Anne gets dumped from her boyfriend and fired from her job in New York in the space of a week. Shocked and confused she decides to run away from her troubles and jumps on the first plane which takes her to Greece. In the plane she meets Alex, a charming, British rogue who's changed more jobs than shirts and who proposes to her to join him in Crete where he'll be staying. In a quaint, small village outside Chania, Anne lives in a lovely but dillapitating old house, meets the weird but friendly villagers, drinks tons of Retsina (local white wine) and finds her inner peace while starting on a budding romance with a not-so-rogue Alex.
'Change of Pace' was a charming, sweet, heartwarming story about a girl who finds happiness in the simpler things in life. Anne is a girl much like you and me, slightly insecure, hard working and organized, so it was easy to connect with her, but by the end of the book, she finds out that friends, calmness and a nice environment to live in suit her much better. I liked her quirky humor, her willingness to approach different people without criticizing them and her frankness with herself and others.
But most of all, I liked the writing; the writing was simply brilliant, especially during the first half of the book, where the humorous elements where much more often. It was sarcastic, witty and emotional when need be; the graphic descriptions of Cretan countryside and villages were vivid and made me actually see in my mind the places described in the book. And I especially liked the fact that for a foreign author, Sofia Essen had the Greek facts -and words- pegged down correctly, as opposed to some authors who claimed to have lived in Greece but end up writing down a bunch of inauthentic stuff.
What I didn't very much like in the book, hence the 4 stars, is the fact that in the second half, the book kind of lost its focus and its heroine; the heroine's mother and her life took too much space and time that I didn't feel were needed. In fact if some pages were missing in that part, I don't think I'd notice, as the pace slowed down considerably. The ending though and the unexpected twist there rejuvenated my interest in the story.
All in all, this was a very nice, fresh, charming book that would make a great beach read for the summer. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Sofia Essen won't stop here but will provide me with something new to read soon, as I loved her writing so much! The book was kindly provided by the author for an honest review