Book Review: The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

Title: The Honeymoon
Author: Tina Seskis
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 1 June 2017

There’s trouble in paradise…

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy.

It should be paradise. But it’s turned into a nightmare.

Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes.

After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? and above all – where has her husband gone?


The Honeymoon is a cleverly plotted mystery surrounding the disappearance of Jamie, from a small isolated island in the Maldives where he was honeymooning with his new wife Jemma. Did he flee the island? Did he drown during a late night swim? Is there foul play involved?  With Jamie gone, Jemma is left alone and isolated. With the local hotel staff becoming increasingly unfriendly, even hostile, and her new holiday friends seeming more shady, Jemma does not know where her suspicions should fall or who, if anyone, she can trust.

The story is driven by Jemma, who proves to be a particularly unreliable narrator. Split between the ‘now’ (being the aftermath of her husband’s disappearance) and the past, the story of Jamie’s absence slowly unravels as we simultaneously begin to understand the background to Jamie and Jemma’s tumultuous relationship through flashbacks. The book is split into three parts. Whilst the majority of the story is told from Jemma’s point of view, Part 3 does start to tie up some loose ends by seeing the events through the eyes of other characters.
Jemma’s memories are hazy at best, due to excessive alcohol consumption that night. When memories do gradually seep through, she doubts her own recollection of events. As local and British police join forces to investigate her husband’s disappearance, Jemma can’t help but be afraid. Is it possible that she had some involvement in Jamie’s disappearance and simply can’t remember it…?
I did not warm to Jemma as a character. She is difficult and unpleasant, often seeming to be deliberately so. We are told that there is something about her that draws people to her and, in a similar way, whilst I may not have liked Jemma, she is a compelling character.  There is no doubt that Jemma is manipulative, demanding and deceitful and, worse still, she knows it yet makes little visible effort to change.
The setting works brilliantly for this story. The Maldives is renowned for being the idyllic luxury honeymoon setting, a real-life piece of paradise. However, the quiet seclusion that we think of as being so intimate and alluring certainly takes on a much more sinister and claustrophobic ambiance when you consider that, unless Jamie has managed to flee the island, Jemma and the other guests are stuck in in a remote spot with a murderer.
The Honeymoon will immediately grab the reader’s attention and will continue to tantalise the imagination as the tension and suspense slowly and steadily builds as the plot unfolds. Seskis weaves together a complex and gripping plot which will leave the reader guessing until the very last page. I certainly had no idea where the story was heading – Seskis certainly managed to ‘pull the wool’ over my eyes!
For me, the only downside came with the ending. It seemed to arrive a bit abruptly. However, that is just one reader’s opinion and I can happily say that this was more than made up for by the overall enjoyment I got in reading the story.
The Honeymoon is certainly a page-turner and a great choice for readers who love a tense and claustrophobic thriller packed with twists, turns and a few red-herrings to keep you guessing!
I was lucky enough to win a copy of The Honeymoon, so a massive thanks to Tina Seskis and Trish from Trish’s Blog for my copy of this fantastic book!

About the Author

Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, and after graduating from the University of Bath spent over 20 years working in marketing and advertising. She is the author of three novels:  When We Were Friends (formerly The Serpentine Affair), One Step to Far and The Honeymoon.  Tina lives in North London with her husband and son.

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