I loved Sandy’s first book, One Summer in Santorini and I didn’t think she’d beat that in terms of reader enjoyment but…I was wrong. Oh my goodness – That Night in Paris is now my favourite (sorry Sandy x).
On this blog I like to create new lingo so I think the phrase – ‘I’m going to do a Cat Parsons’ – should be what we say when we want to run away from the problems in our life and go wild. Cat Parsons is our inspirational figure as she went on a fabulous holiday, made some new friends along the way, drank beautiful wine, ate wonderful food, laughed a lot and had a spot of romance in a gorgeous destination.
This is how I see this new exciting phrase being used (post lockdown obviously):
Friend 1: ‘what are you doing this weekend?’
Friend 2: ‘Well, I need to get away from my life right now so I’m going to…do a Cat Parsons.’
Friend 1: *Gasp* ‘Nooooooooo! You’re going to do a Cat Parsons?”
Friend 2: *Nodding* ‘Yes, I think everyone should do a Cat Parsons in their life.’
Friend 1: ‘Gosh I’m so envious.’
Friend 2: ‘I know you are!’ *Squeal*
Here’s the blurb
Note to self: don’t sleep with your flatmate after a curry and three bottles of wine… especially if he’s secretly in love with you and wants you to meet his mum.
Cat Parsons is on the run. She doesn’t do relationships. After ten years of singlehood even the hint of the ‘L’ word is enough to get Cat packing her bags and booking herself onto a two-week holiday.
A European bus tour feels like a stroke of genius to dodge awkward conversations at home. But little does Cat realise that the first stop will be Paris, the city of love itself.
Joined by new friends, Cat has got two weeks, eight countries and a hell of a lot of wine ahead of her. As they discover hidden treasures and the camaraderie of life on the road, will Cat find a new way of looking at love?
Discover the beauty of Europe’s most romantic cities in this uplifting and laugh-out-loud novel for fans of Samantha Parks, Alex Brown and Mandy Baggot.
Here’s my review:
I thought the romance and travel plots were great but for me the standout was the way this book brings to life Cat’s relationship with her new friends on the coach trip. Sandy writes female friendships really well and I loved how each bus bestie had a backstory and a reason for taking this life changing coach journey; Lou and her divorce, Jaelee and the love for her best friend who had just got married and Danielle whose best friend did not invite her to her wedding. I loved the bond these women forged, how they didn’t try to put each other down and how they were like a rock for each other. I also loved Mama Lou‘s hugs What took this book to the next level was that each of these women learnt something about themselves during this coach trip. It wasn’t just Cat who had a life changing experience.
The surprise meeting with friend from childhood Jean-Luc, who was an exchange student and stayed with her family in Australia, was brilliant. He’s grown into a really gorgeous man and YES I had feelings for him. At one point I wanted to move Cat out of the way and ask whether he fancied spending a fictional night in Paris with me instead.
The travel plot was fabulous and it does make you want to go see some of these places. Sandy weaves in so much detail with each place her characters visit and at times you do wonder whether Sandy should host a TV travel show.
This book was brilliant escapism!
Have you ever done a Cat Parsons? 🤣
Sandy has kindly done a quick Q&A if you fancy getting to know her better:
When and where do you prefer to write?
I work fulltime, so I tend to get up early (between 5am and 6am) to get in a couple of hours of author biz before work. A lot of the time that will be writing or editing, but it also includes engaging with other authors and social media―both of which are an important part of being an author.
And I am very fortunate to have my own writing space, a study with my desk and a little couch in case I need a break. It’s also where we keep the wine fridge, though I assure you, that’s just a coincidence.
Do you have a certain ritual?
I tend to check emails and social media sites before I get to writing―although, this can be dangerous as it is a wonderful distraction, especially when I’m in the editing stages.
Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Tea! I consume two or three giant mugs of tea as I work in the mornings. I should dedicate my next book to tea.
What is your favourite book?
This is such a hard question as I imagine it is for any author. I love To Kill a Mockingbird. When I was an English teacher, I taught it many times and found something new with every read. But I also write contemporary romance, so I’ll choose the book that sparked something in me and made me want to write, which was Lindsey Kelk’s first book, I Heart New York. Reading it was a catalyst for my own writing career (thank you, Lindsey!)
Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
Yes! I am in early talks with another author about pairing up to write a dark contemporary drama/thriller.
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I do! Many of my characters are inspired by people I know. The main character in That Night in Paris is inspired by my sister, Victoria. And many characters I write are a composite of people I know.
Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I should! If I get a great idea while I’m out and about, I will type a note into my phone.
Which genre do you not like at all?
This is also a tricky question for me, because I read broadly. As well as romantic fiction, I love crime thrillers, contemporary fiction, (some) literary fiction, SciFi, historical fiction, and even biography or autobiography. I suppose I don’t read much fantasy, though I never say never, because there are some incredibly written fantasy stories out there.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Fiona Leitch. She writes these incredibly funny crime thrillers and I’m hoping our idea to write something darker (for both of us) will pan out.
If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I write travel fiction, so travelling and research are important to my work―I only write about places I’ve been to. I have a trip to Scotland planned in July as my 5th book is set partially in Edinburgh. I loved our trip there in 2018 and want to refresh my memories before I write that part of the book―such a great city!
Many thanks for having me!
Thank you Sandy and I am honoured to be part of such a great book blog tour.