Cruise away on a booktrail


The story in a nutshell  –

Frank and Heleen’s anniversary cruise is going perfectly, until the unthinkable happens and Frank disappears. Heleen does everything she can to find her husband, but is ultimately forced to return home, alone and distraught.

After spending months searching for some kind of answers, Helen finally gets some sort of news but it is not what she hoped for: Frank was leading a double life. The man she married was not who she thought he was. Not at all.

How and WHY did Frank go missing. What does this mean for Heleen? Can she ever really get the answers she deserves?

The setting

A cruise liner named Columbus - image from Wikipedia

The setting of the cruise ship is obviously a good one for the initial mystery of someone going missing from what is a closed environment with no visible means of escape – apart from the obvious which is too awful to contemplate.

Frank tells her of the trip he would like to take her on for their wedding anniversary

They are particularly enthusiastic about their eight-day trip that begins and ends in Nice. He pointed his finger to the corresponding information in the brochure. “Naples, Palermo, Tunis Mallorca, Barcelona……..’

The port in Nice - image from Wikipedia

The port in Nice – image from Wikipedia

The Columbus starts its journey from the Quai Amiral in Nice and immediately you want to be standing on the balcony with Heleen..

The picturesque view of Nice from the balcony would make a perfect postcard. The coastline with its stately buildings and luxury hotels, and the  promenade , which was surrounded by palm trees and neatly kept lawns, exuded the exquisite atmosphere of the South of France.

The beauty and serenity of the scene are a stark contrast to what comes next but this makes it all the more chilling following the beautiful setting.

Quirky detail made it all the more interesting and brought back memories from a personal trip –

Meanwhile the extremely long promenade changed names. Promenade des Anglais turned into Quai des Etats-Unis.

Naples is the first stop

Mount Vesuvius seen from Naples bay - image from Wikipedia

The Columbus had gone straight from Nice to the Southern Italian city. “And those ruins that survived the eruption of Mount Vesuvius?”

Soon, following a few ‘surprises’ on the cruise, Heleen and Frank wave goodbye to Mallorca –

Once upon a time this had been where mass tourism started in Spain….

Mallorca - image from Wikipedia

They spend some lovely moments together in Mallorca –

They had lunch in a small fishing village. The tapas tasted fresh and delicious, the view was lovely and peaceful. 

After the scrumptious dinner, they strolled along Mallorca’s major port, where many very impressive yachts were docked.

But then Heleen’s worst nightmare becomes reality…..

The setting of course changes for the worst and is reflected in the descriptions –

The sky over Barcelona was grey. Over the water it appeared to be even darker making the view rather gloomy

We then return to Heleen’s home in the Netherlands and the mysteries that start to come out of the wood Rotterdam, Marseille and back to Nice –

The water was dark, almost brown. Rusty-coloured crests swallowingone another whole. clouds rushed by, dreary andn gray. The dark body of water only seemed the same in its size but nothing else about it seemed he same. It was azure blue then.

Setting is linked to emotions and to both the physical and psychological journey made by Heleen as she searches for her husband.

A cruise like no other

An interesting premise for a couple’s life that goes so drastically wrong.


And finally  – It wasn’t just the setting that got the booktrail excited –  the Cruise starts off really well with two choice quotes –

Helen reading and, as we see it, pondering the delights of a booktrail….

On the nightstand next to the bed was a novel written by her favourite author. She had devoured all nine books written by the English writer. The books all took place in Africa. The author really managed to fire up her imagination with the unique atmosphere and circumstances.

In her mind, she experienced all of the adventures herself……



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