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[personal profile] feather_ghyll
The Honeymoon Hotel: Hester Browne. Quercus. 2014.

I found this more successful than a lot of books in this vein, because the characterisation actually works, here. Usually the heroine becomes insuuportably stupid for the plot and romantic tension’s sake.

Here, the chief love story is arguably between Rosie and the Bonneville Hotel, where she’s the events manager, but mainly responsible for co-ordinating the weddings for which the London hotel is famous. She’s also covering for the general manager, as the hotel owner, Lawrence is too much of a hypochondriac to do much, like find an official replacement.

Like best friend Helen, Rosie is throwing herself into her job and bemoaning her boyfriend’s failings before making excuses for him. She decides that if she can get the job of manager and the resulting pay bump, she may be able to afford a deposit on a shared flat with boyfriend Dominic and that will make their relationship stronger. It only means booking a certain number of weddings, one of them involving publicity-garnering celebrities, dealing with tearful brides, defusing best men’s bad ideas and making sure everything is just as it should be. It seems do-able until Joe, Lawrence’s son, turns up from the US.

From their first meeting, he throws perfectionist Rosie off her game – usually by arguing the exact opposite of what she believes, like asking brides and, worse, even grooms, what they’d like to do on their wedding day and trying to accommodate it, instead of guiding them away from tastelessness, which is Rosie’s MO.

Now the reader is aware of the horrible event in Rosie’s past that has helped to make her a rigid workaholic and that she still has her dreams, because Rosie is the witty narrator. I also liked the judicious timing of the book. Rosie wakes up and realises how horrible Dominic, her restaurant writer boyfriend, is before the reader has lost all patience with her. He truly is dreadful – the way he purloins all of Rosie’s best lines for his reviews is the least of it.

There is romance – Rosie falls a little in lust with Joe, but then they both have to contend with their very different approaches to life as they’re forced to work together, leaving Rosie a little concerned she’s got a rival for her dream job. As they both see the other’s strengths and become friends and, indeed, a team along with energetic Gemma and all Rosie’s other colleagues, perhaps Rosie may even find her way to a healthier relationship with the hotel in her life.

It’s a breezy read – the weddings are generally crazy and over the top and it’s a glossy look at the hospitality industry in modern-day London – but I found I didn’t have to make allowances and could just turn the pages for a good read, as was the case with the author’s the author’s The Vintage Girl (reviewed here). It’s really about Rosie growing, working out what she wants and what’s good for her and, like her friend Helen, finding happiness.


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October 2017


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