I have enjoyed every Ruth Hogan book I've read so far, so had big hopes for this latest novel. And, joy of joys, it was another good 'un!
Tilda returns to her mother's house after she dies, and is awash with emotion - it's clear from the start that their relationship was fractious. Through the dual perspectives of Tilda as a grown-up and her younger self (Tilly) we realise that her father is absent and that her mother is hiding a whole lot of emotion behind a mask of disinterest and disapproval.
Along the way, we're taken to the Paradise Hotel - a place where finally, Tilly and her mother seem to find some sort of peace; mainly thanks to the larger-than-life Queenie Malone and the other guests.
Unlike Ruth Hogan's other books, there are no major reveals or twists in this book (though there are a few minor ones); instead, the focus is very much upon emotions. It's evident that mental health is a theme in this book, and it's explored sensitively and honestly.
In fact, this is one of the things I appreciate most about this author; she has a frank, unfussy narrative style that gets to the heart of the matter. Nothing is dressed up in fancy prose or waffling description; instead, she strips all that nonsense out and works on just telling the story as it really is. I LIKE this a lot.
The characters are also gloriously full of life and verve; with their quirks and foibles. Sometimes they're perhaps a little kinder than people would be in real life - but I don't have a problem with this. The slightly rose-tinted spectacles worked for me.
Overall, a very enjoyable, immersive read with all the nice feels attached.
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