A pleasure today to share my review of A Little Hotel in Cornwall by Laura Briggs, the first novella in a new series, published today for kindle. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join the promotion, and to both Rachel and Laura for my advance reading e-copy.
I have a definite soft spot for books set in hotels – I really enjoyed Helena Fairfax’s Felicity at the Cross Hotel (review here), and in the acknowledgements I see the author did too: and then there were Lynda Stacey’s excellent romantic suspense books set around Wrea Head Hall, Kathryn Freeman’s wonderful A Little Christmas Faith (review here),and – of course – Caroline James’ The Best Boomerville Hotel (you’ll find my review here). So as I settled outside for the afternoon, enjoying the recent heatwave, I was rather looking forward to this one…
Struggling American waitress and aspiring novelist Maisie Clark dreams of becoming a full-time writer — even though in real life she’s just lost her chance at an exclusive writer’s mentorship program that would give her novel its big break. Desperate, she decides to take a chance and ask her favourite writer, a celebrated but reclusive English novelist, to help her find a second chance. When she receives the author’s reply in an envelope with a Cornish postmark, Maisie decides not to take the writer’s half-hearted ‘no’ for an answer. With nothing to lose, she takes off for the author’s last known location, a beautiful hotel on Cornwall’s western coast.
But when the hotel mistakes her for the latest applicant for a maid’s position, Maisie finds herself given an opportunity too good to lose … and a chance for a summer adventure far bigger than she ever imagined. Surrounded by breathtaking Cornwall and working in an elegant hotel, Maisie’s world becomes one of secret identities, quirky friends, and unintentional mishaps — and despite reminders of past relationship disasters, a certain handsome, charming local resident Sidney Daniels has her conflicted about her heart’s desires, too.
Will Maisie find the chance she’s been waiting for — and a possible new romance — in her perfect Cornish summer?
This book was most certainly a case of “right book, right time” for me. I’ve always thought of novellas as particularly suitable for Christmas reading, when life gets a little busy – but I can confirm that they work equally well when reclining in a deck chair, and I really enjoyed this one. It’s a scant 120 pages long, but the author successfully packs in an endearing story, well-developed characters and a particularly well described Cornish hotel location – and it provides the perfect foundation for the series to follow.
I liked the fact that Maisie is an aspiring writer, searching for her perfect mentor – and I really enjoyed all the references to her writing dreams. All the mistakes and misunderstandings that ensue when she arrives at the hotel in Cornwall are very well done, along with all the characters she encounters. She’s immensely likeable – funny and a little scatty, but with a real warmth to her character – and I loved the various scrapes she gets into as the story progresses, written with a lovely light humour that hits absolutely the right note.
The chance meeting with the ex-boyfriend was an element I really enjoyed – he was never really the man of her dreams, and you do rather wonder what ever drew them together – and his father is quite horrendous and so well drawn. The developing love interest is beautifully handled – again full of misunderstandings, but shaping up rather nicely by the story’s end. And I liked the Doctor Who references that pepper the story – I wasn’t sure at first, but they really work as the theme carries through into Maisie’s unusual gift.
In her preface, the author calls this one “a fictitious, fun, highly-romanticized story designed to help readers escape daily realities”. And it achieved exactly that – although perhaps a little lighter than I would usually have chosen, I really enjoyed it.
About the author
Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.