300 Days of Sun by Deborah Lawrenson was the perfect book to read during my 10 days of sun on Spain’s south coast. I knew from having read The Lantern by Lawrenson that 300 Days of Sun would be a pager turner that wouldn’t lack in intelligence. And set mostly in Faro, Portugal, it wasn’t too far from the Costa del Sol.
Joanne is a journalist taking a break while studying Portuguese at a language school in Faro. Here she meets the enigmatic Nathan, who calls on her to help him delve into his past. Their search brings them into contact with the seedier side of paradise, the tourism boom and the evolving political landscape of Portugal.
It would not be a stretch to say that I learned a fair bit about the recent history of Portugal through reading 300 Days of Sun. Before this I knew virtually nothing about Portugal. The book took me into the world of WWII refugees and Portugal’s subsequent tourism boom. It also held echoes of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann from the family’s holiday apartment in 2007.
Who would like this book? As I said, 300 Days of Sun is a great vacation read that won’t insult your intelligence. A little bit of intrigue, a little bit of history and the potential for romance. In some ways Lawrenson reminds me of a more contemporary Kate Morton.