Thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow Paperbacks for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date : April 14th, 2020
Synopsis: From the bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes—a novel of mothers and daughters, families and secrets and the astonishing power of friendship.
Tillie was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s Magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits—staff and guests alike.
But Tillie’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to a boarding school with little explanation and no warning. Now, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. When her mother dies, Tilda goes back to Brighton, and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets out to solve the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel, and discovers her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all…Mothers and daughters…their story can be complicated…it can also turn out to have a happy ending.
What initially caught my eye about Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel was the awesome title and visually appealing cover. Then, when I read the synopsis with its description of an intriguing mystery complicated mother-daughter relationship, and wacky guests, well, my requesting it was a forgone conclusion. And for the most part, it did not disappoint.
The story is split into two narratives. That of six-year-old Tilly, and the present day middle-aged Tilda who is struggling with intimacy issues and OCD, which go back to the trauma of her mother inexplicably sending her away all those years ago. While I enjoyed both past and present passages, I have to admit I enjoyed young Tilly much more, although Tilda did grow on me eventually. The secondary characters are delightfully quirky as promised and added an extra layer of fun to an already enjoyable tale.
I truly enjoyed Hogan’s descriptive style of writing which helped bring her story and characters to life without slowing the pace down. While reading I could have sworn I could smell the ocean air and hear the waves crashing on the beach. There were also a few little twists that managed to surprise me before the eminently satisfying ending.
Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel was my first book by Ruth Hogan and it’s left me with the burning desire to scoop up her other books. With its beautifully descriptive setting of seaside Brighton, and a storyline that almost immediately sucks you in, this will hold wide appeal for readers no matter what genre they usually prefer. Its poignant exploration of love and loss is tempered by moments of levity resulting in a multi-layered, memorable read. I highly recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a story that’s a little off the beaten path with enjoyably eccentric characters, and topped off with a splash of the supernatural.