My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 366
Publisher - Meanderthals Publishing
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
Charlotte Fontaine's dead-end life lacked excitement so she impulsively booked a flight to Cambodia to visit her best friend. She never imagined that sitting on a plane, struggling with her fear of flying, might lead a chance encounter with Rashid, an old man whose tragic secret would take her on a mystery tour of discovery.
In a land of golden temples, orange-clad monks, and smiling people, Charlotte discovers nothing is as she'd expected. She also never imagined the journey would take her back to the night when her father walked out on the family.
And who was Rashid? Was he just a kindly old man, or was there something deeper sewn into the exquisite fabric of his life?
Charlotte has been stuck being the faithful daughter, looking after her problematic manipulative mother since her father abandoned them. Her bestie took off to live her best life and finally Charlotte is taking the plunge and head over to Cambodia, to see her best friend in the world and try and take charge of her life.
The plane ride over finds Charlotte meeting an interesting older man that puts her on an unexpected "journey" and getting to grips with her new surroundings. I LOVED Cambodia, the people (not all of it, some gave you a wee bit of the fear) are so kind despite their poverty. Such a lovely community spirit, people coming together and Charlotte getting to know her friends life and her inner strength and sides to herself she didn't know she existed.
We see parts of Charlotte's life, the impact of her father leaving, the ongoing manipulation by her mother despite being hundreds of miles away. I think from a TripFiction point of view the book really brings to life Cambodia, it has never been on my places to go but I would quite like to now, I love places where people make it what it is. It isn't all sweetness and light, it has some shady characters that Charlotte comes across and at times I was frustrated at her "blind trusting" or blatant disregard for her own safety.
The book has a lot going on, personal journey, new people, bonding and some of the best of people and some shift characters. Despite her "quest" being a bit insane at times I was intrigued to see where it would go. 4/5 for me this time, I enjoyed the location, some of the interactions/characters and the "puzzle" Charlotte is trying to solve. This was my first time reading this author, I would read her again and I would love to revisit this location!