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In a gorgeous quay-side hotel in Cornwall, the long weekend is just beginning . . . Claire Marlowe owns 'The Townhouse by the Sea' with Luca, the hotel's charismatic chef. She ensures everything runs smoothly - until an unexpected arrival checks in and turns her whole world upside down. And the rest of the guests arrive with their own baggage. There's a couple looking for distraction from a family tragedy; a man trying to make amends for an affair he bitterly regrets . . . and the young woman who thinks the Cornish village might hold the key to her past. Here are affairs of the heart, secrets, lies and scandal - all wrapped up in one long, hot weekend.
I've been a big fan of Veronica Henry's books for years, and always really look forward to her books coming out every year as I know I'm guaranteed a great read! Her 2011 release, The Beach Hut was one of my favourite summer reads of last year, and my favourite Veronica Henry book I've read so far. Therefore when I received a copy of her brand new book, The Long Weekend, complete with a beautiful summery cover (something foreign to all of us in the UK at the moment), I was really excited and looking forward to reading this one. From the blurb, it sounded like the sort of thing I would enjoy, and I'm glad to report that I wasn't wrong - it's brilliant!
Claire Marlowe is happily running her beautiful hotel with boyfriend Luca, the hotel's chef, and it seems like life is good. The hotel is a success, and things between the pair seem to be going well too. However, when an arrival from Claire's past checks into the hotel, she is shocked and begins to remember her life before she owned the hotel, and her feelings from the past as well. While Claire is doing this, the stories of the current guests and staff begin to unravel, from Colin and his "friend" who seem to be more than they seem, to young couple Dan and Laura on the hunt for someone very important, to receptionist Angelica whose home life is one she loves to leave behind when she starts work every day. What will the guests and staff get up to on one long weekend? Will things be able to go back to the way they were?
Allow me to warn you now. This book is completely engrossing. I seriously didn't want to stop reading because there was always something happening, and I wanted to find out what was going to happen in the next chapter, so I really had to force myself to put it down every time I had to do something, but I could have easily sat for a day and read the whole thing through in one sitting! There is something about Henry's books that I don't find in other books, and that is the way she transports me away in my head to the location of the book when I'm reading. I was totally in Cornwall with Claire and co. every time I picked that book up, and I felt totally immersed in the characters. There is something about the way she wrote the small town where the hotel is that makes it sound perfect, from the glorious hotel to the lovely views and everything else there - it sounds perfect and it even mentions that magical ingredient missing from our lives at the moment - sunshine!
The characters in this book make it worth reading, because they are great and you genuinely care about their stories and what is happening in their lives. They are all normal people, flawed humans who are trying to make sense of the troubles in their lives in different ways. There's the landlady Claire, whose past is suddenly brought back to the forefront of her mind when someone from her past makes an unexpected arrival in her hotel - I really loved Claire, and I actually preferred her past story to her present, I really got lost in her tale and lost romance, it was so well written and enjoyable to read. Then there is Colin, who has turned up with a friend and her daughter, with a secret he is trying desperately to make amends for without really knowing how. Receptionist Angelica is great at her job, and manager Claire is proud of her, but behind the business facade is a troubled home life she is desperate to run away from. The other characters are young lovers Dan and Laura, hunting a person who could make Laura feel complete, and hotel investors Trevor and Monique who are more than the rich, clueless people they seem to some.
There's a lot of characters in the book but Henry writes them all so well that I never confused with them at all. Each of their stories is an important as the next, covering different themes from lost love, to infidelity and grief. It's all sensitively handled, and the stories happen at just the right pace that they seem believable and like it'd happen that way. It's written in the third person which allows all of these stories to happen at the same time, and Henry seamlessly chops and changes between them all, keeping the action going all the time. The setting of the hotel is great - things happening away from home makes the characters be a little braver than normal, and I enjoyed watching each of the stories slowly unfold. Although Claire is the main protagonist of the book, the one holding it altogether, that doesn't stop the other stories being just as important, and I loved this about it. It was a joy to read from start to finish, I didn't want to leave these characters behind in sunny cornwall, and as usual, Henry has left me wanting much more. An absolute joy, the perfect book to sit down and lose yourself in. Brilliant.
ISBN: 978-1409135463. Published by Orion on 5th July 2012. Pages: 384. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com
Thank you for reading.
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