Cover Image: Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel

Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I enjoyed this fast and cute read about Queenie. I would recommend this for anyone who wants a comfort read.
Was this review helpful?
I picked this up when I needed something light and fun after a couple heavy more literary reads and it was perfect for that. I'm a sucker for mother-daughter stories, which was the focus of this book and I thought it was done pretty well. And it was a fun twist to get to read the perspective of a young girl, something that isn't found in many adult novels.
Was this review helpful?
When I requested the galley for this book, I was taking a chance. I do love good historical fiction, but I seldom enjoy a cozy mystery, and this story is but a whisker away from being one. I was afraid the story might be cutesy instead of quirky, cloying instead of life affirming. And how delightful it is to be wrong! I received my copy free and early, thanks to Net Galley and Harper Collins. It’s for sale now. 

The premise is that Tilda has returned to the town where she and her mother lived after her parents separated. She was an only child, and her mother is dead, and so it falls to Tilda to tie up the loose ends of her mother’s small estate. And at this point, my snark is already peeking its beady eyes out, saying Oh geez, another story that starts with an only child cleaning up the estate. Lots of those lately! And a mean mother? That’s got to be my number one eye-roller right now!  And I tell you these things, reader, because it underscores what a job Hogan had ahead of her in order to break down my resistance; and yet, she did. 

The narrative is divided into two points of view which alternate. The first is young Tilly, the little girl that doesn’t understand what is happening between her parents, and is devastated when her father moves out. The second is the adult Tilda, whose capacity for trust in other people is limited. 

The first part of the book is a hard read in places, because Tilly is in so much pain, and it feels drawn out, although one could argue that time passes more slowly when we are young. Tilly’s parents are always quarreling; then her daddy moves out, and Tilly, who was a daddy’s girl, takes out all of her hurt and rage on her mother. Her mother is brittle and not very stable, and she’s at wit’s end. First they move from the house where the family had lived to the hotel in the title; then, against her wishes, Tilly is sent off to boarding school. Tilly had loved living at the hotel and didn’t understand why she was exiled. 

Tilda learns what her mother was thinking when she finds and reads the journals that her mother had left for her, and again, it’s not exactly an original device on the author’s part, but it’s done so well that it doesn’t matter. Tilda also finds one of her mother’s old friends, and she learns some things that way as well.  There are some genuine surprises that are also believable and fit the characters and setting. It’s artfully done. 

As to the quirky bits, they are what makes the story unique and successful. For starters, Tilly (and Tilda) see ghosts, not just now and then, but in some cases regularly. Let’s take, for example, the little dog named Eli. Not everyone can see Eli; Tilly can, and some others can as well, but most cannot. And our suspicion that Eli is not a corporeal critter is affirmed by the fact that decades later, this woman still has exactly the same dog, and he is as spry as ever. 

Then—and I have saved the best for last—there’s the child’s narrative. Tilly explains things to us in the language, and with the frame of reference, of a small child of six or seven years. She is a bright girl, but she’s a child, and so her explanations for things are often a bit twisted, and her conclusions are often far-fetched ones that are based on the limited amount that the girl understands. My favorite bits are the mondegreens, and there are many. (A mondegreen is the word or phrase that results from someone that hears words that aren’t in her vocabulary, and thus replaces them with words she does know; one well known example is the American Pledge of Allegiance, starting with “I led the pigeons to the flag.”) My favorite of Tilly’s mondegreens is when she attends church and sings “The Old Rubber Cross.” And the thing I love most about Tilly’s mondegreens is that Hogan doesn’t explain them or beat them to death; she drops them in and then moves on as if nothing unusual has occurred. 

I started reading this book using the review copy provided me, but because I was running behind, I checked out the audio version at Seattle Bibliocommons when I was a short way in, and I alternated versions. I especially want to give a shout out to Jane Collingwood, who reads the audio version. I can think of no more challenging narration than that of a child. Collingwood had to sound like a little girl half the time, but nobody wants to hear an actor’s version of baby talk at all, and surely not for half of a novel, so she has to walk a very fine line, not sounding like an adult, but also not sounding inane. On top of that, she must also voice the adult version, sounding like the same child, except grown up.  It’s a tricky assignment and she carries it off perfectly; I tip my hat to her. 

The ending is optimistic, yet credible. Those in need of a feel-good story—and there are an awful lot of us that do, right now—could do a whole lot worse. Recommended to those that enjoy quirky novels and historical fiction.
Was this review helpful?
Liked this book very much. It is one of those novels that shows human kindness and the value of taking risks.
Was this review helpful?
I really thought I would enjoy this one based on the description, but I just couldn't get into it. The plot and narrator were strange and it all felt pretty anti-climatic.
Was this review helpful?
A magical story about learning to be comfortable in your own skin. Tilda has returned to her childhood happy place in the wake of her mother's death. She learns more about her complicated relationship with her mother and the sacrifices made for love. I enjoyed the multiple perspectives and Tilda's ghost-pup, Eli.
Was this review helpful?
I found this book extremely confusing and for more than half the book, I thought Eli was a human ghost instead of a dog ghost. I feel like character descriptions weren't where they needed to be. For example, Queenie is a man in drag, but she's called "her" for the whole book and there's no defining characteristics or descriptions for me to know she's a man in drag. I think I would've appreciated Queenie a whole lot more if there were more descriptions of people when we met them.

I found the audiobook at my local library and enjoyed the audiobook more than reading the book myself. I will admit I got a little bored with it at times, though.
Was this review helpful?
This is the type of novel that makes you come back to an author. Beautifully and tightly written with relatable characters! Wonderful!
Was this review helpful?
I am rapidly becoming a Ruth Hogan fan. This is the story of a young woman who remembers her past quite differently than her mother's version.  Tilly is a young girl who is sent away to a boarding school and only returns home to settle her mother's estate.  Tilda returns empty the apartment and return to her adult life.  The story alternates between Tilly writing as a child and Tilda as an adult.  I had a hard time starting this book but it didn't take long to start racing to the finish. I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I love this book! Whether you prefer Tillie the child, or Tilda the grown-up, Ruth Hogan has given us a cast of characters that are so alive and memorable. The chapters about Tillie and her childhood are so descriptive and well written - I read those out loud to my granddaughter. It prompted conversations about the loss of a father, an imaginary dog named Eli, and the experiences of a child attending church. The switch to Tilda and the death of her mom are for grown-ups only, but again the depth of character make the woman seem like someone you may know, or wish you knew. When you add in the boards at Queenie's, it just gets better. I'm so glad to be introduced to this novelist, and I will read everything she writes!
Was this review helpful?
Tilda has returned home after the death of her mother. Their relationship had always been complicated, with Tilda convinced that her mother didn’t really love her.  As she goes through the house, she discovers a locked box containing journals her mother had kept. Through the journals and flashbacks to Tilda’s childhood (when she was called Tilly) it becomes apparent that her mother had many secrets and not everything was as it seemed when Tilda was younger. Throughout the book there are a number of people that help Tilda understand her past, her relationships, and how to cope with the information she uncovers. 

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel is magical. It is a tale of family, relationships, acceptance, and forgiveness.  The writing is lyrical, descriptive, and moving.  The characters are quirky, clever, and totally unforgettable. The story itself is interwoven between past and present and it’s nearly seamless.  Ruth Hogan has an amazing ability to draw you into the world she has created and make you feel invested in the lives of the characters, who seem so real and fascinating.  Ms Hogan has written a book that I wish had the ability to write.  Five stars just doesn’t seem to be enough.  It’s that good!

Thank you, Ms Hogan, for creating such a wonderful reading experience!

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
Was this review helpful?
QUEENIE MALONE'S PARADISE HOTEL by Ruth Hogan (The Keeper of Lost Things) has a really beautiful cover and a quiet storyline. The main character, Tilly/Tilda, has returned as a grown woman to a happy place from her childhood: Queenie Malone's fabulous Paradise Hotel in Brighton, England. Flashbacks give the reader perspective from Tilly as an innocent child narrator: "having 'mysterious ways' gave God quite a lot of chances to get away with things that he didn't have to explain, but then he was God, after all, and in charge of everything, so she supposed you just had to trust him." When older, Tilda reads her mother's diary and learns some surprising news about her dad, Stevie, and her grandparents. It changes her feelings for her mother and helps her to reach out more to others, like Miss Dane, an older neighbor, and Daniel, a café owner who accepts and encourages her. As Tilda reflects, "my mother's words are rewriting the childhood that for so long I have claimed as my own. The people and the places are still there, but the perspective has slipped so far out of focus that I barely recognize the story that was once, and ought to remain, so familiar." Although not especially memorable, QUEENIE MALONE'S PARADISE HOTEL is more about how readers will feel as they enjoy the escape of an endearing, charming, heartwarming, feel-good story – enjoy!
Was this review helpful?
I have heard great things about Ruth Hogan which had me requesting her new novel on NetGalley. I never read a novel of hers before, but I will say that if I choose to, I hope they're as good as everyone says they are. 

There were a lot of important topics that are in Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel. The themes of secrets, anxiety, depression and family were very hard to miss in this novel. If you have mental issues relating to mothers, high anxiety / depression, or other mental health related issues like OCD, I wouldn't jump right onto this book. There wasn't really anything appealing or "feel-good" about this for me, unfortunately. 

There were two timelines. One is about Tilly, a young girl, and the other is Tilda, the same young girl but older. Tilly's life is not good, and you can see it in Tilda when you read her side as the older woman. Tilda is quirky and lives a boring life because of what "Tilly" went through. I don't mind a quirky character, I quite love it actually. However, I couldn't really connect with Tilly or Tilda and I think this made reading this novel a little harder. When I think of quirky characters, I think of Eleanor Oliphant and this wasn't anything like that. 

I didn't understand the background really. There weren't explanations of some of the characters and that made it more confusing. Daniel, a guy in Tilda's POV, was just too much for this type of novel. We didn't learn anything about him except that he made food art. There were other people, especially in Tilda's POV, where I questioned at the end whatever happened to them. It was very puzzling. 

I honestly believe that if this story was just about Tilly, I would've liked it a lot more. Tilly was great and she was really the best part of this book. It really made it hard to read when the timelines and stories weren't on the same wavelengths in gaining my attention. 

Towards the end, I actually started to enjoy this novel. At about three-quarters of the way through, I wanted to just see how it would end. Ruth Hogan's writing did pick up towards the end which is where my three-star rating came from. 

Overall, I will give Ruth Hogan's book another try, but I sincerely hope they aren't so up and down like this one was. I don't know why Tilly and Tilda's characters are the way that they are, and I think that it's a problem since that's what the book was trying to explain.
Was this review helpful?
This was my first Ruth Hogan book and I thought it was very unique how she used a dual narrative, not of two different characters, but of the same character at different times in their life. It was at times hard to reconcile the two people especially since a child's perspective is not always accurate.  It was especially true in this case since Tilly/Tilda could see spirits but you weren't always sure if what she was seeing was real or not. 

Hogan writes thoroughly interesting characters that were a delight to read. I could vividly see and feel all of the side characters who fleshed out the story so well. My only criticism would be that it took us so long in the story to get to the titular character of Queenie.  She was a breath of fresh air for Tilly/Tilda and I would have liked to have spent even more time there with those characters.  

This was a charming book that made me laugh and cry and really struck a chord with me as it deals with parents and children and their oftentimes complicated relationships. 

I would highly recommend this to contemporary fiction readers who enjoy charming characters and quirky elements.
Was this review helpful?
This is a heartfelt and emotional story of how making peace with your past can help you move forward in life. and that focusing on nostalgic, happy memories of an earlier time can in some ways be a helpful catalyst and in some ways can keep you anchored in your misery. 

I am not a huge fan of alternating between timelines, but it works in this story and helps readers to frame Tilda's state of mind against Tilly's whimsical time living at Paradise Hotel. 

This book has plenty of feels and a cast of quirky, interesting characters. Ruth Hogan proves to write consistently amazing books!! 

Thank you #NetGalley and #HarpersCollins for an advanced copy of #QueenieMalonesParadiseHotel in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for this digital copy in exchange for a review.

Description
From the wildly popular bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things comes a surprising and uplifting story about the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, and the magic of chosen family.

Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who loved fizzy drinks, naughty words, and liked playing with ghosts and matches. When her beloved father suddenly disappeared, she and her fragile, difficult mother moved into Queenie Malone’s magnificent Paradise Hotel in Brighton, with its endearing and loving family of misfits—including the exuberant and compassionate Queenie herself. But then Tilly was dealt another shattering blow when her mother sent her off to boarding school with little explanation and no warning, and she lost her beloved chosen family.

Now an adult, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only true friend is her dog, Eli. When her estranged mother dies, Tilda returns to Brighton and the home she loved best. With the help of the still-dazzling Queenie, she sets about unraveling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel, only to discover that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all…and that it’s never too late to write your own happy ending.

With Ruth Hogan’s trademark quirky, clever, and life-affirming characters, Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel will dazzle readers and mesmerize them until they reach the surprising twist at the end.

This was a charming tale. I enjoyed the dual pov. Ruth Hogan never disappoints.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this from the beginning first page. The story is told by the child, Tilly and her adult self, Tilda. Her mother is a drunk. Her fathers disappeared. She has been told her father died. Moving to Brighton England, Tilly’s mom is working at Queenie Malone’s Hotel. Every single employee is a well-drawn character with flaws. Queenie’s elderly mother is the most original character of all. All we see is Tilly’s point of view from childhood. But after her mother dies, the grown-up Tilda returns to live in her mother’s flat. Through her mother’s diaries, Tilda, finds a different mother than she knew. This book is strong proof that family can stretch way beyond those to whom you are related.
Was this review helpful?
I had a hard time following the plot and knowing who was real and who wasn't. I wanted more from the ending in regards to her father. It felt like there was a big build-up and then nothing.
Was this review helpful?
I truly enjoyed my read of Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel. There are two story lines happening in the book, Tilly as a child and Tilda as an adult. I really enjoyed Hogans writing as Tilly. Instead of an all knowing narrator talking about a child there are a lot of things that Tilly missed because of her age and innocence and as the reader we see the world the same way Tilly does. Those holes or small details are then filled in with Tilda's story line when she is reading her late mother's diaries from that same time.
Ruth Hogan's writing was excellent and there were enough twists and turns that I never wanted to put the book down and always needed to know what would happen next.
Was this review helpful?
Ruth Hogan is becoming a must-read author for me. Her books are reminiscent of Jenny Colgan with a touch of Sarah Addison Allen's magical realism. I adored Tilly and her perceptions about life, but I also liked how Tilda discovered more about her past through the eyes of her mother. There are definitely some heartbreaking parts of this novel, but also some surprises because it's not easy to tell who is real, who is a ghost, or who is somewhere in between. I loved the mother and daughter theme and this book made me think about the choices we make for the sake of love and how those ultimately play out.
I often don't like books with children because I don't think they are portrayed accurately for their age, but Hogan hits the nail right on the head with Tilly absolutely perfectly. I anxiously await Hogan's next book!
Was this review helpful?