It’s always just a little bit more of a pleasure to feature an author when you’ve had the pleasure of meeting them. It was lovely to spend some time with Helena Fairfax at the Book Connectors lunch in Leeds, when I realised (to my shame…) how a couple of her books had sat unread on my kindle for far too long. That won’t happen with her latest though – Felicity at the Cross Hotel looks so much like a book I’d enjoy (and isn’t that cover just gorgeous?), and it’s firmly in my diary for a September read. The perfect book for you too maybe?
A quaint hotel in the Lake District. The Cross Hotel is the perfect getaway. Or is it?
Felicity Everdene needs a break from the family business. Driving through the Lake District to the Cross Hotel, past the shining lake and the mountains, everything seems perfect. But Felicity soon discovers all is not well at the Cross Hotel…
Patrick Cross left the village of Emmside years ago never intending to return, but his father has left him the family’s hotel in his will, and now he’s forced to come back. With a missing barmaid, a grumpy chef, and the hotel losing money, the arrival of Felicity Everdene from the notorious Everdene family only adds to Patrick’s troubles.
With so much to overcome, can Felicity and Patrick bring happiness to the Cross Hotel … and find happiness for themselves?
Ooh, I’m so looking forward to this one! But until I can get round to reading, I’m delighted to welcome author Helena Fairfax to Being Anne with a lovely guest post on how writers crush dreams…
When I was a child, I dreamed of one day becoming a published author. For many years I thought my dream was just that – only a dream, and never destined to become reality. Although I loved to write, I thought getting published wasn’t for the likes of me.
Having a book in print was always something other people did. It wasn’t until much later in life that I realised there was absolutely nothing stopping me from achieving my dream, apart from belief in myself.
But what if the one thing stopping you achieving your dream isn’t yourself, but the person you love most in life? What if you have to make a choice between pursuing your dream and being with that person? This is the sort of decision in a romance novel which – although heartbreaking for the protagonists – will keep the reader turning the pages, totally enthralled in the characters’ dilemma.
The best stories – and the best romance novels – hinge on conflict. The typical romance is girl meets boy…but if the girl and boy are so obviously made for one another, then what is it that is keeping them apart? Why can’t they be together from the first scene? It’s the skill of the writer – and the writer’s cruelty to the characters – that keeps the two protagonists from being able to declare their love.
All great romance novels involve some form of conflict between the hero and heroine, but I find the conflict between their love for each other and pursuing their own dreams is the most heartbreaking of all. This is why I loved the film La La Land. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) dreams of opening a jazz club. Jazz music is more than just a hobby for him – it’s his passion, and he’s obsessed with keeping the old traditions of jazz music from dying. Mia (Emma Stone) dreams of becoming an actress. She gave up college for her dream, and being in the movies is everything she’s ever worked for. At first, Sebastian and Mia are able to support each other in the pursuit of their dreams, but as success beckons, they are forced to make heartbreaking choices.
In my novel Felicity at the Cross Hotel, the hero, Patrick Cross, has already succeeded in getting everything he wants in life. He is literally “living the dream” – working in the Caribbean as owner of a dive school. When Patrick’s father dies, leaving him the family hotel in the Lake District, Patrick intends to stay only as long as it takes to put the hotel back on its feet and to leave his mother provided for. That is, until the heroine, Felicity Everdene, arrives at the hotel in her old banger of a car, and suddenly Patrick isn’t so certain about what he wants in life…
As for Felicity (Fliss), her dream is to own her own family hotel – and the Cross Hotel would fit the bill to a tee. Patrick knows all too well that Fliss comes with the baggage of her unscrupulous father – a ruthless businessman who’ll stop at nothing to snap up an ailing business. By the end of the story, it seems only Patrick himself is standing in the way of Fliss’s dreams…
Fliss and Patrick both go through a hard time and have to make some difficult choices. Writers have to be unkind to their characters sometimes – even with a feel good read…!
Lovely post, Helena – thank you so much for joining me today. I’ll be reviewing Felicity at the Cross Hotel here on Being Anne in September… promise!
About the author
Helena Fairfax is a British author who was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She’s grown used to the cold now which is just as well, since these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in the north of England, right next door to the windswept Yorkshire moors. Helena walks this romantic landscape every day with her rescue dog, finding it the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings.
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