Book Review: The Travel Club, by Jeanie Wood

Six women become friends and form a travel club, each with their own story to tell.

A story of friendship, love and travel.

The Travel Club is Jeanie Wood’s debut novel. It is about an elderly lady who spends days standing outside a travel agency staring at the posters, much to the annoyance of those in the shop. She is gradually joined by five others and after a series of events, they are eventually invited inside the shop. There they form “The Travel Club” and so begins a story of friendship, love and travel. It is also a book about acceptance: accepting those who are different and not judging people by their looks. Everyone has a story to tell if we just take the time to listen.

This novel is written in the third person but dotted throughout the book are sections in italics where we hear the thoughts of the characters. This is not always the case though as sometimes a character’s thoughts are found in the main text which is a bit confusing. In the second half of the book, those who are travelling write emails to those holding down the fort at home. When reading them we can get a sense of what they have seen and enjoyed, without the need for long passages in the main part of the book. This is a nice personal touch.

This novel has been published by the new independent publishers, Elephant House Press. They aim to publish and nurture new authors, particularly women, and would like to concentrate on stories which are romance, fantasy, science fiction, crime/suspense and Christian fiction. The Travel Club certainly falls into this group.

It is a nice story but unfortunately not a page turner. It doesn’t flow well and seems stilted. Things happen quickly without the information which leads into it. I also wonder whether the characters would have more believability if their letters and emails reflected more of how they would speak and not all sound the same.

The front cover is unfortunately forgettable. I only realised there was a world map when it was pointed out to me at the end. The font used for the title is also difficult to read. Not a book which would stand out on a shelf. It is also obviously printed to save money but that was not a big issue for this reviewer.

The most unfortunate thing about this book was the number of errors – more than I have ever come across. In this day of auto correct, we expect a few but this novel has an extraordinary amount: words are missed, incorrect grammar, and spelling mistakes. It needed much tighter editing.

Jeanie Wood is a Christian woman and we see some of her characters struggle with their faith throughout the story. Wood also has an obvious passion for travel and she has been able to use this knowledge in her descriptions of the places her characters travel. This story definitely feels like a reflection of Jeanie Wood. I think it may appeal more to the older reader who has their own lifetime of memories, and dreams of maybe travelling again.

The Travel Club is a book which is easy to read, but if published again, would need stringent editing.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Elephant House Press
Released: March 2019
RRP: $19.99

Disclaimer: Elephant House Press was co-founded by Elizabeth Calder who is a contributor to Glam Adelaide.

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