By J. P. O’Connell
Published by Simon and Schuster
What it’s about?
Check in to a world of glamour, elegance and intrigue…
A heady historical drama about a British family who open an upper-class hotel on the magical Italian Riviera during the ‘Roaring 20s’.
Hotel Portofino has been open for only a few weeks, but already the problems are mounting for its owner Bella Ainsworth. Her high-class guests are demanding and hard to please. And she’s being targeted by a scheming and corrupt local politician, who threatens to drag her into the red-hot cauldron of Mussolini’s Italy.
To make matters worse, her marriage is in trouble, and her children are still struggling to recover from the repercussions of the Great War. All eyes are on the arrival of a potential love match for her son Lucian, but events don’t go to plan, which will have far reaching consequences for the whole family.
Set in the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera, Hotel Portofino is a story of personal awakening at a time of global upheaval and of the liberating influence of Italy’s enchanting culture, climate and cuisine on British ‘innocents abroad’, perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and The Crown.
What I think:
This book is so atmospheric you are instantly transported to the Italian Riveria.
Bella Ainsworth is a force of nature. Bright and resilient, she opens her dream hotel in Portofino with the hope of having her gaming fresh start after the horrors of the First World War.
The hotel has been lovinging restored and redecorated to give English holiday makers a luxury home away from home.
The story is based around one summer and the guests that come to stay. These range from demanding aristocrats, rich Americans and famous sports stars.
With the Ainsworth family, the hotel staff and a variety of locals, this book has a huge cast of characters. But each has a distinct voice and the reader quickly gets to knowbthem all and the complex dynamics between them.
There are some that you will love straight away, some that you hate, and some that grow on you as you get to learn about their pasts.
The book is filled period detail and local politics. The Mussolini’s fascists are in the rise and the underground resistance is forming. The old guard are clinging to conventions, titles and arranged marriages while society is changing. There is love and friendship, grief and loss, laughter and despair, secrets and intrigue.
This has a real feel of Downton Abbey with a sprinkling of Agatha Christie mystery.
I absolutely loved Bella and would really like her story to continue so really hope there’s a sequel.
A great read – perfect for some winter escapism.
About the author:
J.P. O’Connell is a writer and editor who lives in South London. He was previously Books Editor for Time Out magazine, and has written for a variety of newspapers including The Guardian, The Times and the Daily Telegraph.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK for my gifted copy of the book and to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting mw to be a part of this blog tour.