Wendy Francis returns to the blog with a story of a week in a posh hotel on the Boston Waterfront, and four perspectives from the people who were there with
The Seafarer Hotel on the Boston waterfront is and was the place to see and be seen: exclusive, expensive and luxurious, the newly installed manager: Jean-Paul is bringing a sense of the French and European flair to the hotel that brought he and his new wife and baby girl to the city. We also have a college lector and doctoral student Jason, on a romantic week to celebrate his birthday with his girlfriend Gwen. Engaged couple Riley and Tom are there with Tom’s mother, planning a reception and wedding that isn’t quite how the two ‘planned’ on in their dream scenario, and lastly there is Clare: widowed only a year and in hot water with her job as a reporter in Providence – she’s there to relax, look up her first real love for answers to ‘what if’ and just soak in the atmosphere. But one afternoon, as Riley and Tom are sampling a tasting menu, Claire is relaxing, and Jean-Paul is wondering how to bring the smile back to his wife – a woman lands on the patio floor from a balcony above.
We follow the stories of the four people – from interior thoughts and dreams, to secrets, to their conversations and connections with one another: from the mundane passing in the halls, to deeper conversations where secrets are shared and worries discussed. From the eldest (Clare) to the youngest (Riley) each has a hope and a dream centered on the summer, the setting and the potential of ‘newness’. Where Clare struggles with her own aging, loneliness and the what if about choices made years earlier, Riley is missing her mother, wanting the simplicity of her dream wedding and struggling with a connection that doesn’t quite feel comfortable with her soon to be mother-in-law. Jason is struggling with the secrets he’s keeping, his lack of interest in continuing to pursue his doctorate and dealing with anger and control issues that stem from his childhood and threaten his relationship. Jean-Paul is dealing with long hours, a newborn daughter, a wife who knows no-one in the city and seems to be suffering from depression and now, with the unexplained death (suicide or murder) even more stress on his plate.
Francis takes the time to delve into the issues of the moment that are most pertinent to each character’s story, and allows them to play out as relationships change, move and grow. With the setting of the hotel and its luxurious spaces, a bit of travel through Boston, and plenty of moments to love – the story has something for everything, and plenty of growth, change and moments where each shine. A great escape read where a week on the Boston waterfront can seemingly transform lives and outlooks long after the last page is turned.
Title: Summertime Guests: A Novel
Author: Wendy Francis
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Ensemble Cast, Dual Narration, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Mystery Elements, Older Heroine / Hero, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: American
Published by: Graydon House
Published on: 6 April, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 23 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
THE SEAFARER IS THE PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN IN THE SUMMER...
With its rich history and famous guests, the glamorous Boston hotel is no stranger to drama. But the bustle at the iconic property reaches new heights one weekend in mid-June when someone falls tragically to her death, the event rippling through the lives of four very different people.
Bride-to-be Riley is at the hotel to plan her wedding. She would have preferred a smaller, more intimate celebration, but her bossy mother-in-law has taken charge and her fiancé hasn’t seemed to notice. Jean-Paul, the hotel’s manager, is struggling to keep his marriage and new family afloat, but now he must devote all his energy to this latest scandal at work. Claire, recently widowed, comes to town to connect with a long-lost love, but has too much changed in the last thirty years? And then there’s Jason, whose romantic getaway with his girlfriend has not exactly gone the way he'd hoped and instead has him facing questions he can't bring himself to answer.
Over three sun-drenched days, as the truth about the woman who died—and the secret she was hiding—is uncovered, these four strangers become linked in the most unexpected of ways. Together, they just might find the strength they need to turn their own lives around.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.