It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the blog blitz for A Little Hotel in Cornwall: Books 1-8 by Laura Briggs – all eight novellas in her UK bestselling series are now available in one collection! Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me (and for her support).
Follow aspiring young author Maisie Clark as she stumbles into a role as a maid in the idyllic hotel by the sea, where there’s never a dull moment, from her quest to track down a reclusive English novelist, to her brush with jewel thieves and a whirlwind trip through Paris and London to name a few. All the while, she finds herself falling for the handsome and enigmatic groundskeeper Sidney Daniels. Could the key to unlocking her dreams be right in front of her?
This collection contains A Little Hotel in Cornwall, A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores, Sea Holly and Mistletoe Kisses, The Cornish Secret of Summer’s Promise, A Train from Penzance to Paris, A Cornish Daisy’s Kiss, A Stargazy Night Sky, and The Cornish Key to Happiness.
I wish I could tell you that I’ve read every single book in this lovely series, but I just found it impossible to keep up and still read and review just a few books from other authors too! But I can still remember how much I enjoyed the first book, also called A Little Hotel in Cornwall. Let me share my review once more…
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.
I just couldn’t manage to fit in the next two parts, A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores and Sea Holly and Mistletoe Kisses – those links are to a couple of lovely guest posts from Laura. But I was delighted to revisit the series just once more for the fourth, The Cornish Secret of Summer’s Promise – here’s my earlier review again…
I’ll admit that this book wasn’t at all what I was expecting – but in nothing but a good way! Maisie finds herself tangled up in the aftermath of a diamond heist, helping out the enigmatic detective from the insurance company, doing some detective work of her own, trying to prove the innocence of the lovely Sidney while discovering she knows rather less about his past than she thought she did. It’s a cosy crime really, but alongside the twists and turns of the plot about the theft – which has more than a few surprises – there’s also a continuation of Maisie’s journey to being a published writer, with perhaps even more surprises.
The hotel setting is beautifully captured, as is the wider community of Port Hewer. And the characters are excellent – Maisie herself is tremendously endearing and likeable, and I particularly liked the small cameos the author introduces of other staff members, guests and local characters. There’s a lightness about the writing, with some lovely touches of humour, all well-judged – I particularly liked the repeated reappearance of the bodice-ripper novel by Lady Marverly in different hands, everyone denying that they were reading it.
There might be just a tad less romance in this book than in author’s others, but the choice Maisie needs to make as the story plays out more than compensates for that, and actually made me a little tearful.
This is a story with a real difference, very well told. I rather enjoyed the ins and outs of the crime investigation, the bit of tension and uncertainty introduced – and I loved the characters, the surprises and the unexpected twists. A lovely escapist read, and recommended by me.
Sadly, those are the only reviews I’m able to share – but I did have the pleasure of Laura’s company on the publication of Train from Penzance to Paris and A Cornish Daisy’s Kiss, and shared a lovely extract on publication of the seventh book, A Stargazy Night Sky (those links are to my posts). I’d really hoped I could fit in the reading of the last in series, The Cornish Key to Happiness – it sadly wasn’t to be, but I was delighted that Laura joined me with a guest post on what she’ll miss most about writing the series (you’ll find it here).
It’s lovely to see that all eight novellas are now available as a collection – wishing you every success with it Laura!
With thanks to Laura and Rachel, I’m delighted to offer the chance to win a paperback copy of A Little Hotel in Cornwall: Books 1-8 and a scarf with cover art from the series printed on it (open to UK and US only). Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
Terms and Conditions UK & US entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the author
Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, 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 and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.