Table for Eight
Let me start by saying that Table for Eight isn’t a read I would usually go out of my way for. I tend to shy away from stories that involve people much older than myself as I worry I won’t relate, but by golly this book blew all my assumptions completely out of the water! Long story short, this is a fantastic book!
This upbeat contemporary fiction takes place on the Diamond Duchess, a cruise ship departing from Australia set to travel around the Pacific Islands. Bliss. The title of the novel tells us where the story begins, a dining table for eight. Over the course of the nine-day cruise, the lives of eight strangers and friends are changed as new friendships, relationships, and plans are formed for the future.
You would think that having eight main characters would make for some confusing reading, but author Tricia Stringer (Queen of the Road, Right as Rain) did an excellent job making this character-driven story come alive. We have a woman seeking revenge on an ex-husband, a widow, an old friend, a family in turmoil, and a fashionista.
Ketty Clift is the central flame and the other characters, like moths, are drawn to her. I was enchanted from the moment she stepped on the ship. Ketty has had a successful business life, but less success in her personal life. Even so, she is extremely kind and has a knack for figuring people out. She is my favorite character because she is so selfless. She enables the rest of the characters to undergo personal growth.
The writing style of Table for Eight is simple but descriptive. I don’t tend to like stories written in the third person, but this one got me. It was like reading inner thoughts because it was so subjective, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
This lighthearted story had everything I needed to relax after a long day at work: stunning details of the ship and Pacific islands, descriptions of good food and drink, interesting characters, a bit of romance, and a load of positivity. Reading it gave me the same level of relaxation as going to a day spa.
The only negative thing I can say about this story is that one of the characters grated me. Christine was extremely hard for me to like because she constantly asks her father for money and ignores viewpoints that she doesn’t agree with. This is definitely the point of Stringer’s portrayal of Christine, since it’s clear that Christine is deeply unhappy. It reinforced my motto to be kind to everyone because you never know what someone is going through.
Table for Eight is a bit of old-fashioned escapism. Settle in with this story and escape real life for a little bit.