Eighty Days Red, by Vina Jackson

Review published on November 10, 2012. Reviewed by Marleen Kennedy

The two years in a steady relationship with Simôn, the Venezuelan conductor who is deeply in love with her, have left Summer Zahova feeling cared for, protected and soothed but also… bored. And after she reads the book Dominik wrote, the book he dedicated to her, the book that was clearly inspired by her, she knows she can never settle for a quiet life with Simôn. Leaving New York and the man who deeply loves her behind, Summer returns to London, the city where it all began for her. There she hooks up with her sister, Fran and her dear, but very platonic, friend Chris. And through him Summer finds herself connecting with the world of popular music and Viggo Franck, rock and roll superstar and infamous womaniser. A ménage á trois with Viggo and a beautiful Russian dancer transpires as does an exciting tour of Europe with Chris’ band. But when her beautiful violin is stolen, Summer and Dominik, the man who gave her the instrument, are reunited. It is clear that they are still drawn to each other, fulfilling needs for the other like nobody else can as the result of an attraction that borders on obsession. But will they be able to make it work this time around? Or will Summer’s fear of attachment and other outside forces once again tear them apart?

I enjoyed this book. The story captured me and for the first time while reading this trilogy I was really interested in the two main characters. Suddenly I found myself rooting for them and hoping that they would find a way to make it work together. I liked the way in which several characters from the previous books made return appearances and clearly had a better insight into the fact that Dominik and Summer belonged together than they had themselves. I also greatly appreciated the way in which the authors dealt with the resolution of the stolen violin story-line; it was light-hearted and fitted the story perfectly.

Although this is still a story with vivid and unconventional erotic scenes I feel this book is less about the sex and more about relationships and self-discovery. This is a book about getting to know yourself and learning to accept who you are and what you need in life, even if your needs are not what most people would consider “normal”. This is not an erotic fairy-tale. This is a grown-up story for those of us who know and accept that life isn’t always perfect, but that even imperfection can lead to a happy ending.

Now that I’ve read all three books, and can look at Summer’s story as one single journey, I realise that this is a story about growing up, about getting to know yourself and learning what you want in life and, just as importantly, what not. In the first book – “Eighty Days Yellow” – our violinist was still completely in the dark about her wants and needs, which lead to behaviour and scenes that I didn’t really like, as my review reflected. In “Eighty Days Blue” Summer had a better idea about what she didn’t want and continued to grow, leading the way to this, the final book in the trilogy. Summer has reached the stage where she knows exactly what it is she wants and is less afraid to accept it. As a whole, this trilogy makes perfect sense. So if you are like me and find yourself somewhat exasperated with the story and its main character after the first book, do keep on reading! You will find it is well worth your while. And do not read these books out of order. The story won’t make sense if you do.

While this is the conclusion of Dominik and Summer’s journey there are apparently more 80 days books to come. These will centre on other characters we’ve met in this trilogy and I look forward to reading “Eighty Days Amber” and “Eighty Days White” when they come out.

One mystery remains though, or maybe I’m just a bit dim; why 80 days?

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Reflected in You, by Sylvia Day

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One Hundred Names, by Cecelia Ahern

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