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4.0 out of 5 stars
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4.0 out of 5 stars
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I've read a few of Deborah Moggach's books, and have thought them mostly ok but nothing spectacular. I did, however, really like Heartbreak Hotel. It's a witty and entertaining story, with great characterisations and I loved every minute of it.

In it, Buffy inherits a ramshackle B&B in Wales and gives up his London life to go and run it. He holds courses for divorces, which are courses for people who want to learn a skill that their ex-partner had such as car maintenance, gardening, cooking etc. I loved the various characters and although nothing ever went to plan in terms of the courses, they mostly went away from the B&B feeling fulfilled.

This is an excellent read and one which I would highly recommend for making a reader smile.
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on 22 November 2013
Very enjoyable, if somewhat confusing. This hotel is what we need so long as clean bedding is avalable! I got the impression that none of the visitors wanted change and were very happy for it to be the happy boozer it became. It is suggested that this place to talk of their heartbreak and life problems is the way forward for counselling.
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on 27 June 2017
Great read, with a good story line.
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on 22 April 2013
I enjoyed this book it was a good easy read with lots of diverse characters. My only gripe was the bad language which didn't seem to fit in. It was as if the author thought she needed to sprinkle a few in to spice up the story like adding salt to am already tasty meal.
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on 6 November 2013
While it is lightweight and probably more for women, I found this a very pleasing read and was sorry when it ended.
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on 16 October 2013
A nice read, with definite overtones of the Marigold Hotel book. It is a good holiday type of book and I enjoyed it. I will look for her next one.
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on 13 April 2017
great
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on 10 April 2013
I am reading this at the moment so cannot give you my views on whether it is a good book or not. So far all ok! Thank you very much.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 December 2013
What a delight to meet old Buffy again, at 70 nine years older than when we met him in The Ex-Wives (see my review), and Deborah Moggach's warm and earthy humour has not faded either in the twenty years since the earlier novel was published. Or at least this is this is true of the first half of the book.

Buffy is tired of modern London where familiar areas are constantly being redeveloped and where life-styles seem to him to be becoming steadily seedier. So when a comfortable old flame has died and left him her B&B in "Knockton", an old-fashioned friendly little market-town just inside Wales, he decides to move there and run the guest-house himself. The place is distinctly run down and Buffy is impractical - a sturdy local woman does the essential work - and it attracts only a few passing guests. But Buffy is the sort of person to whom guests tell their problems - in one case a wife complains that her husband doesn't know how to talk to women. Now that is something that the much-married Buffy has always been good at, and it occurs to him to earn a little extra money by running residential courses helping divorced people to cope. He would recruit locals to teach people to do the things for which they had always relied on their ex-partners - one week devoted to learning about the inside of cars, another week to cooking, another to gardening. Buffy himself would run a course called How to Talk to Women.

In the first half of the book the chapters about Buffy are interspersed with initially unrelated chapters, each a gem in itself, about Londoners whose marriages or relationships have broken up and who feel lonely, bereft and incompetent: Monica (64), Amy (31), Harold (56) and Andy(40).

Of course they all eventually end up on Courses for Divorces, and, for various reasons, they find such attraction in Knockton that they come to live there. On the first course it is only Amy, together with eight other people we have not met before and who are seen, as it were, from the outside rather than from the inside, and new characters keep on being introduced. I have to say that now, about half-way through the novel, the book loses most of its subtlety, the humour slips from time to time into stereotypes and farce; there are a lot of couplings by people of all ages (Moggach is good on the longings and misgivings of elderly singletons); and the plotting seems to be rather formulaic. At the happy ending even Buffy's surviving ex-wives turn up, and the house is full of his very extended family. It's all warm-hearted - and the last three pages are, tongue-in-cheek, totally incredible.
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This book follows the tried and tested route of introducing the reader to a group of individuals and then bringing them together. At the start of this book I was reminded of Maeve Binchy's books but it soon became obvious that although the book was good enough, it isn't in the same league as Maeve Binchy's works.
Buffy, an elderly, overweight ex-actor is left a B & B in Wales by an old landlady from his touring days as an actor. He ups sticks from a London that he no longer recognises to live in a small, very welcoming village in Wales. He opens up the B & B with the support of Voda, his wide variety of children and step-children and finally the guests themselves. This book follows the story of Buffy and some of the individual guests.
I did enjoy this book and found it amusing in places. However, I would rate it as a very light read without the depth of plot or characterisation of the author's acclaimed "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel".
The major problem with the book was that the author attempted to fit in far too many characters and their stories. The consequence of which was that the plot and characters became very superficial. Several of the characters are introduced quite near the start of the book with descriptions of their life and relationship failures. However, by the time it came for them to be reintroduced upon their arrival at the hotel I couldn't quite remember who was who and found myself checking back for the details. Not only did the reader have to keep track of the hotel guests, they also had local characters and Buffy's extensive extended family to contend with. I never felt as if I got to know any of the characters though there were some glimpses in the character of Buffy. Had the author reduced the number of characters and allowed the reader to really get to know them then this book would have been much better.
The chapters have a person's name at the start so that the reader is aware that we are following that person's story for the duration of the chapter. I find that authors usually adopt this style in order for the reader to see the events from the perspective of different characters. This can be immensley useful particularly when the same event is viewed from differing viewpoints. I don't feel that this style worked in this book. The author didn't allow the characters to develop enough for the reader to get in the skin of a particular character. It would have been just the same had she not bothered with this.
Although I enjoyed this book for what it was, I did feel that it could have been so much better. Having very much enjoyed "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" where the author shows great depth of understanding for her characters and dealt very well with their feelings on aging, I felt a bit short-changed that she hadn't achieved this in Heartbreak Hotel.
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