I was so pleased to come across another Harding. I have thoroughly enjoyed Florence and Giles, and One Big Damn Puzzler, and with this one I was not disappointed.
Harding creates memorable characters and there are laugh out loud parts. The holiday in question is a return to Malta for Nick, his wife and his elderly parents. So far, so simple. But his dad has Parkinson's disease, his mother is obese and his wife is desperate to get pregnant.
The descriptions of the challenge and routines of getting Dad out of bed every morning are treated in a humorous way although describe the degree of tedium and hardship in dealing with Dad's degenerative disease. Mum is controlled by food and there is a sadness about her condition too. Nick has a strong voice in the story and he tries very hard to please everyone.
Tying all the characters together is the search for Dad's illegitimate son who was conceived during a brief stay on Malta during the War. The story is very successful because Harding has just the right elements to make us sympathise with the characters, be intrigued by the search for the lost son and gives us a touching conclusion to the story. I highly recommend Harding's books and have enjoyed all of them immensely.
Check out One Big Damn Puzzler, Florence and Giles.