Honeymoon Heist by Anna Jones Buttimore begins with two weddings; first a civil wedding followed by a reception, then a long drive to the London Temple for the second. Then it’s off to the airport for an all night flight to Majorca for the honeymoon, a honeymoon that doesn’t go according to plan.
When Claire married the first time, it was for all of the wrong reasons. A handsome flirt, Alexander Lenoir, proves to also be unfaithful, arrogant, bossy, temperamental, and opposed to religious activity. He also doesn’t know how to let go when she remarries. Her second marriage, though thought out better, still is loaded with obstacles.
Claire is self-centered and wants her own way. Prospective husbands are few in England especially when she’s nearly thirty and a Mormon, so when she meets Rodney, she decides he’s everything she wants; a worthy priesthood holder, early thirties, and wants a family. She’s willing to overlook the fact that he’s too tall, not very good looking, and none too exciting.
Rodney has been burned before. He nearly married the daughter of his mother’s best friend because that was what both mothers wanted. He hasn’t traveled; even his mission was to nearby Scotland. He’s thrifty to the point of cheap. He can’t believe his luck to have beautiful Claire show interest in him and accept his proposal when he’d resigned himself to life centered around his work. He’s a doormat, yielding to Claire’s every whim.
Annoyance with each other marks the beginning of their honeymoon. Rodney had wanted to stay a night in a London hotel, then fly to the island the following day. Claire wanted an immediate flight and got her way. They arrive tired and feeling out of sorts. There’s a delay waiting for one of their bags, the hotel isn’t all Claire had dreamed of, and she’s appalled to discover Rodney has rented a car and plans to do some sight seeing . She just wants to lie beside the pool and work on a tan.
Claire slowly begins to make a few concessions and when they discover there was a mix up with their luggage and someone is desperate to get the bag they have back, they’re already in deep trouble. That last bag they claimed at the airport isn’t theirs, but is filled with a fortune in Euros. This discovery puts them on the run from the crook who stole the money, the syndicate he stole it from, and they quickly discover they can’t even trust the police. With their lives in danger, they are unable to return to their hotel to get their passports and cell phones, they don’t speak Spanish, and must keep a step ahead of their pursuers as they make a frantic attempt to reach France on the strength of their international drivers licenses where they can contact someone to help them. In the process of running and hiding, they learn something about the give and take of forming a real marriage and learn to trust and depend on each other.
Honeymoon Heist is a fun book. It’s written well and the British conventions, vocabulary, and sense of humor will make it a favorite of many readers. I enjoyed learning something about the Spanish Island Majorca and some of the regulations concerning the European Union. I found Claire a little shallow and spoiled, but Rodney proved to have commendable depth. Both grew and became better people as Claire had to become more mature and depend on her husband and Rodney learned to step outside of his carefully controlled, straight arrow persona, take charge, and make decisions. The plot has all of the carefully contrived plots and twists that keep a reader engrossed.
Buttimore, her three daughters, and husband live in southeast England, though she formerly lived in Wales. She works part-time for a legal charity and hopes to someday retire to Florida. This is her fourth published novel, which is a sharp variation in style and subject matter from her previous three, and in my opinion, her best so far.
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HONEYMOON HEIST by Anna Jones Buttimore, published by Bonneville Books an imprint of Cedarfort, softcover, 232 pages, $15.99