Thursday 14 December 2017

All at sea, but can a cruise help Jenny get her life back on course?

Fiction The Captain's Table Muriel Bolger Hachette Ireland, €12.99, tpbk, 394 pages

Available with free P&P on or by calling 091 709350

If anyone's qualified to write about high jinks on the high seas, it's Muriel Bolger. As one of Ireland's best-known travel writers, Dublin native Muriel has wined and dined on board some of the world's most luxurious cruise ships, all in the line of duty.

Now she puts her enviable adventures globetrotting, or more specifically ocean-bobbing, to good use in her new novel, The Captain's Table, about a motley crew thrown together on a cruise holiday.

For newly separated Jenny, she's hoping two weeks on the Mediterranean will help steer her life back on course. But it turns out that her fellow solo travellers, among them a spirited Scot, minted Brit and urbane Dane, are all at sea too. Not even Captain Doug Burgess seems to be able to sail away from his problems.

With seasoned traveller turned novelist Bolger at the wheel, however, each of the recognisable cruisers earn their place on deck and in the book, which is itself simply begging to be taken on holiday.

And the ensuing entanglements, as well as the photographic account of life aboard a luxury liner and its various ports of call, could only have been penned by someone lucky enough to have witnessed them first hand.

From hardship to cruise ship though, it's Dubliner Jenny who truly deserves to be thrown a lifeline.

By the time the captain's private dinner party takes place, who knows, she may have even found one in the form of suave divorcé John.

With plenty of twists and turns along the way, this first-class read cruises along at a rate of knots.

For those who are planning their own escape, it makes the perfect travel companion.

For everyone else, The Captain's Table offers a more affordable flight of fancy from the comfort of your couch.

Deirdre Reynolds

Irish Independent

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