Ruth Hogan comes to the blog for the US Release of a lovely tale of loss and redemption with dashes of magic and childlike wonder thrown in with
Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel
The second book I’ve read (although the third from this author), I’ve got her second novel on the shelf for when I need something utterly different yet familiar, heartfelt yet challenging to read. This is the story of Tilly (or Tilda), and told in two perspectives: the child of Tilly and the now adult Tilda – and how she reconciles her grief and the secrets she has come to learn about her parents, while searching for answers of how she and her mother came to such difficult times. Taking the perspective of Tilly – a fairly happy, quirky and occasionally odd child who sees ghosts and is followed by the specter of Eli, a dog that has ‘adopted’ her. Truly a ‘Daddy’s Girl” her every moment is spent reminiscing and waiting for her father’s return – where they would share secret moments before the storm that was her mother would erupt.
As Tilda, she is now dealing with the death of her mother and all the questions that have been lingering for years – questions that will now go unanswered, as the only person to ask is gone. But there is a box of diaries, diaries that will help Tilda to ‘re-remember’ the past and perhaps see her questions answered from the information within the diary. Still accompanied by Eli, but now with a few new people in her circle, most importantly Daniel the café owner and her crush, Tilda is socially awkward, prone to asking unusual questions, and undecided about finding answers or remembering her life as it was.
There is so much to unpack in this story, but it all unfolds gently as Tilda and Tilly reveal their life – from childhood to the present: reconnecting with old friends, finding support from her ‘visits’ with the dead, and discovering the real reason that she and her mother ended up staying with Queenie, as well as why her mother sent her away to boarding school. Tilda is simply searching for some closure and a way to deal with her questions, and this is what brings her so prominently into readers’ hearts – everyone wants those opportunities for answers and peace. Now I have to decide these few days later, about a story that I’m still piecing my reactions together – for it was wholly unexpected and unfolded in ways that brought the magic forward, and captured my attention. It’s not a perfect story, there is an abundance of metaphors and several that feel cliched, but a cliché is simply a moment captured in words that EVERYone can relate to – and this story has more of these moments, even with the incorporeal, than one has a right to expect. Touching on mental health, compulsion, alcoholism, grief, isolation and even the desire to connect despite the fear – it’s a story that takes time to settle down and reveal its magic even as you find moments popping up days later. I think for the unique qualities, the development and reveal of Tilly/Tilda, and the growth of the history of her story as it fills in from both ends (childhood and present) the story allows an entrée into a life that transports us from magical moments to more mundane, but is always informing and allowing us to find answers just as Tilda does – mixing the reality with the ‘fantastical’ and coming out the other end with a new favorite.
Title: Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel
Author: Ruth Hogan
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Dual Narration, Family Saga, Friendship, Ghosts, Grief, Humor elements, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Mental Health, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 14 April, 2020
Source: Avon Addict, Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 9 Hours
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
From the wildly popular bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things comes a surprising and uplifting story about the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, and the magic of chosen family.
Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who loved fizzy drinks, naughty words, and liked playing with ghosts and matches. When her beloved father suddenly disappeared, she and her fragile, difficult mother moved into Queenie Malone’s magnificent Paradise Hotel in Brighton, with its endearing and loving family of misfits—including the exuberant and compassionate Queenie herself. But then Tilly was dealt another shattering blow when her mother sent her off to boarding school with little explanation and no warning, and she lost her beloved chosen family.
Now an adult, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only true friend is her dog, Eli. When her estranged mother dies, Tilda returns to Brighton and the home she loved best. With the help of the still-dazzling Queenie, she sets about unraveling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel, only to discover that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all…and that it’s never too late to write your own happy ending.
A copy of this title was provided via Avon Addict, Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.