. The main setting is at Hollyhock Cottage which in true Swain style offers community, family, love, food and crafts. Ally the main character is somewhat lost in her dream of escaping the life she has submitted too (supporting her father run the family business) and the trendy life she believes she should be living overseas, complete with designer labels.
Her best friend Flora is supportive and encouraging of her dreams, she provides the holistic vibe in the book through her tarot and reiki practice.
There’s a lot of décor description, you can tell the author reads Country Living Magazine.
The arrival of Tara the mean girl from their school days sends shock waves through both women. She’s not the only one to cause a stir though, Logan the handsome hook up whom Ally left behind on a short break also sets hearts racing with waves of will they? Wont they? You’ll definitely enjoy the birthday fun and games and chuckle at Kasuku the Parrots antiques. She might have taken us out of Norfolk but it’s still very much an enjoyable afternoon escape. A recommended read.

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