Title: Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel
Author: Ruth Hogan
Publisher: John Murray Press
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.
This is an enjoyable, sweet and poignant read, addressing the importance of family, mental health and childhood.
If you’re into plot-driven novels then perhaps this isn’t for you, as it very much focuses on characters – namely Tilly and her mother, plus the colourful characters in their lives as Tilly grows up. It’s moves along at a fairly slow but definitely enjoyable pace, flicking between the present day, with Tilly as an adult having just lost her mum, and Tilly as a child, growing up with a struggling mother and absent father. We also see some of her mother’s thoughts, told through her diary which Tilly reads, and this adds another voice and perspective to the story.
I really liked the simple way that Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel is written, but with the addition of the dual narratives it makes for an interesting read. The characters are likable and fun – and very nice, there’s not really anyone I properly disliked in this book – and the story is sweet and emotional. One to enjoy when you fancy something lovely and heartfelt.
Many thanks to John Murray Press for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
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