Retreat to the Spanish Sun – Jo Thomas

Published By: Random House
Pages: 352
Released On: 23/06/2022

Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she downsized to a smaller property, but now they’re all back. Every room in the house is taken and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter’s pug. Combined with the online course she’s trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn’t the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.

So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying ’house-sitters wanted’, Eliza can’t resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner’s Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies…and finding a new zest for life and love along the way.


Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I am not a fan of summer or hot weather or hot places, and whilst Spain does look inviting, I’m not overly jealous to people holidaying there, even Eliza in this book. However, the idea of shutting yourself away in the quiet countryside with just the dogs and a writing pad, that I’m jealous of.

I’ve only read two other Jo Thomas books and on reflection, I’d say this was the one I related to the least. It felt a little out of reach for me. That’s not to say it’s bad writing, on the contrary, she manages to write characters and setting and emotion really well. But I just didn’t find myself falling in love with this book until at least half way.

The first half is very much setting the scene, getting to know the characters and building up to the climax of the story. I would say from about 60% maybe, shit hits the fan and I enjoyed it much more. There was much more meat on the bones of the story and you finally get a reason to root for everyone, and it just felt more enjoyable for me.

By the end of the book, I definitely felt warmer; the ending was so full of joy and love – love for your friends, your romantic partners, for food, the country, local community, a job, and most importantly, for yourself.

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