The Hotel on Mulberry Bay by Melissa Hill

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The Hotel on Mulberry Bay by Melissa Hill

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: Two sisters work together to save a very special hotel from ruin and create a successful family business. Will it bring them together or tear them apart?
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 416 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1471127717

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Penny and Elle Harte are sisters, but they couldn't be more different. The two had an idyllic childhood, brought up in the family hotel in the scenic Irish coastal town of Mulberry Bay. Ambitious Elle always had the urge to spread her wings and fly, whereas her dreamy younger sister was content to stay at home and help her parents out in the hotel. As time passed, the sisters no longer had the close bond they once shared, especially with Elle living in London, enjoying her successful and demanding role as an architect. A family tragedy brings the sisters together once more; however, and family loyalties are tested as never before.

The Hotel on Mulberry Bay is set in a picturesque Irish seaside town where all of the residents know each other and nothing remains a secret for long. Elle and Penny have inherited the Bay Hotel, which is in a very poor condition and losing money fast. Selling is not an option, as there are too many memories tied up in the place and the hotel is the beating heart of the community. The sisters have a plan to restore the hotel to its former glory, but it's going to take cash: lots of it. It's up to the Harte girls to rally the community together in a bid to save their beloved hotel.

The story is a gentle and light read that provides a perfect means to relax and unwind. The coastal village location was delightful and the descriptions of the hotel, spellbinding. I loved the dynamic between the two sisters and how their broken relationship was gradually restored; just like the hotel itself. Add a sprinkling of romance for the girls in the form of a charming English author and a lovelorn handyman, and the result is an uplifting tale to warm the heart.

The story also has an interesting side-plot concerning a lost Beatles album collection. We learn in an interview with the author that this was inspired by a real-life event, as her father sold his prized records when she was a baby in order to keep the family afloat financially. Because parts of the book are based on the author's own life experiences, it becomes clear that she has invested a lot of emotion into creating her characters and this in turn, allows the reader to care about them too.

Those looking for action, thrills and twists need not look here. The story is a slow burner and follows a pleasant, but predictable route towards its end. Sometimes it can feel a little too slow, but this is balanced out by the beautiful writing and some genuinely memorable moments that are sure to have readers reaching for the tissue box.

The Hotel on Mulberry Bay serves up a mouthwatering slice of escapism, an idyllic world where the pace of life is slower and everyone cares about each other. Let's face it; isn't that what most of us want? Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy.

For more heart-warming sisterly drama, we recommend Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt, the tale of two VERY different sisters trying to reconcile some deep differences. It's also set in a coastal village; this time, in the Lake District. Enjoy! You might also like House of Angels by Freda Lightfoot.

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Buy The Hotel on Mulberry Bay by Melissa Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Hotel on Mulberry Bay by Melissa Hill at


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