The Vacation by M.M. Chouinard

One of them is missing… One of them did it… 

The Thanksgiving retreat was meant to be a time for them to get away from it all, miles from the secrets that threaten to tear their family apart. But they’re each hiding something:

Rose hopes the pretty house overlooking the sea is just the break her family needs. But as she gazes at the water and remembers her own childhood, she is utterly terrified.

Brandon knows his wife Rose has barely forgiven him for his affair. He’s started drinking again, a road that led him to disaster once before.

Brianna, Rose’s sister-in-law, is recovering from her fifth miscarriage, and when she looks at her adorable niece, she can’t help but see the daughter she deserves.

Then three-year-old Lily disappears from her bed in the villa. Isolated in what should have been paradise, it quickly becomes clear that one of them took her.

As one by one their secrets are uncovered, who will be destroyed next?

The opening chapter of this chilling thriller will feel very disturbing to readers who recognise similarities to a very well known disappearing child case. The terror of a parent realising that their child isn’t where they left them (especially if that place is the bed where they left them asleep!) is an emotion all parents will recognise. So The Vacation got off to the perfect start for me-even if it didn’t for Brandon and Rose, parents of the missing Lily!

This is a compelling book, delivering a cast of complex characters who all have their own problems and agendas that they have packed in their suitcases alongside their sun lotion! Three couples all sharing a holiday complex for a family and friends get together but are any of them responsible for the disappearance of little Lily? And if so why? But more importantly…where is she? I had no idea where the storyline was heading and so there were quite a few shocks in store for me as I’m sure there will be for other readers too.

The Vacation is beautifully descriptive and the heady atmosphere paradise sits cleverly at odds with the seedy side of this stunning Caribbean holiday island. I almost felt like I was there alongside them all as the search for Lily reached its dramatic conclusion. Nearly all of the characters are unlikeable, hiding behind their partners and hoping to avoid drawing attention to the secret and lies that they have also brought with them. I did not see the direction I was being sent into until it was too late.

A gripping and emotional read!

M.M. Chouinard writes crime fiction (including suspense, procedurals, and cozies), and women’s fiction. M.M. Chouinard’s first fiction story was published in her local paper when she was eight, and she fell in love with Agatha Christie novels not long after. While pursuing a Ph.D in psychology and helping to found the first U.S. research university of the new millenium, the stories kept rattling around inside her skull, demanding to come out. For sanity’s sake, she released them.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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