Category: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Book Review
Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.
Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.
So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?
With a cast of wonderfully realised characters, this story transported me to Ireland and Galty House, set in the beautifully described coastal location of Rosshaven. Archie Fitzgerald, legendary actor, is dying, but determined to depart on his own terms. He wants Mia, the daughter of his close friend and fellow actor, Fenella Flanagan, to come home to Galty House for what will be their last summer together.
I love the almost ethereal quality of the cover image which compliments the theme of the book perfectly. Reminders of a past long gone, reminiscences and repercussions play a big part in the story. Whatever happened all those years ago has been a closely guarded secret, long buried and never spoken of. But now things are changing. Fenella is terrified Archie will feel compelled to break his promise and Bernice, Archie’s sister, wants to know what’s going to happen to Galty House when Archie is no longer there. Added to that is the mystery of the small island in the bay, with its atmosphere of secrecy and darkness.
On the island’s east side, sheer cliffs contrasted vividly with the soft, green mound visible from Galty’s beach. The slab of brittle grey rose out of the sea, glinting menacingly, cold and hard. At the base of the cliff shards of stone split to form caves, dark recesses hidden behind a shark-tooth smile.
Mia has only ever wanted to know who her father was, and why her mother would never say, but she gave up asking years ago and was content with the people she loves and who love her–her mother, Archie, Bernice and unconventional housekeeper Leela. But now, the desire to know has reasserted itself. When Archie lets her know she will inherit his estate, it makes her wonder if he is her father.
Newcomers to Rosshaven, Ross Power, Chief Executive of the new Harbour Spa Hotel in the village, and his niece, Pearl, quickly become involved with the family, and the stage is set for a very eventful summer of joy, heartbreak, tragedy, romance and surfacing revelations. Secrets are exposed, as is the greed and selfishness of certain people.
Sections from the past are scattered tantalizingly throughout the narrative and, as the small group spend time together, layers are uncovered, feelings laid bare and several threads are woven into the storyline. As with her previous books, Adrienne Vaughan’s knack of creating engaging and compelling characters who completely captivate, in a fabulous setting, is evident. Archie is outwardly theatrical and colourful, wanting to make the most of the time he has left, but understandably frailty shows through. I love Mia, the bond between her and Archie and the developing one with Pearl, another wonderful character.
Written with confidence, delightfully authentic dialogue and style, this was a joy to read.
I chose to read and review That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel for Rosie Amber’s book review team based on a copy of the book supplied by the author and NetGalley.
Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; primarily to entertain her sister Reta, who from a very early age never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough audience. As soon as she could pick up a pen, she started writing them down. It was no surprise she wanted to be a journalist; ideally the editor of a glossy music and fashion magazine, so she could meet and marry a pop star – some of that came true – and in common with so many, still holds the burning ambition to be a ‘Bond Girl’! She now runs a busy PR practice and writes poems, short stories and ideas for books, in her spare time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder member of the indie publishing group The New Romantics4. Adrienne lives in Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a retired dressage horse called Marco.