Living the Dream, by Celia J. Anderson is a fabulous read and I know that the characters and their story will stay with me for a long time! Scroll down for my review. You can also click here to read an interview with Celia which we carried out earlier this year and an excerpt. Tina ❤
When dreams and reality crash and mingle, escape can be the hardest challenge of all.
Longing to get away from her troubled marriage, the opportunity to cross America by train seems like a dream come true for Vita Craythorne. But charismatic travel agent Moriarty Miles has other ideas; by replacing their mutual friend Jack on the trip, Vita has unwittingly set herself up as a guinea pig for Moriarty’s mind-blowing and potentially dangerous virtual-travelling project. His plan is to give clients the holiday of a lifetime without ever having to leave the comfort of their own homes. It’s exciting. It’s time-saving. It’s innovative. Maybe this trip is just what Vita needs? That is, if she can avoid becoming trapped inside her own, miraculous dream world.
Life-Changing Adventure and Suspense/ Friends to Lovers Romance FIVE STARS *****
Living the Dream is a super story in which the reader accompanies the heroine an a life-changing adventure across the USA. In it Celia J. Anderson takes us into the unfamiliar and sometimes menacing territory of the virtual world, where reality and dreams collide. Mystery and suspense, heartache and romance are inter- dispersed with gentle humour and a host of quirky and unforgettable characters.
The heroine, Vita, whose marriage is on the rocks, jumps at the chance to go on the holiday of a lifetime across America. I just loved how, with the help of her friends, she steps up to the challenge and re-invents herself after years of being trapped in an unhappy marriage. Her transformation from the downtrodden individual that she had become into a vibrant and confident individual was one of the many aspects of the novel I enjoyed. Indeed, Vita’s physical journey across the USA mirrors the inner journey that she unexpectedly embarks on thanks to the unorthodox research methods of the mysterious, handsome and unprincipled Moriaty and the sinister and Svengali like Sebastian!
Vita’s complex back story reveals itself as the novel progresses and we not only learn about her marriage and her family relationships, but how her long-term friendship with her handsome colleague Jack develops into something a lot more tangible….. Yet Jack is on the other side of the Pond and how can he save her from the pull of the virtual world that threatens her sanity? There is a great deal of suspense and a host of sinister and deeply psychological scenes as Vita is confronted with demons from her past and Jack is compelled to go to her aid.
I really enjoyed the characters in the novel: Vita’s larger than life boss Fliss, at the Marriage Guidance firm where she works; the mysterious Moriaty and his sidekick Sebastian; her quirky co-travellers on the trip across the US and the loyal and handsome Jack who has his own family troubles to deal with…
The virtual reality aspect of the book was nicely done and credible, as Vita and her co-travellers are subjected to strange experiences that were not on their itinerary! This added a sinister aspect to the novel, contrasting nicely with the humour and romance and serving as an unusual catalyst for Vita’s life journey. The read is interlaced with gentle humour and observations on life and the human condition which really resonated with me.
To sum up, a delightful read, with adult themes, mystery, suspense and romance. Highly original.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
Please note, a copy of this novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
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