Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel - Ruth Hogan
As a little girl, Tilly's mother moved them to Brighton to live at Queenie Malone's Paradise hotel, where she was the happiest she'd ever been, until her mother sent her away to boarding school with no explanation whatsoever. Split between her childhood and adult life, the two storylines of the book both lead up to an explanation of this sudden event. Lots of mysteries run through the book. How did her father die, why did they leave so suddenly, why did her mother send her away?
Young Tilly is delightful. She's so funny and lively. She mis-hears so much with hilarious results, like wanting to be a virgin because she thinks its a greengrocer. Or the way she sings 'Hark the Herald', apparently something to do with David's tea... She's also convinced that stamp collecting makes you a pervert. The way Tilly loves things without prejudice makes me want to see the world that way too. As an adult, Tilda seems to have lost all that innocence. She has spent her life thinking that her mother didn't really love her and that her father died when she was little. I really felt myself hoping she would somehow find her young self again.
This was my favourite of Ruth Hogan's books so far. Lots of humour from Tilly, plenty of emotions and wonderful feelings. There are so many charming characters such as Queenie herself, her mother and Geronimo. The occasional secondary points of view are a bit unusual but they work to help to explain what's happening, particularly when you're first seeing things from Tilly's slightly distorted view.
I've adapted a recipe* to create the Queenie's Paradise Hotel Super Cocktail. Shake the following ingredients with ice and strain into a glass: 1&1/2 shot rum, 1/2 shot Passoa, 1/2 shot lemon juice, 1/4 shot grenadine and 4 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Garnish with whatever kitschy stuff you find!
*original Queen's Park Hotel Super Cocktail