Book Review: 300 Days of Sun


There's only one plot, "Who am I?".

I heard this from a teacher who was apparently teaching English to a senior class in the ending scene of The Amazing Spiderman. This got me thinking about all the novels I've read. It's true. Fiction is all about the characters searching for who they are, where they come from, where they belong, and these questions keep their story going until they find the answers.

In Deborah Lawrenson's 300 Days of Sun, the main characters are looking for something that completes the picture of their identity and the meaning of their life. Joanna Millard wanted to break free from her relationship and career as a journalist so she ran to Faro, Portugal, and Nathan Emberlain wanted to find his true family in the same town.

As their story unfolds, their quest entangled other people into the web and revealed a dark secret not only about Nathan but also about Portugal in relation to Germany during World War II. Lawrenson showed this part of the story through a novel written by Esta Harford. Here's the thing. I didn't expect to read a full-length novel within the novel which is about an American couple living in Portugal during the war and the complication of their lives while living closely with the Germans. It was fine with me though. I think the novel was necessary to further explain the role of the Germans in Faro, Portugal during the war.

I was quite astounded that I got hooked by this book even though the characterization was not in-depth. I was drawn by the mysteriousness and willingness of the characters to take a leap for a stranger but the information about them was just enough to fulfill their roles in moving the plot.

Finding out who Nathan really motivated me to go on but I was more carried away by the uniqueness of the book's setting Faro, Portugal. The author transported me to the town with its famous, long beach, intriguing history, and interesting people. The descriptions were so vivid that I could imagine the scenes.

Although I enjoyed the setting, the action scenes in the story fell flat for me. It was not that exciting and could've been developed more. I think this part was a bit rushed.

Overall, Deborah Lawrenson's 300 Days of Sun is a good read for me.

Discussion Questions

  1. 300 Days of Sun is based on the fact that the Algarve region in Portugal has 300 days of sunshine every year. What do you think of the title in relation to the theme of the story?
  2. What drives Joanna to help Nathan find his real family?
  3. How would you describe Nathan's personality?
  4. Does the novel within the novel work for you? Discuss further.
  5. Would you recommend this book to others? Why or why not?

Book Information

Title: 300 Days of Sun
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062390163
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062390165
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harper Paperbacks (April 12, 2016)
Publication date ‏ : ‎ April 12, 201
Print length ‏ : ‎ 384 pages


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