Charlotte yearns for the years when her children were young and she was a single mother who meant everything to them. When she wins the cruise, the family packs all their baggage - literal and figurative - and spends ten days traveling from sun-drenched Athens through glorious Rome to tapas-laden Barcelona on an over-the-top cruise ship, the Splendido Marveloso.
As lovers new and old join the adventure, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the Perkins family is forced to confront the defining choices in their lives. Can four lost adults find the peace they've been seeking by reconciling their childhood aches and coming back to each other?
Charlotte is 70 years old and missing the closeness she had with her three children when they were younger. She enters an essay contest with the prize being a European cruise ... if she wins, she is going to take her three children, which she does. Her oldest daughter, Lee, is a has-been actress who has just been dumped by her long-time boyfriend. Her youngest daughter, Regan, is trying to figure out how to get out of her marriage and is even looking up how to poison her husband. And Cord, her son, is an alcoholic, gay and recently engaged but he hasn't come out to his family yet. Off they go on the cruise and everyone is trying to get along and hide their secrets.
This is the first book I've read by this author and I didn't like it at all. The premise sounded fun as did the cover ... but it's not a fun book at all. I didn't like any of the characters and none of them had any redeeming qualities. Charlotte was raised that appearance was everything so anytime anyone got upset, she admonished them ... no wonder they were estranged from her. When her husband had committed suicide years earlier, she told everyone he had died of a heart attack. Charlotte suspects Cord is gay but she is more concerned about what her priest will think if/when it's revealed than Cord's feelings.
I kept reading it because I was hoping the story would get better but it didn't ... it got worse. As a head's up, there is swearing.