If you take a close look at the lovely cover of Felicity at the Cross Hotel by Helena Fairfax, you’ll see it says “a feel good uplifting romance for the summer”. Well, it’s been pretty autumnal here in Yorkshire for the last few days, but this book most certainly introduced some summer sunshine – most definitely not just for summer, and a really lovely read.
A romantic 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?
This book was always going to be a hit with me really. Helena visited Being Anne with a great guest post back in July that piqued my interest, The Hotel Inspector is one of my (guilty secret) favourite programmes on TV, I’ve holidayed in the Lake District so many times, and I was really in the mood for a more gentle and uplifting read.
Emmswater might be fictional, but it’s just perfectly drawn – I’m always a fan of location, and from the first glimpse of the lake as Felicity’s car struggled up the hills and she came across a glowering Patrick for the first time, I was totally transported. And if you’ve ever stayed in the Lakes, you’ve probably come across hotels like the Cross Hotel – a little stuck in time, a bit worn at the edges, the smell of roast dinners. Arriving to help out a friend of her mother – although some may expect a whole other agenda from a key member of the Everdene hotel chain – I loved the way her warmth and sparkle won everyone over and had them looking forward to a future that they doubted would ever come to pass.
This is a simply wonderful story about love and loss, moving on, and the importance of family – a thoroughly enjoyable read, as everyone pulls together to turn around the hotel’s fortunes and bring some happiness into a world that had turned a little grey. It’s not all sunshine – there’s greed and villainy too, and much sadness in the background of a few of the beautifully drawn characters. But every time Felicity appears, she brings a smile to your face – even an even bigger smile to the face of Patrick. The characters are all superbly drawn, and not just the key ones – I loved the aggressive friends of absent barmaid Pauline, the suspicious fishmonger, and Willy the policeman too. And the central love story? Totally believable, beautifully developed, and tugs at your heart.
I’m just sorry it’s taken me so long to try Helena Fairfax’s writing – I so enjoyed this one.
My thanks to Helena for my reading e-copy.
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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