Hotel Portofino

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Pub Date 18 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 22 Feb 2022

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Description

*Hotel Portofino TV Series Coming to PBS in 2022!*

For fans of Downton Abbey and The Crown … welcome to Hotel Portofino, where romance, revelry, and intrigue await.

A heady historical drama about a British family who open an upper-class hotel on the magical Italian Riviera during the Roaring Twenties.

Hotel Portofino has been open for only a few weeks, but already the problems are mounting for its owner Bella Ainsworth. Her high-class guests are demanding and hard to please. And she's being targeted by a scheming and corrupt local politician, who threatens to drag her into the red-hot cauldron of Mussolini's Italy.

To make matters worse, her marriage is in trouble, and her children are still struggling to recover from the repercussions of the Great War. All eyes are on the arrival of a potential love match for her son Lucian, but events don't go to plan, which will have far reaching consequences for the whole family.

Set in the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera, Hotel Portofino is a story of personal awakening at a time of global upheaval and of the liberating influence of Italy's enchanting culture, climate and cuisine on British 'innocents abroad', perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and The Crown.

*Hotel Portofino TV Series Coming to PBS in 2022!*

For fans of Downton Abbey and The Crown … welcome to Hotel Portofino, where romance, revelry, and intrigue await.

A heady historical drama about a...


Advance Praise

"Already slated to air as a TV series on PBS, O’Connell’s (The Ethiopian) historical novel, brimming with drama, romance, and intrigue set on the beautiful Italian Riviera during the 1920s, is perfect for fans of Downton Abbey. It also includes a diverse cast of characters and deftly addresses the prejudices of the era."

-Library Journal


“In the genre of Agatha Christie, Henry James, Edith Wharton, this story delights. The author’s descriptions of Portofino are lovely, the characters fully formed. And the story whispers a warning—beware the subtle ways in which freedom can be lost.”

-Pamela Binnings Ewen, bestselling author of The Queen of Paris

"Already slated to air as a TV series on PBS, O’Connell’s (The Ethiopian) historical novel, brimming with drama, romance, and intrigue set on the beautiful Italian Riviera during the 1920s, is...


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Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9798200816446
PRICE $28.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

4.5 stars

Wow -- what a book! This is not a feel-good story but it is so fascinating. I stayed up late to finish it. I cannot wait to see the PBS version in 2022.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blackstone Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you, Blackstone Publishing.

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I want to stay in the Hotel Portofino in the Italian Riviera. 1920’s clothing and hair styles, intrigue, great food, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. Snooty and bad-tempered guests, dangerous liaisons, raconteurs, crooked local politicians, jealous paramours, arranged marriages. You disappear into this novel from the start. I didn’t want to finish this book – I want more!

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Oh my goodness, there is a lot going on in this book! I can totally understand why it's being done as a series on PBS next year. There are a lot of layers in the storyline and so many interesting characters.

Set at the Hotel Portofino on the Italian cost, there are so many storylines - Bella is running the hotel, her husband is a disgrace - they're trying to find a match for their son Lucien. Their daughter, Annie, and her daughter live at the hotel with them. Their guests are so eccentric and demanding!

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a temporary, digital ARC in return for my review.

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Italy, 1926. After the Great War, Bella convinces her husband to leave the past behind in England and to buy a hotel in Portofino, where they honeymooned, and have a fresh start. And they do so with their children and household help. Their hotel is known for English speaking guests and the first of them are mother and daughter, who are British, and quite charming and opposite, setting from the start an interesting atmosphere.

The story is character-driven and there are a lot of them. So I wished they were a bit more developed to help remember who is who and what distinguishes them as individuals.

Events of the story happen mostly in one place, there is not much to the plot. It is mostly filled with everyday events and conversations.

It is certainly written with originality, you can hear the British accent and humor. As the synopsis claims, it is perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and The Crown.

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I’m ecstatic to watch the PBS series after reading this. I think it’ll be fabulous on screen. I enjoy books like this a lot!

Thank you NetGalley & Blackstone publishing for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. Pub date: Jan 18

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Absolutely loved this book historical fiction at its best.Ivwould love to stay in the Hotel Portofno .The characters come alive can’t wait to watch this unfold on pbs.#netgalley #hotelportofino

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“Hotel Portofino” by J.P. O’Connell is a ride and a half. Pretty much from the beginning, the reader is transported to Portofino, Italy post WWI. We follow a cast of characters - mainly the Ainsworths - Bella (trying to run Hotel Portofino), her husband (who doesn’t really want the hotel), their son Lucian (who wants to be an artist), their daughter Annie (who helps out at the hotel), and their grand-daughter. There’s also the guests … and the hotel staff … and dealing with the local authority. After reading this book, I can see why PBS is making it a program next year - it sounds/reads like something that would translate to the screen very well. There’s tension (family ones, but also between guests), there’s romance, there’s scheming, there’s blackmail, there are hidden secrets - in other words lots going on at this hotel. My one criticism - and it’s minor - is that this is a very character driven book, but with such a large ensemble it wasn’t possible to develop them all as much as I would’ve liked. But, if you want a fast enjoyable escapism read, pick this one up and give it a try. A very solid 4.25 stars.

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I was immersed in this story from the beginning. I devoured this book in a day. Great characters, a bit of mystery, a wonderful setting, and the set up for a sequel! I am so happy it's been optioned by PBS!

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i enjoyed Hotel Portofino - a period piece set in the 1920's on the Italian Riviera in Portofino surrounding a British couple's opening of an upscale hotel. I am looking forward to seeing the upcoming PBS adaptation as I'm sure the acting, sets & costumes will all be fantastic.

There is a large cast of characters, most of whom have problems they need solved or ambitions to they hope to advance. Will British owner Bella Ainsworth be able to satisfy her demanding guests and make a go of her hotel? Will she and her cad of a husband resolve their difficulties and find a suitable match for their son Lucien? What are the art dealer and professional tennis player really up to? There is "downstairs" drama with the hotel staff, a cast of interesting British & Italian guests, some corrupt Italian politicians, and many other characters with mixed agendas. Set against the backdrop of rising fascism in post WWI Italy political issues impact many as well. A most enjoyable read.

Thank you NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for the advanced copy. #HotelPortofioBook # NetGalley

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Wow! What an array of characters. So many side plots and drama and I was hooked. The setting is Portofino Italy, with the picturesque backdrop of sandy beaches and the sea. Bella owns Hotel Portofino and has an assortment of guests staying there for the summer. This story has Downton Abbey, Mama Mia and mysterious Agatha Christie vibes. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. It did make me wonder if there maybe a sequel in the future.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Hotel Portofino takes place in 1926 Portofino, Italy. It centers around the Ainsworth family who decide to open an upscale British hotel in Italy. The Ainsworth family brings their entire family and staff with them to Portofino. Portofino is a place that Bella Ainsworth fell in love with when she and Cecil visited on their honeymoon.

The story has its share of ups and downs, crooked politicians, especially as Mussolini is making his rise, romances. Everything you would expect on the Italian Riviera. The only issue I really had with the book was the way the author jumped from one character to another so you basically needed a scorecard to keep up with each time he switched characters.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the story and would read another book by this author.

Thank you #netgalley and #blackstonepublishing. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Hotel Portofino is great historical fiction that follows the story of Bella Ainsworth, the owner of the hotel, and her family following World War I. Bella is surrounded by problems. She is dealing with issues in her marriage, threats from a corrupt Italian politician, and is trying to help her children heal from wounds, both physical and mental, caused by the Great War. Throughout the book, we also meet a cast of colorful characters staying at the hotel, each with their own unique stories and secrets.

If you loved Downton Abbey, you will enjoy this book! It’s a great historical fiction that transports you back to 1920’s Italy during the rise of Mussolini’s reign. O’Connell does an excellent job describing the characters, scenery and political tension of the day. It’s easy to feel like you are there watching the story unfold. I think this will translate really well to screen and I can’t wait to see PBS’s adaptation next year! I really enjoyed the characters and their individual stories so much that when the book was over, I wanted more. Thank you Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!

4.5 stars rounded up to 5

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Dazzlingly beautiful read. Gatsby meets history meets glamour all in one book. I couldn’t put it down!

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An absolute jewel of a book! I couldn't put it down! The descriptions and characters were so vivid and I was so disappointed when I finished, because I didn't want it to end. Only critique would be the narrative jumped around a lot and was sometimes hard to follow, but other than that, truly wonderful !

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I had no idea what to expect when I started reading Hotel Portofino, but I was pleasantly surprised with the depth & complexities of these characters. A charming British family moves to the Italian Riviera & opens a hotel, for a “fresh start” in 1926 after losing their oldest son in World War 2, which may not sound exciting… but the dynamic between this family and their hotel guests is quite entertaining! It was a little slow paced at the beginning and I found the ending to be a little underwhelming. But I loved how so many important issues like: sexual identity, racism, feminism, PTSD/mental health, Fascism/dictatorship vs. Socialism, and even police brutality, were addressed in such a powerful way.

“Nonsense, my dear! It is the 1920s, you know.’ She squeezed Bella’s hand. ‘The
world is changing. For the better, I hope.”
Over 100 years later and this quote is still so relevant.

I was originally interested when I found out they’re filming a show based on this book that will be released next year on PBS. It’s being recommended to fans of The Crown, and Downton Abbey, but I would also recommend if you liked The Durrell’s in Corfu. Loved the overall Italian Great Gatsby feel, and can’t wait to see how this translates to the screen.

Thank you to J. P. O’Connell, Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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What a well written book about a super hard period of time. While I have read many works war two pieces I have read very few about Italy and none about the ruling of Mussolini. The cover of the book drew me in immedietly and I found the book to be very well written. I liked that there weren’t too many timelines or pov either.

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The lives of strangers and friends intertwine when they enter the Hotel Portofino. O’Connell skillfully maneuvers multiple storylines while maintaining entertaining prose and vibrant imagery. With so many characters the author takes the opportunity to shed light on topics relevant today (racism, classism, sexuality, domestic abuse, etc), and takes care to do so without it coming across as excessive tokenism. Most of the characters are distinguishable from each other and are well developed, allowing the reader to emotionally connect with their journeys in the plot.
This isn’t a story that I see myself rereading in the future, but would gladly recommend it to readers looking to entertain themselves with the convoluted lives of 1920s tourists and hoteliers on the Italian coast.

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I really enjoyed Hotel Portofino, a historical fiction novel that takes place in Italy in 1926 during the rise of Mussolini. This character-driven novel follows Bella Ainsworth, an Englishwoman who has moved her family to the sun-drenched Italian coast to run a small hotel. The Ainsworth family dramas play out alongside the dramas and intrigues of their guests and staff amid the political strife occurring at the time. The book has many glamorous characters, multiple subplots, conflicts, secrets, and a mystery, which will likely play well in the PBS adaptation airing in 2022. Perhaps these elements will play out even better on-screen as it was occasionally difficult to keep up with so many characters. However, in a book about a hotel with several guests, that is to be expected. I am looking forward to seeing how the tv show films this, because of the way it was written, the setting comes across as elegant and gorgeous. The hotel, food, and coastline descriptions were just so beautifully depicted. Thank you to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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I enjoyed this novel even though I somehow didn't see a real point to it. Yes, it is about Bella and her dream of living in Italy and running the hotel in spite of her good for nothing husband. The characters are all very entertaining, each one with their won quirks and eccentricities which make for an interesting read. What I didn't like was the ending. It simply ends, abruptly, like the author quit writing mid-paragraph or mid-chapter, and that was theat, the end. I feel it could have ended any number of ways except for the way it did. Aside from that it is an entertaining, interesting, fast paced read that most should enjoy.
Thank you to the publishers at Blackstone Publishing and to Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.

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First and foremost, I think everyone can gather this much from the cover, but the setting is stunning. The way the hotel and landscape is described is magical and I could envision the details down to the wallpaper in the hotel rooms. While third person narration is not my favorite, I do think the author did a great job especially with so many characters. Speaking of characters.. these people are a hot mess! Bella is probably one of my favorite characters I have been introduced to in awhile! That being said.. she is surrounded by idiots😂. Her husband is a walking turd in every possible way, and her (grown) kids don't seem to understand boundaries with other humans or have any perspective on how their behavior affects those around them. That is not even getting into the guests and their issues. Talk about drama! I do wish we saw more of the side characters such as Melissa and Betty. I enjoyed the use of several Italian words throughout the book and found myself using google and learning about the culture. I am looking forward to the show that will air on PBS and will be thinking of Bella for awhile!

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A villa hotel on the coast of Italy is the scene for secrets, lies, trickery, deception and snobbery among the guests and owners. The lives intertwine and weave a story of surprise in the time period between WWI and WWII.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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As someone who enjoys historical fiction and some more chick lit/mystery, this was a good blend of genres! I could have gone for a bit more history but, did some reading on Mussolini while I went as most of my historical fiction has been themed around Nazi Germany. I liked the relationships between characters and the surprise abt the painting - I had not been expecting!

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Delicious drama of a family and hotel. I would give this book 5 stars based on the scenery alone. Add in a captivating story that pulls on your heartstrings among the jetset. Loved it!

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I enjoyed reading Hotel Portofino, by J. P. O'Connell. For me, the book started out really slowly and I felt bogged down with the detailed descriptions. I stuck with it and found those descriptions/details were painting vivid pictures in my head, drawing me into the story. I ended up disappointed when it ended. I am looking forward to seeing what PBS does with this! Thank you Netgalley, and the publisher, for providing me with an ARC ebook version of this novel for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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The stunning cover of J. P. O’Connell’s new historical fiction novel, Hotel Portofino, caught my eye, so I read the description and thought I would give it a try. I am so glad I did!
In a nutshell, Bella Ainsworth and her husband, Cecil, move from England to the Italian Riviera, where they had honeymooned, and purchase a hotel there to operate with their children and hired help. They had recently lost their eldest son in World War I and view this as a fresh start for their grieving family. Bella quickly establishes the hotel as a luxury resort for English-speaking guests, and initially things seem to be going well. However, a variety of issues come up among the family and hotel guests that make this far from a simple story.
Set in 1926 at the time Benito Mussolini is rising to power, this book is packed with all the elements that make a good drama, including tragedy, romance, politics, and intrigue. It features a fascinating cast of characters and deals with important, emotionally charged issues that are relevant to readers today.
Hotel Portofino is a perfect choice for those like me who are fans of Downton Abbey. I am greatly looking forward to watching the PBS version of this story that is now in the works. I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley; however, I was under no obligation to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.

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This historical fiction novel finds an ensemble of characters at the Hotel Portofino in Italy at the end of WWII but with Mussolini's reign looming. Mostly English aristocrats vacation at the seaside hotel, making this book have a Dowtown Abbey feel. I loved the characters, especially the matriarch Bella, but did have a little trouble keeping them all straight. This is clearly meant to be the start of a series as it has a very loose ending.
If you want a historical fiction with good, juicy characters and a WWII adjacent (but no fighting) and like an upstairs/downstairs storyline, this book is for you! I hear that a PBS series is upcoming also.

Thank you to Netgalley for the advance copy for review. Bonus points for the beautiful cover!

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Hotel Portofino caters to the upper crust of vacationers with its break taking views of the Italian Riviera and coast. This historical drama set in the 1920’s is the cat’s pajamas.

A British family decides to begin anew in Italy as owners of this luxurious retreat. In turn, they convince their children, who each suffered greatly in the war, and their domestic help to make the journey with them. Set mostly inside the hotel, this character driven story is filled with holiday revealers seeking fun in the sun instead we find romance, devilishness and a mystery. All manners of things are soon afoot after everyone’s check-in.

O'Connell's lush descriptions of the food, wine, beach and views will have you soon booking a vacation to this beautiful area. This novel is perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, The Crown and The Great Gatsby.

Historical Fiction is my favorite genres to read, and this novel did not disappoint. From the locale to the drama, this hotel is a dream come true. It was incredibly easy to immerse yourself in the debauchery unfolding morning, noon and night with guests and staff.

Please tell me there is a sequel planned after this ending - “Whatever her future holds, Bella has plans, grand plans - it would have nothing to do with Cecil. Not anymore.” I truly look forward to the PBS adaptation in 2022.

Thank you Black Stone Publishing and BookSparks for the complimentary copy in hardcover.

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Hotel Portofino is wonderfully written and captivating historical fiction. It's not the type of I normally read but it sounded interesting so I took a chance on it. I'm so glad I did! I was immediately swept away in to this wonderful world. The setting was a delight to read about. The story was quick moving and full of interesting characters. Bella convinces her husband to open up a hotel in Italy. They move their family to the place they honeymoon and start all over. It's not easy because hotel guests come with lot of drama. Her family also has their issues adjusting to the new adventure. I really enjoyed Hotel Portofino and I can't wait to watch the new show!

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Overall quite an enjoyable reading experience. This is a character-driven story with a large cast. Set in 1920s Italy, the setting is palpable and may have you making travel plans. The arc of the narrative follows the events of several weeks at the Hotel Portofino, as seen through the eyes of the family that runs the hotel, their servants, their guests, and the citizens of the town. Bella has long been enamored of Italk and has finally convinced her husband Cecil to open a hotel for English travelers. They are ready to welcome their first batch of guests and the stakes are high, especially since money is tight and they have yet to turn a profit. Among the guests are Cecil‘s old flame, Julia, and her daughter Rose, whom Cecil plans to set up with his son, Lucian. There is also an Italian count, a dowager and her great niece, the new governess, and an American playboy with his companion, a French dancer. The fun of the story is in watching all of these people interact, butt heads, fall in love, and so on. The Downton Abbey comparison is deserved.

This book has already been sold to PBS masterpiece and I think it will make an excellent television adaptation, since there are so many characters and storylines to explore. The pacing of the book is steady; not much happens but it’s all very enjoyable and witty. The ending however was a little abrupt and I felt that several of the storylines were resolved hastily. Anyone looking for an easy read to sink into and perhaps imagine traveling to Italy should pick this one up.

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"For fans of Downton Abbey and The Crown...welcome to Hotel Portofino, where romance, revelry, and intrigue await.

A heady historical drama about a British family who opens an upper-class hotel on the magical Italian Riviera during the Roaring Twenties.

Hotel Portofino has been open for only a few weeks, but already the problems are mounting for its owner Bella Ainsworth. Her high-class guests are demanding and hard to please. And she's being targeted by a scheming and corrupt local politician, who threatens to drag her into the red-hot cauldron of Mussolini's Italy.

To make matters worse, her marriage is in trouble, and her children are still struggling to recover from the repercussions of the Great War. All eyes are on the arrival of a potential love match for her son Lucian, but events don't go to plan, which will have far-reaching consequences for the whole family.

Set in the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera, Hotel Portofino is a story of personal awakening at a time of global upheaval and of the liberating influence of Italy's enchanting culture, climate, and cuisine on British innocents abroad."

Exotic Bright Young Things, yes please!

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I really enjoyed this book ! If you like historical fiction with a large cast of characters give this a read.
Set during the 1920’s in beautiful Portofino, Italy. It revolves around an expat British family who opened a hotel that caters to guests from all over the world. This story has a little bit of everything. Romance, friction and a bit of mystery along with the raise of fascism make up this delightful story. The only downfall for me was I thought the ending kind of rushed. Overall I would recommend this delightful novel to anyone who loves a good rounded story.
Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review The Hotel Portofino.

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I think charming would be the way to describe this novel. An English family is looking for a fresh start after World War I and settles down in the picturesque village of Portofino where they run a hotel for mostly British guests. Perfect for readers who enjoy a writing style with a lot of attention to details and not a lot of swearing and foul language.

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I really enjoyed the setting and the imagery in this story! I really felt like I could see the Italian coast and the Hotel Portofino. Most of the storyline and characters were interesting, however, I did find there to be a lot of characters and it was hard for me to keep track of them all. I also the ending seemed a little abrupt. I don’t know if there is going to be a sequel but it certainly felt that way with the way it ended.

I do look forward to seeing this brought to tv, I think it will translate very well!

Thank you NetGalley for this eARC

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This book was the best escape to the Italian Riviera! There are a ton of characters introduced fairly quickly at the beginning of this book, which at first seemed overwhelming. All of them are so unique and interesting that it wasn’t difficult to keep track of them at all throughout the book, and they each brought a very interesting piece to the Hotel’s puzzle.
This book is character-driven but moves along like one with a developing plot. I found myself looking forward to picking this one up to find out how things were going to turn out for Bella and her hotel guests. This story had all of the drama I was looking for, the most incredible setting, and was full of witty humour, I was hooked from start to finish!

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Set in the Italian Riviera, Hotel Portofino is a story of a British family who opens an upper-class hotel during the Roaring Twenties. Hotel Portofino has been open for only a few weeks, but already the problems are mounting for its owner, Bella Ainsworth. Her high-class guests are demanding and hard to please, she's being targeted by a scheming and corrupt local politician, her marriage is in trouble, and her children are still struggling to recover from the repercussions of the Great War. All eyes are on the arrival of a potential love match for her son Lucian, but events don't go to plan, which will have far reaching consequences for the whole family.
I loved this book. It was like a perfect mash-up of Downton Abbey and soap opera, all set in the 1920's. There is non-stop drama, and I could not put it down. My only regret was that I had trouble keeping up with all of the characters, but that could be because I am so bad with names. This is going to be turned into a TV series on PBS and I can't wait to watch it. If you loved Downton Abbey, then you are going to love this book....I guarantee it!

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Reading this book is like stepping into an E. M. Forster novel, or the PBS miniseries it’s destined to become. Set on the Italian Riviera between the wars, it tells the story of Bella, a wealthy British woman who married the cheating, gambling, drinking titled Cecil. She borrowed money from her father to purchase the Hotel Portofino, but is determined to make it profitable without additional loans. Difficult when Cecil is gambling away profits, guests are stealing petty cash, and the local corrupt politician is blackmailing her and inventing fictional fines and taxes. Add to it drama among the staff, her children, and the guests create…

Bella is such a sympathetic, likable character that it’s impossible not to want her to succeed. She is a benevolent boss and friend—able to forge friendships with difficult customers and troubled maids, but unwilling to suffer the foolish behavior of those unworthy (including the odious Cecil). The novel lacks full resolution, so I’m hoping for a sequel. #HotelPortofinoBook #NetGalley

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Hotel Portofino by J.P. O’Connell


9798200816446

361 Pages
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Release Date: January 18, 2022

Fiction, Historical Fiction, Italy 1920s

Bella Ainsworth and her family has moved from Great Britain to Portofino, Italy. It is an idyllic place and a wonderful place for a new beginning after the first World War. The rooms are decorated with an English flair and the first demanding guests are beginning to arrive. Bella soon finds things are done differently here in Portofino after she defies a government official.

The story has a steady pace, the characters are developed, and it is written in third person point of view. The author does a wonderful job describing the location and surrounding area. I found myself wishing I could visit this boutique hotel but not during the reign of Mussolini. I thought Bella so brave to move her family and set up a business in a foreign country without wanting to ask her father for financial assistance. If you enjoy historical stories, you will enjoy this book.

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