#BookReview Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

About the book

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.

Published by Two Roads

Publication Date – 7th February 2019

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £11.39

waterstones   £14.99

MY REVIEW

This was a beautifully written story that centres around family relationships, mental health and the consequences of not being truthful to those you love. For me it didn’t quite have the emotional impact as The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes, but still made for an engaging, enthralling and thought provoking read.

I love the fact that we got to see the story from both a young perspective and that of an adult, and how times changes and perceptions can deceive you. Young Tilly is the perfect example of a Daddy’s girl and is devastated when her father goes away and is left with a mother who she thinks doesn’t care about her, and that belief is reinforced when she is sent away to school.

When Tilly grows up she still holds on to that resentment and never has a close relationship with her mother, so when she returns following the death of her mother she is confronted with a mix of emotions as she talks to neighbours, and starts to look back at things with the help of the diaries of her mother that she finds. Tilda shares many traits with her father, and that of her mother too and it’s only when she starts to see her mother as a person, and not the ogre that she remembers, that she starts to really find out who she was, and that helps clear the picture of just who Tilda is as well.

There’s a wonderful cast of characters that the author creates, and the little details in descriptions really help things ping to life and makes the world of Tilda and the way her mind works feel even more real. The struggles she goes through when confronted with a past different to how she saw it is such a fascinating one and makes you warm to her as a character even more. Highly recommended.

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My thanks to the author, publisher and netgalley for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review. 

#BookReview The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan #20booksofsummer

About the book

Masha is drowning.

Once a spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak, her life has been forever changed by a tragic event twelve years ago.

Unable to let go of her grief, she finds solace in the silent company of the souls of her local Victorian cemetery and at the town’s lido, where she seeks refuge underwater – safe from the noise and the pain.

But a chance encounter with two extraordinary women – the fabulous and wise Kitty Muriel, a convent girl-turned-magician’s wife-turned-seventy-something-roller-disco-fanatic, and the mysterious Sally Red Shoes, a bag lady with a prodigious voice – opens up a new world of possibilities, and the chance to start living again.

Until the fateful day when the past comes roaring back..

Published by Two Roads

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

Adding this to the list of books that left me sobbing!! And I wasn’t expecting that from this book going in! Having loved The Keeper of Lost Things I have been eager to read this, and a little scared too, but my fears were soon put to rest with another stunning book from Ruth Hogan that just captures human emotions in such astonishing detail.The striking start so beautifully staged had me hooked immediately.

It’s the story of 2 women – both suffering at what life has thrown their way, but both surviving…. just. Masha is living with loss. A huge tragedy changed her life 12 years ago, and now she finds peace by hanging out at the local cemetery, and counts those departed as her friends alongside the character of Sally who is always there feeding the crows. She imagines their lost lives with clarity, and when she’s not there she is at the local Lido, practicing drowning.

Alice is a single mother and dealing with a son growing up and all that brings with it. She is trying her best but life is throwing curve balls her way too and she is consumed by worries for life for her son Mattie and what will happen to him in the future.

This book looks long and hard about our attitudes to death, grieving and how that has changed over the years. The author wasn’t afraid of confronting the subject head on, and introduced some lovely characters along the way to help those grieving make sense of the world again and deal with their losses. Sometimes help comes from those we expect it from less.

And two quotes in the book stuck with me….

‘Life is full of small joys if you know where to look for them’

‘I find the living far more alarming’

At times this was heartbreaking – hence the tears as i read! – but it was also full of so much joy and inspiration that these characters become part of you and you end up cheering every positive step they take, alongside sobbing along with them when things all become too much. Wonderful!!

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