Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Beachside Guest House by Vanessa Greene (Contemporary, Fiction, 10E/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

 April 2015, Sphere, 384 pages, Ebook, Review copy, 

Summary from Little, Brown
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 . . .

Nayu's thoughts 
I enjoy novels where life goes rather skewed (since this happens in real life) and pushed the characters into a new venture which ordinarily they wouldn't have considered. It was pure joy to read about Rose and Bee because they learn so much through the windmill. They learn how to live with each other's idiosyncricies. They make newbie mistakes, and at first nearby residents aren't all that welcoming. 

They are conspired against by some people, which makes their dream of having the windmill as a business put in jeopardy. Yet, like the good natured people they are, they slowly win people around, ironing out misunderstandings (which account for a lot of trouble), getting local advice and help on making the windmill a success. It's their work ethic, how they manage to laugh even when they had hardship, and see the brighter side of life when everything falls down against them. 

I enjoyed watching the reactions of their friends and families to their venture, which were true to life by being diverse and unexpected. I hated how when everything was finally in place a massive disaster happened which looked as if it would completely scupper their plans, but I promise they pull through in a way that had me needing a tissue. Definitely a book for my reread shelf – in fact I've just gone and bought the audiobook version because it's that good!

Find out more on Vanessa's website.

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