“What I Did on my Summer Vacation”
This is one essay Laura Anne Dantonville is probably glad she didn’t have to write. How to explain why she would run off with a complete stranger in a foreign country, having told no one that she was going–well, even she probably wouldn’t believe it.
But I get ahead of myself.
Laura, Beth, and Angie are taking an end-of-high-school trip together through Italy. Their first stop is Sorrento, where they take in the sights and sounds with squealy-girl joy. All their hard work has paid off, and here they are on their very first overseas adventure together!
Unbeknownst to them, they themselves are also being taken in with great enthusiasm. Soon enough, they find themselves harassed by a group of young men, with no way to get away from them. Then, suddenly, the natives scatter, leaving Laura and her friends face-to-face with an intriguing older man.
This is where it gets tricky. This man, a Frenchman by the name of Phillippe, is drawn to Laura. It seems he knows the girls’ every move, which creeps out Laura’s friends. But he has a different effect on Laura, who seems compelled to agree with every one of his plans. Everything she has ever learned about strangers and danger go right out the window.
But after a scare, she resolves to forget him and move on, much to the relief of her worrying friends and family.
Thing is, will he do the same? Only time will tell.
This short story, a prelude to “Bloodgifted”, Book I in the Dantonville Legacy Series, is a great introduction. It could also be read as a stand-alone, since it has a satisfying ending on its own.
However, clever Ms. Lacoba has added the Prologue and first three chapters of the first book in the series to the end of this short story, making it well worth the purchase price. I have definitely gotten drawn into the life of Laura and the drama that will be unfolding around her in her later years.
But back to this story of Laura and her locket–a bauble given to her by Phillippe before they part. You can bet that that will play a bigger part later on.
The descriptions were well-written–I could almost feel the Italian sunshine trying to warm the countryside in January, and hear the bustle of the tourists as they flocked from one sight to another. And I definitely felt Laura’s remorse when she returned from her adventure and realized what she had done to her friends.
Ms. Lacoba did a great job on this book, and I would not hesitate to buy the rest.