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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Won't take Long to read this!, 6 July 2012
This review is from: The Long Weekend (Paperback)
Claire Marlowe is happily running her beautiful hotel with boyfriend Luca, the hotel's chef, and it seems like life is good. The hotel is a success, and things between the pair seem to be going well too. However, when an arrival from Claire's past checks into the hotel, she is shocked and begins to remember her life before she owned the hotel, and her feelings from the past as well. While Claire is doing this, the stories of the current guests and staff begin to unravel, from Colin and his "friend" who seem to be more than they seem, to young couple Dan and Laura on the hunt for someone very important, to receptionist Angelica whose home life is one she loves to leave behind when she starts work every day. What will the guests and staff get up to on one long weekend? Will things be able to go back to the way they were?

Allow me to warn you now. This book is completely engrossing. I seriously didn't want to stop reading because there was always something happening, and I wanted to find out what was going to happen in the next chapter, so I really had to force myself to put it down every time I had to do something, but I could have easily sat for a day and read the whole thing through in one sitting! There is something about Henry's books that I don't find in other books, and that is the way she transports me away in my head to the location of the book when I'm reading. I was totally in Cornwall with Claire and co. every time I picked that book up, and I felt totally immersed in the characters. There is something about the way she wrote the small town where the hotel is that makes it sound perfect, from the glorious hotel to the lovely views and everything else there - it sounds perfect and it even mentions that magical ingredient missing from our lives at the moment - sunshine!

The characters in this book make it worth reading, because they are great and you genuinely care about their stories and what is happening in their lives. They are all normal people, flawed humans who are trying to make sense of the troubles in their lives in different ways. There's the landlady Claire, whose past is suddenly brought back to the forefront of her mind when someone from her past makes an unexpected arrival in her hotel - I really loved Claire, and I actually preferred her past story to her present, I really got lost in her tale and lost romance, it was so well written and enjoyable to read. Then there is Colin, who has turned up with a friend and her daughter, with a secret he is trying desperately to make amends for without really knowing how. Receptionist Angelica is great at her job, and manager Claire is proud of her, but behind the business facade is a troubled home life she is desperate to run away from. The other characters are young lovers Dan and Laura, hunting a person who could make Laura feel complete, and hotel investors Trevor and Monique who are more than the rich, clueless people they seem to some.

There's a lot of characters in the book but Henry writes them all so well that I never confused with them at all. Each of their stories is an important as the next, covering different themes from lost love, to infidelity and grief. It's all sensitively handled, and the stories happen at just the right pace that they seem believable and like it'd happen that way. It's written in the third person which allows all of these stories to happen at the same time, and Henry seamlessly chops and changes between them all, keeping the action going all the time. The setting of the hotel is great - things happening away from home makes the characters be a little braver than normal, and I enjoyed watching each of the stories slowly unfold. Although Claire is the main protagonist of the book, the one holding it altogether, that doesn't stop the other stories being just as important, and I loved this about it. It was a joy to read from start to finish, I didn't want to leave these characters behind in sunny cornwall, and as usual, Henry has left me wanting much more. An absolute joy, the perfect book to sit down and lose yourself in. Brilliant.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Jul 2012 09:20:57 BDT
Please stop giving away the whole storyline on all the books you review.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jul 2012 10:31:12 BDT
I haven't given away any more than on the blurb, merely commenting on what the characters are going through in the book isn't revealing the whole storyline!! The author herself has read this review and loved it, she didn't tell me there were any spoilers, which there certainly aren't.
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