Friday, 19 October 2012
Book Review: The Travel Auction by Mark Green
by Mark Green
amazon / smashwords
It should have been their trip of a lifetime. But with just days to go, Jonathan Cork finds himself dumped by his girlfriend, Kate Thornly. Even worse, a life-threatening allergy means he can’t travel alone. Unable to change the name on the spare ticket and fast running out of time, Jonathan resorts to desperate measures. He advertises on eBay for a travel companion with the same name as his ex. The problem is, it’s a complete lottery who he’ll end up with.
Kate Thornly (the second) is aware of the unusual eBay auction, but she can’t be persuaded to bid. Enter Maria, her best friend, who secretly applies on her behalf! With her nursing credentials and erotic photo, Kate seems the perfect travel companion. But there’s just one small detail Maria’s conveniently left off Kate’s bid...
What follows is a funny, page-turning, rollercoaster ride around South America.
I was feeling very under the weather when I started reading this book and it was a perfect pick-me-up. Even with a sore throat and a cold, it was hard to feel miserable while reading of Jonathan and Kate (the second's) adventures in South America.
Jonathan has paid lots of money for his trip of a lifetime, Kate the first was supposed to pay him back, but now that they've split, she's not going and not paying for the trip either. Jonathan has a severe nut allergy which could kill him and he's got a phobia about needles so he needs someone else to administer the adrenaline if he accidentally ingests any nuts. The airline won't let someone else travel on Kate Thornly's ticket, so he sets up an auction on eBay to find another Kate Thornly to go on the trip with him.
The first few bids he gets are hilarious, I was really laughing out loud at the pensioner Kate Thornly who wanted to make sure that she'd be able to draw her pension abroad, and he wonders if he's done the right thing. Of course, it would be a very short book if he didn't pick one of the Kate Thornlys to go with him, so he decides on Kate the second or KT2 as she's referred to later in the book.
It's told in alternating points of view between Kate and Jonathan, both in first person. The banter between them is enjoyable, and they both have quite a bit of baggage with them, although not of the luggage variety. Their pasts are part of who they are and help flesh them out. Both are well-drawn characters and I was impressed how Mr. Green got into the mind of Kate here, she was very believable as a character in her own right, not just there to be a love interest as is the case with some other novels.
The novel is fast paced, with plain, simple writing that makes it easy to sink into. All the places in South America are so well described that it makes you want to pack up and go on your own adventure. Green's love for the places he's visitied (I presume) shines through in the book. It's unpretentious, it's just like being on holiday with two friends.
Does romance blossom between our two intrepid travellers or do they remain friends? You'll just have to read to find out because you don't want to miss any of their adventures or the people they meet along the way.
A wonderful read.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby