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15 April 2016

Review: 'Wonder Cruise' by Ursula Bloom (2016)

Ann Clements is thirty-five and single, and believes nothing exciting will ever happen to her. Then, she wins a large sum of money in a sweepstake and suddenly can dare to dream of a more adventurous life. She buys a ticket for a Mediterranean cruise, against the wishes of her stern brother, the Rev. Cuthbert, who has other ideas about how she should spend her windfall. 

Ann steps out of the shadows of her mundane life into the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Travelling to Gibraltar, Marseilles, Naples, Malta and Venice, Ann’s eyes are opened to people and experiences far removed from her sheltered existence in the offices at Henrietta Street, and Mrs. Puddock’s lodging house. As Ann blossoms, discovering love and passion for the very first time, the biggest question is, can there be any going back?

Today I've got a review of quite a surprising read to share with all of you! When I was contacted by Corazon Books about possibly reviewing one of their new releases, I straight away said 'yes' because so far I've read numerous great reads from this publisher. Ursula Bloom's 'Wonder Cruise', which is released today on April 15th, sounded like an interesting read, but when I looked up a bit more information on the novel I was pleasantly surprised. Ursula Bloom actually wrote this novel in the 1930s and has written over 500 books (I mean, wow, can you even imagine?!) during her lifetime, with 'The Duke of Windsor' being her most famous title. I was really excited to have the chance to check out Ursula's work and hoped I would end up really enjoying it, because that would mean no less than 499 other promising novels waiting for me...!

Ann Clements is a thirty-five-year old spinster; at least, Ann doesn't think there's anything exciting in life waiting for her, let alone a man to sweep her off her feet at her 'old' age. Her job as a secretary isn't all that, her flat in Kensington is alright, and her weekly lunches with her clergyman brother Cuthbert and his family definitely aren't the highlight of her life. So, when Ann unexpectedly wins 300 pounds, life suddenly seems much brighter. After a push in the right direction by her boss, Ann decides to go and do what she has always dreamt of doing and buys a ticket for a Mediterranean cruise. She can't wait to travel and visit some new places, and no one, including Ann herself, knows what her journey exactly has in store for her...

I honestly had no idea when I started reading this book that it was actually first published in 1934 and set in the 1930s. This definitely gave the book something special and I loved the authentic feel the story had, inviting us as readers to travel back in time and see how things were done back then. I love books set in different time periods, and 'Wonder Cruise' really portrays the life of a 1930s woman and what going on a cruise and travelling was actually like in those days. In a way, Ursula Bloom's writing reminded me a tiny bit of Jane Austen; perhaps because of the historic feel to the story and the division of descriptions and dialogue (definitely a lot more descriptive text than actual dialogue between characters).

The plotline at the centre of 'Wonder Cruise' isn't the most original or captivating one; it's quite basic, but enjoyable. I have to say I personally enjoyed the first half of the novel a lot more than the last half; it felt like there was more going on, and as the novel progressed the story just seemed to go places I was a bit surprised about (cryptic, but I don't want to give too much away!). I was hoping there would be a more convincing romance element there, and this is something I personally really missed. While I will definitely pick up another Ursula Bloom book when given the chance, this read wasn't entirely my cup of tea. An enjoyable trip back in time, and definitely something a bit different, but unfortunately not as entertaining as I had hoped it would be!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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