Sunday, 15 May 2016

the Hotel on Mulberry Bay by Melissa Hill - a warm-hearted novel set in Ireland

The two sisters in the Hotel on Mulberry Bay by Melissa Hill couldn't be more different: Penny is happy to stay at home in this beautiful Irish seaside town and help their parents, Anna and Ned, run the popular hotel where the locals have celebrated engagements, birthdays and weddings for many years, whilst Elle couldn't wait to leave for a career as an architect in England.
But the death of their mother, who has been the driving force behind the business, brings Elle back to find the old building falling apart and the family having to decide whether to make a go of it, or sell their treasured hotel with all its memories.
She also finds Rob, the boy she promised to return to (but never did all those years ago, after leaving for college in Dublin) is as gorgeous as she remembers; but the two of them find it so hard to tell each other their feelings after all this time.
As a subplot, Penny has always thought that Ned favoured Elle and discovers from Anna's diaries that he sold his beloved Beatles collection of original LPs when she was born to provide some money for the business, so she sets out with Colin, an English writer who turns up to stay at the hotel, to buy back the vinyl records and win back her father's love.
I like that because of this, Melissa Hill has given the family names inspired by The Beatles: Anna from the song on the album, Please, Please Me; Elle from Eleanor Rigby; and Penny from Penny Lane. However, I couldn't remember any Ned at all, until I Googled 'Ned + Beatles' and came up with Ned Flanders' Beatles collection which he keeps in his basement! That's brilliant, Melissa!
I really enjoyed this warm-hearted novel which explores the relationships between sisters; between couples; between a man and his daughters; and lastly between the people of a seaside town and the hotel which has brought so much joy to all their lives.