Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Rating: ★★★

Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s Magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits – staff and guests alike.

But Tilly’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning. Now, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda goes back to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unraveling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel and discovers that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all … Mothers and daughters … their story can be complicated … it can also turn out to have a happy ending.

Review:

Thank you to Ruth Hogan, HarperCollins & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I have heard great things about Ruth Hogan which had me requesting her new novel on NetGalley. I never read a novel of hers before, but I will say that if I choose to, I hope they’re as good as everyone says they are.

There were a lot of important topics that are in Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel. The themes of secrets, anxiety, depression and family were very hard to miss in this novel. If you have mental issues relating to mothers, high anxiety / depression, or other mental health related issues like OCD, I wouldn’t jump right onto this book. There wasn’t really anything appealing or “feel-good” about this for me, unfortunately.

There were two timelines. One is about Tilly, a young girl, and the other is Tilda, the same young girl but older. Tilly’s life is not good, and you can see it in Tilda when you read her side as the older woman. Tilda is quirky and lives a boring life because of what “Tilly” went through. I don’t mind a quirky character, I quite love it actually. However, I couldn’t really connect with Tilly or Tilda and I think this made reading this novel a little harder. When I think of quirky characters, I think of Eleanor Oliphant and this wasn’t anything like that.

I didn’t understand the background really. There weren’t explanations of some of the characters and that made it more confusing. Daniel, a guy in Tilda’s POV, was just too much for this type of novel. We didn’t learn anything about him except that he made food art. There were other people, especially in Tilda’s POV, where I questioned at the end whatever happened to them. It was very puzzling.

I honestly believe that if this story was just about Tilly, I would’ve liked it a lot more. Tilly was great and she was really the best part of this book. It really made it hard to read when the timelines and stories weren’t on the same wavelengths in gaining my attention.

Towards the end, I actually started to enjoy this novel. At about three-quarters of the way through, I wanted to just see how it would end. Ruth Hogan’s writing did pick up towards the end which is where my three-star rating came from.

Overall, I will give Ruth Hogan’s book another try, but I sincerely hope they aren’t so up and down like this one was. I don’t know why Tilly and Tilda’s characters are the way that they are, and I think that it’s a problem since that’s what the book was trying to explain.

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