Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach
Rating: 4 Stars
Description: Just when retired actor Russell "Buffy" Buffery is starting to feel at loose ends he learns that he has inherited an aging Bed and Breakfast in Wales from an old friend. While trying to make the aging business turn a profit with minimal work from him he comes up with a series of "Courses for Divorces" to help people adapt to being suddenly single. As the guests assemble they learn to survive on their own and that maybe the whole "when one door closes another opens" saying is really true.
Why I Picked This Book: I had wanted to watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and actually hadn't realized it was a book. When the publisher approached me about reading the next book by the same author I jumped at the chance.
Pros: This is a great example of a character driven novel. While there's a lot of upheaval in the lives of all the characters this isn't exactly an action packed book. Instead we get to know a group of interesting and flawed people. Amy, Harold, Andy, Monica and the others only have one thing in common - a relationship that has ended relatively recently - but it was fun to watch them all find out how they wanted to be in their own way. There a few times I wanted to reach in and slap Monica or tell Andy to run away fast when we first meet him. Of all of them Buffy is my favorite character. He's a bit shallow and a bit vain and a little lazy but under it all he's truly very kind and just interesting. He's a ladies man without being a creep. He's lazy without being a slug. This is a man that you'd love to have coffee with and would make you laugh till you cried with his observations about the people around you. I wouldn't necessarily want to depend on Buffy for everyday stuff but he's someone you'd want in a crisis. He was very real and very vividly drawn. This isn't a book that pulls you end and takes you for a crazy roller coaster ride. This is more a stroll down a country lane on a warm clear day. It's an ensemble cast so we do jump perspectives a lot but I had no problem following whose story we were seeing at each chapter. All was told in third person and the characters were distinct enough that I didn't feel like I had to stop and remind myself who each person was.
Con: Like most ensemble cast books some characters get slighted a bit and I didn't care for that. I would rather have had 2 books and all the characters got their full wrapped up ending. Instead a few of the plot lines felt a little rushed at the end.
Overall: This book is perfect for a vacation or a stuck at home kind of day. The writing pulled me in from the beginning, the pace is gentle and the chapters are short so that you could pick it up and read little bits at a time if you needed. It's a fun warm read and I look forward to reading Moggach's previous books.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes definitely!
Would I Recommend this Book?: Absolutely! This is a great read for a rainy (or snowy) day!