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Monday, March 11, 2019

Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel

Title: Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel
Author: Ruth Hogan
Publisher: 12th February 2019 by Hachette
Pages: 336 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: general fiction, contemporary
My Rating: 4 crowns

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.
Tilly 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 Tilly's childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she'd ever loved to 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. But when her mother dies, Tilda goes back to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unraveling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel and discovers that 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.
My Thoughts

‘I am here to pick over the bones of my mother's life like some sort of domestic vulture; deciding which linen, china and furniture are worth keeping, and which should be consigned to the charity shops’

I love Ruth Hogan’s writing. Her book, The Keeper of Lost Things’ (review HERE) was extraordinary, so I was excited to embark on another reading journey with Ruth at the helm. Her writing is pure and simple, yet leaves you with a full heart. She most definitely has a way with words especially considering it’s not about always about plot but character and relationships. I particularly appreciated her shining a spotlight on mental health in this particular tale.

‘Maybe I am mad, and yes, maybe I will get hurt, but isn't it about time to take a risk? I'm sick of being careful and hiding who I really am.’

This is a wonderful story all about family relationships over time and the impact of being truthful to those you care about. It really is a thought provoking read just from that aspect alone. It alternates (seamless shifts and connections between timelines I might add) between a young Tilly and the grown up Tilda and this provides insightful perceptions of the impact of change over time. Tilda holds onto much resentment towards her mother and only after her mother dies and she is sorting things out, does Tilda come to see events from a different perspective.

‘I can still see her hair blowing in the wind and her dress billowing. She was so beautiful and I was so proud of her. So where did it all go so terribly, irrevocably wrong?’

Tilly was always closer to her father and only upon her mother’s death and with the help of friends and neighbours can she see events of the past through fresh eyes. The diaries she reads help Tilda to understand her mother more as a person and appreciate how it was for her and ultimately form the person Tilda was to become herself. This struggle to reconcile a past she thought she understood, to how things really were is fascinating. Combine that with a fabulous cast of characters and you have an engaging read.

‘I am going to use the best cutlery, the best crockery and the best glasses every day. I am not going to die with my best party dress still unworn on its hanger.’

If you have never read a Ruth Hogan book, I suggest you give it a go and read one sooner rather than later.

‘These days I remember my childhood like an old cine film shot in soft focus mellowed by distance and nostalgia, that jumps and jerks from one frame to another. Some of the characters are just shadows in the background, some have starring roles and others are out of the frame altogether. Bits of the film are missing or blurred and it is shot entirely from one perspective.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

1 comment:

Mystica said...

This one has just got archived on Netgalley but I've been able to get another book by the same author. New author and new book for me.