Back in March, when it was still cold and depressing outside, I got an ARC sign-up form from Laura Barnard who was going to release her new book, Excess Baggage, in May. The novel promised to be full of sunshine, summer and old feelings – the perfect getaway from this weather. Now it is May and the weather over here in Germany still hasn’t improved since March. So what was better than turning on your ebook reader and seeing the ARC loading? I couldn’t wait to start with this second chance novel under the sun of Luna Island.
Erica Bennett and her friends are on vacation to have a few days to themselves and away from the hectic and stressful life at home. Erica doesn’t expect to stumble upon Jack Lawson – her first holiday romance back when she was fifteen. It is not long until sparks fly and Erica and Jack rekindle their old feelings. But what happens after their vacation is over? Is their chance meeting a second shot at something real or will this stay another holiday romance?
Since Excess Baggage was my first Laura Barnard book, I didn’t know what to expect, but my initial concerns were unfounded: Excess Baggage was a fun and quick summer read. It is perfect for a day at the beach or the pool.
Erica and Jack meet very early on in the story and the reader gets inside their shared past through both Erica’s and Jack’s alternating POV. It’s pretty obvious from the start that they both still like each other very much, although they haven’t seen each other in 15 years.
Erica was a very clumsy person and put herself in the funniest and oddest situations which involved more than one lost bikini top. Jack was also a nice and loving character. He tried to make it right between him and Erica from the start and I as a reader could only root for these two to make it past their summer vacation.
Excess Baggage is a relatively short and therefore really fast paced story, which I am not used to normally. The shortness of the novel was at the expense of the characters, unfortunately. The characters were nice and loving but I was missing depth. It was also tricky to keep up with the “who is who” of the secondary characters, since Barnard added quite a bunch to the novel.
The story was also a little jumpy and confusing at times, e. g. there was one scene in which the characters were in spot A and in the next sentence they were in spot B all of a sudden without as so much as a description of how they got there.
The ending of the book felt too rushed, as if Barnard had to bring the story to an end really quick. There was also a big revelation in the last chapter which shouldn’t have been in this part of the story in my opinion. It would’ve been a nice plot twist at about 70% and would’ve added a little more drama to the story. But Erica was presented with facts that she had to deal with and accept right this second – and she did which was weird for me. This revelation definitely would’ve given me second thoughts concerning my just rekindled relationship. I’m pretty sure she agreed because she was too overwhelmed with the situation and too happy to really care, but she didn’t really think about the “after”.
Although Laura Barnard’s new novel has a few inconsistencies and didn’t convince me 100%, which made me give it a three-star rating, it is not a bad book.
If you still need a fun and light read to keep you company on this year’s summer vacation, grab Excess Baggage and enjoy your day at the beach.