Ketty Clift has a fascinating talent. Not only is she a high-end couturier in the charming Sydney suburb of Paddington, but she also has the ability to transform dreary lives into Cinderella-like transformations thanks to her clever styling abilities as well as an uncanny knack in the art of matchmaking. She’s an avid cruise enthusiast, although unfortunately this latest trip around the South Pacific Islands may be her last as her business is in financial trouble and she is about to embark on some serious changes to her lifestyle.
Ketty adores the opportunity shipboard life brings with its fascinating array of characters all innocently awaiting her help. Those lucky enough to be seated at her dinner table every night are about to find their lives changed when this well-dressed mature-aged pocket rocket waltzes in to spin her magic.
Locked deep inside, Ketty still harbours an ongoing affection for Leo, a man who touched her heart and has remained there, even though they parted many years ago because of a shocking secret he had been hiding. On her first night in this floating hotel, memories of their love surround her, along with a host of poignant ‘what ifs’. Leo’s sister, Josie, is already well acquainted with Ketty from another voyage and as fate would have it, both brother and sister happen to have chosen this cruise for their holiday. Can that heady love be rekindled or has too much time passed – and what about that long-hidden secret?
Table For Eight has a fabulous mix of characters and all of them come with interesting stories ranging from lost love to new beginnings, revenge and forgiveness, sadness and long-held secrets, boredom, greed, desperate realms of despair along with touching glimmers of hope.
Several surprise twists, some welcome and others that make your blood boil, pop up just when you think things are getting sorted. These certainly ensure readers keep turning the pages to find out what is in store for this motley group of travellers. I often found myself anticipating something and then being pleasantly surprised at the twists – some totally unexpected and others cleverly hinted at in little morsels buried within the intertwining host of storylines.
Tricia Stringer has well-researched South Pacific cruise destinations and life on board a luxury floating hotel riddle each page and bring about a touch of envy to be onboard yourself while getting lost in her well-written imaginings. Her writing style flows effortlessly from one group of people or each individual situation to the next, and her description of shipboard life, as well as the islands of the South Pacific and their friendly people, take you right there.
I look forward to reading more from the pen of this talented Aussie author.
Table for Eight, by Tricia Stringer, is available in print or digital edition from the publisher HQ Fiction