Hall of Fame Review: Pleasure Island by Anna-Lou Weatherley

Friday 24 July 2015
Title: Pleasure Island
Author: Anna-Lou Weatherley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 31st July 2015
Pages: 331
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Secrets. Scandal. Betrayal. In Paradise, pleasure comes at a dangerously high price…

Three couples each receive an exclusive invitation to the fantasy holiday destination of a lifetime…

The host: Martin McKenzie, global billionaire and media mogul. Charismatic, powerful and always gets what he wants.

The location: A breathtakingly beautiful undiscovered island, nestled in the Aegean Sea. Private, secluded and not quite as it seems.

The details: Seven days of pure hedonism, five-star luxury tailored to every desire, also includes…secrets, lies, and infidelity.

As the guests begin to enjoy everything the luxury island has to offer, cracks begin to surface between the three couples. But that is not all. Someone is watching them.

When they discover the truth – it will be explosive in more ways than they can ever imagine.

Pleasure Island is one of those rare things: a faultless novel. I couldn't even name one thing I disliked about it. Well, apart from some of the characters of course. But loving to hate them is part of the fun. There's a touch of The Cabin in the Woods at the start of Pleasure Island when we are introduced to Martin McKenzie, a media mogul and billionaire who is organising the trip of a lifetime for a bunch of people he seemingly dislikes, and who definitely dislike him. We witness the couples receiving their invitations, some having reservations about going to the island, but really, when faced with a free holiday to a place where your every whim is catered for, I imagine most of us would cast all doubts aside. Call me gullible and pass me my ticket!

After a, shall we say, problematic introduction to the island our couples head off to their new abodes and I instantly found myself jealous of a fictional setting. It just has everything you could possible want from such a place, and despite the reader knowing otherwise, it really does seem to be paradise for the guests. Except for the fact that the couples can't stand each other, and a lot of them have negative history which results in a pretty acrimonious start to the whole thing. It's so hard to discuss the story and say 'this is what happens next' without giving away major plot details, but the air of mystery surrounding the story was part of what made Pleasure Island such a gripping read for me because you have no idea just what Martin McKenzie and his cohorts have planned. The setup and idea behind the island itself is just pure genius, and is the reason that Pleasure Island is one of the most thrilling books I have read this year.

It's funny because there weren't all that many characters that I actually liked. Whereas the majority of people will probably hate Billie-Jo, I loved her. She's kind of like every single spoiled rich kid and reality TV star morphed into one, even though her start in life was the polar opposite to that lifestyle, and she's on the island with her long-suffering husband, footballer Nate. She would probably be a nightmare to spend time on an island with, but from an entertainment point of view she was a lot of fun to read about. I also liked Angelika, a journalist who is on the island with her boring, kill me now lawyer husband Rupert. Angelika is a character I changed my mind about numerous times, and she discovers that Pleasure Island can also be Temptation Island. In fact, most of the characters discover this as things get more and more outrageous and the characters lose all their inhibitions because of certain happenings behind the scenes.

In terms of where the story ultimately takes us, all I can say is that it is incredible. There are untold twists and turns throughout, including a couple of major twists that left me wondering just how I didn't work them out myself. I think I was too caught up in the story to overthink things, and also I think despite the relative OTT nature of the whole plot, the reasonings behind what goes on and everything else just falls into place beautifully which does give the story a bit of a believable edge, and something like this happening in real life would be so wonderfully addictive that it would be the news story of the year, perhaps the decade. Once those twists started coming I wondered just how much more I could take. Please believe me when I say that this is one of the best books you could pick up this summer.

Pleasure Island is a truly addictive read, and if you are yet to pick it up, I would wait until you have a spare couple of days to do so because you will not want to stop reading. It is pure, unadulterated excitement from start to finish once you are reading this book and I cannot recommend it enough. Anna-Lou Weatherley is an author who has passed me by in the past but she's definitely now an author whose books I won't even hesitate to pick up. Pleasure Island is my final July read and I couldn't have asked for a better book to end the month on. I loved Pleasure Island so much that I want to read it again, and I am already envious of those who have it to read.

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