Published in 2007 and written by English Patricia Ainger. Rachel has just inherited a hotel and other properties from her recently deceased Aunt Connie. Being Rachel her nearest relative she was declared sole heir of all Connie’s possessions, which caused her conflicts with other members of the family once the will reading was carried out.
Rachel, a divorced woman bringing up her 17-year-old daughter Holly, and still in love with Sebastian, the love of her life and of whom she lost contact with 20 years ago, faces a new stage in which she will learn the business on management of the hotel industry.
Belinda, the chef in charge at the hotel, promised her former employer that she and her staff would instruct Rachel in her new position as the owner of the Red House, and would remain with her for at least her first year as the proprietor of the company. The first month implies an effort of adaptation for Rachel and her daughter; in addition to moving out from her old residence Rachel needs to give up her job, decide the future of her daughter, who did not want to continue her studies, and recover from the impression of suddenly having gotten to know that her long-ago boyfriend, Sebastian, now belongs to the same community as her.
Well then, the book depicts in detail the transition period that the characters face; every event and circumstance of their daily lives is illustrated with a proliferation of data, which in some cases makes the narration somehow slow. I think this is a fairly linear reading, that is, the narrative does not introduce drastic ups and downs that impact the regular flow of existence of each character, except of course, the change of life that the main character undergoes by accepting an unexpected inheritance.
The writer shows great ability to describe events, has a rich vocabulary and ease of expression to put across in great detail what goes on in each passage; and I think it is right there where her talent lies. In her work we got to meet her heroine very well, we know her feelings and how she interprets her surroundings, the way she performs her duties and the meticulousness of her reflections. Realism is present throughout the story, this is a book to pay attention to simple allusions rather than to loud adventures that quite often make appearance in literature; the situations portrayed in each chapter are common conditions that may well be attributed to anyone who burst into the hotel business. This story could be considered as a diary in which the protagonist records her daily life from an event that marked a radical change in her life.
In my opinion this is an entertaining and well-written book. When one has enough narrative ability to create on the basis of the ordinary it is not necessary to resort to dramatic and tragic events to produce a composition of quality. It has always caught my attention those writers who can conceive works of art from the simple, everyday facts that technically do not express anything extraordinary but a seasoned and creative writing make it a reading of great literary value.
I'm looking forward to reading the sequel: Murder in Minehead!