Author: Sue Roberts
Narrator: Esther Wane
Audiobook Length: 7 hours 23 minutes
Charlotte feels shell-shocked as she takes in the scene before her. To the left is her (ex?) fiancé’s retreating figure as he hotfoots it back to civilization; in front, the crumbling Greek island farmhouse she thought was their shared dream; and just below, a goat munching merrily on her sunhat…
One year ago, as they drowned their post-holiday blues, Jamie had leapt at Charlotte’s idea to permanently swap drizzly Chester for sun-drenched Crete. Now it looks like she’ll be living this dream alone. Devastated, she rolls up her sleeves and gets to work, pouring her misery–and her anger–into turning this derelict house into her forever home. At least the local community welcomes her into their lemon-scented bosom, along with sexy, provoking restaurant-owner-slash-handyman Darius.
Taking a sledgehammer to her old life and snacking on homemade honey cake on her breaks, Charlotte begins to see the promise of a future without Jamie. But on a trip back to Chester, he suddenly appears, wanting her back. Faced with a choice between the first love who broke her heart and the gorgeous Greek man, err scenery, that has been putting it back together, how will Charlotte decide where she truly belongs?
What Happens in Greece is a fun escape read that transports the reader to the gorgeous island of Crete. There are many descriptions of the food, atmosphere, and scenery that it was easy imagine yourself being a part of the story. The cover drew me to this story, and I am glad that I gave the audiobook a chance. The narrator did a great job bringing the story and characters to life.
The story begins in Chester where Charlotte (Charlie) comes up with the idea to pick up and move to Greece. She discusses the idea with her significant other, Jamie, who agrees that it would be a fun adventure. The two of them buy a fixer home on the island and are determined to renovate it and make it home; however, after a few months, Jamie no longer wants to be a permanent resident and wants to return to England. As Charlie wants to stay, the two of them part ways and Charlie is left to try and make Crete home.
Once Charlie is alone, she needs to navigate Crete by herself including attempting to open her own bakery. I enjoyed the contrast in how Charlie navigated the town between the time Jamie was there and when he was back in England. Even though he was not with her to explore all the time, there was a nice difference in how she did day to day things. Jamie’s “sudden” 180 from wanting to move to Crete and then changing his mind is very common as I know multiple people who felt the same. As for their relationship, I was incredibly surprised when the two of them did not break-up until almost halfway through the novel. The description of the story made it seem that it happens a lot sooner, so it was difficult to relate to the timeline and to Charlie’s feelings. As there are some further complications with a local love interest, a restaurant owner named Darius, it was difficult to fully connect to Charlie even considering Darius a possibility when almost half of the novel is taken up by her relationship with Jamie.
Overall, I loved the exploration of the concept of home throughout the story. I also greatly enjoyed the evolving relationships between Charlie, Jamie, Darius, and many other locals. The members of the community were all a joy to get to know and I loved how the author kept a distinct voice for each character. There were moments, especially between Jamie and Charlie where the word choices did not seem natural, but the general feeling came across to the reader. As the plot follows a similar path of many romances, there is some predictability; however, I still greatly enjoyed the escape read and would read more from the author in the future!
**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for a review copy of this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**