Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review: The Beachside Guest House

By Becky Gulc

‘When Rosa and Bee get together in the run-up to Bee's wedding, they reminisce about the holiday they took together as teenagers to the beautiful Greek island of Paros. They remember the sandy coves, the guest house in the converted windmill where they stayed with their friend Iona, and the gorgeous local men. As memories of that long-forgotten holiday resurface, they are forced to confront the turns their lives have taken - and the guilt they both feel about letting Iona slip away from them.

When they learn that the windmill guest house is going bust they form a plan: why not go back to the island and take it over themselves? And so begins a life-changing journey - because it turns out that opening a guest house and reliving their teenage dreams isn't that easy . . .’ (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon UK.)

The Beachside Guest House instantly appealed to me because:
1) Anything set by the coast pretty much appeals to me
2) I spent a few of my younger years living in a guest house which my parent’s ran, and have always secretly had this secret dream of running my own place
3) I’ve enjoyed one of Vanessa Greene’s previous novels, The Vintage Teacup Club.
This really did seem like a great escapist read I’d enjoy.

This novel didn’t let me down, I just loved it. For me I enjoyed this even more than The Vintage Teacup Club, I felt I could relate to the characters more and the setting in Paros is just perfect for that escapist read I was looking for. This really is a book about friendship; the solid friendships we build for life even if we don’t perhaps see each other for a while. The friendships between the three characters are beautifully written and there is a deeper back story with Iona which unravels throughout the novel. Each character became more and more likable as the story progressed. These were the kind of friends I’d like to have for myself, so were a pleasure to read about.

I enjoyed reading about the ups and downs of getting the guest house up and running; especially in an environment where the locals are quite hostile towards the windmill being re-opened, but Rosa and Bee have no idea why. I enjoyed the tales of the visiting guests, the friendships that do form with the locals and again the setting was so vivid in my mind, I wouldn’t mind going on holiday to this place!

For me this was a real page turner and I’d genuinely love to read a follow-up to this. It had everything I love in a book, great likable characters, friendship, romance, warmth, and a bit of a darker edge to Vanessa’s previous work, whilst remaining very much a light read overall, which is certainly no bad thing in my opinion. Loved it!

Thanks to Sphere for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Vanessa Greene:


Anonymous said...

Looks like such an awesome read, I will have to check it out. Linda May

Janine said...

This sounds like I book I would enjoy very much

susieqlaw said...

I love this review. Thank you for introducing me to this book.