Today I’m sharing my review of the wonderfully funny and festive new release from Lilly Bartlett, Christmas at the Falling Down Guesthouse. The book is released tomorrow and a massive thanks to the author and publishers Notting Hill Press for the advance copy for review.
The Official Book Blurb
Put your feet up and tuck into the mince pies, because you won’t have to lift a finger to enjoy this Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse!
Too bad the same can’t be said for single mother and extremely undomestic goddess, Lottie. When her beloved Aunt Kate ends up in hospital just before Christmas, Lottie and her seven-year-old daughter rush to rural Wales to take over her B&B. A picky hotel reviewer and his mad family are coming to stay, and without the rating only he can give them, Aunt Kate will lose her livelihood.
But Lottie can barely run her own life, let alone a hotel. How will she manage to turn the falling-down guesthouse into the luxurious wonderland the reviewer expects? And could the mysterious taxi driver, Danny, who agrees to help her, turn out to be the real gift this season?
As the snow sparkles on the trees and hot chocolate steams in your hand, snuggle into the delicious magic of Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse.
Previously published under the title, The Reluctant Elf, if you are looking for a short and sweet read to get you in the mood for the mood for the upcoming festive season, then you should look no further. At just around 100 pages, this is the kind of book you can fit in during over lunch or a few short breaks in your daily routine. And it’s well worth it too. Full of heartwarming and funny moments, this book will have you smiling over your cocoa.
Lottie and her daughter Mabel have very little family and Lottie’s Aunt Kate is very important to them. So when Lottie receives a phone call to say that Kate has been in an accident, she drops everything to be with her Aunt and to help her through a very important inspection which may mean the end of her livelihood, an old guest house in a very secluded part of North Wales. But nothing can prepare Lottie for what she will find when she gets there. With no experience and a mammoth task ahead of her, Lottie recruits local man Danny to help her, but neither of them are really prepared for what lies ahead.
Now as this is only a short story, I really can’t say too much more about the plot than that and what is written in the blurb. Needless to say that the guesthouse, as the title would suggest, is far from being in a fit condition to welcome guests and yet welcome them it must. Think of Shelley Long and Tom Hanks in The Money Pit and you are probably along the right track. There is a lot of history and memories tied up in the house … along with a lot of dry rot and undecorated rooms. It will take a Christmas miracle to bring everything up to scratch.
Enter stage left, Danny, the taxi driver, come handyman who strives to help Lottie make the best of her situation. The dynamic between the two is both funny and touching and their slapstick attempts to make a menu worthy of Christmas Day provide some real funny moments. I mean, I can’t cook, but I think even I could have managed slightly better than Danny’s unusual cooking creations.
The family who visit are the family from hell – a creepy husband, the pretentious wife and children who really need to be taught some manners. And alongside them a reviewer whose rating is critical for poor Aunt Kate. He doesn’t give much away and the autor does a great job of keeping his feelings hidden so you really are going to have to read the book to find out whether Lottie and Danny’s efforts were all in vain afterall. The charactersiations of everyone, from Lottie, Danny and Mabel, through to the guests from hell, are all spot on and Lilly Bartlett really does do a great job of capturing the funny quirks of each character and making them larger than life.
This is certainly a book which will warm your heart and make you smile. I raced through from start to finish, the book leaving me with a huge smile of satisfaction on my face. A brilliant little read that I would heartily recommend.
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Christmas at the Falling Down Guest House is released tomorrow and is available from the following retailers.