A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 2
A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores by Laura Briggs
It looks like a perfect Cornish autumn, with aspiring novelist Maisie Clark still finding inspiration as a maid at the historic Penmarrow Hotel. Between the staff of quirky co-workers, glamorous and unusual guests, and her growing friendship with the charming but mysterious Sidney Daniels, Maisie is living out adventures instead of just penning them in the pages of her would-be novel’s growing number of chapters.
And then there’s the slight problem of keeping the balance between friendship and ‘something more’ with Sidney, who’s helping introduce her to the village’s version of a Cornish Halloween, and has recently taken an interest in Maisie’s secret that may change things between them. But even Maisie’s imagination can’t conjure the unusual event this Halloween brings to the Penmarrow. An eccentric earl has chosen this site to host his lavish birthday celebration that includes a pretty (and perceptive) young psychic whose predictions seem to have everyone on edge — and, to Maisie’s delight, the elusive novelist Alistair Davies is rumored to be part of the guest list! But with the earl’s bickering relatives and illustrious friends on hand— and more than one ghost of the past waiting to be revealed — it’s anyone’s guess what the festivities will bring before the party is over.
Will the psychic foretell doom for the earl’s gathering—and is her ‘gift’ as genuine as it seems? Will Maisie finally meet her favorite author face to face? And, more importantly, what about the romantic sparks that fly between Maisie and Sidney?
It wasn’t until after I started reading that I realised this was the second book in a series. I had no time to read the first, but if you haven’t read A Little Hotel in Cornwall, then do so. Then you must come back to this one.
I found this book uniquely enjoyable and frustrating in almost equal measure. The language and phraseology persuaded my reading brain that I was in an Agatha Christie novel. The places and people were introduced and described in such a way, that even though you are fully aware she is clearly giving a nod to Agatha Christie, intentionally or otherwise, this is the Laura Briggs own style. Reading happily along, there came the first reference to the modern world, and suddenly I’m dragged back to the 21st century. In the world of classic afternoon tea, elegant drawing rooms, and 1930s phrases, a reference to LED lights was a most disconcerting experience. To be honest it was a bit jarring.
And yet, and yet…
I loved the book, the characters, the irritating behaviour, and the mysteries. Yes. Mysteries – plural – lots of secrets with suggestions of nefarious ‘goings on’. So here we have this lovely gentle tale of an aspiring author, a handsome if somewhat dilapidated gardener, surrounded by beautiful scenery, and lovely people, and underneath they all appear to have skeletons in their cupboards.
There is actually an awful lot ‘going on’ in there, (we could talk plots, sub-plots, tangential plots…the whole nine yards) but it isn’t confusing, superfluous, or boring; far from it. Although all the tropes are there: the very elderly, eccentric but amusing Earl, his cheerless offspring, the inscrutable Manager, a angry retired Colonel, the slutty wife – its a veritable stew of simmering deception. They all make the reader feel their presence. This is especially when the enigmatic psychic hints of secrets, reveals hidden truths, and sets the reader’s imagination running off in circles, trying to figure out what they are.
Maisie is a fun and interesting character. I love that she isn’t above eavesdropping on the guests, and it is also through her we find out much about the guests and staff. She is kind to Molly, who is sweet and a bit gullible. Maisie is also a good friend to Riley who is a bit of a ‘naughty boy’, but likeable and hilarious.
Sidney. What can I say about Sydney? He’s an equally likeable and frustrating character. While he is nice and fun, and no doubt all kinds of wonderful, if he kept forgetting he’d made arrangements to meet me then he’d be kicked to the kerb, ot at the very least given a good warning.
There are many threads and sub-plots running through the book, not just those of Maisie and Sidney. In another author’s hands, this story could hit the rocks, fall apart, and sink in confusion – badly – but it doesn’t. The author has a firm grasp on her people and their stories, and steers a steady course through all their uproar and shenanigans. What we are offered is a landscape of fantastic characters, with real personalities, and their own intriguing deep, dark, secrets. And what secrets they appear to be….
Mr Trelawney and the MOD – what’s that all about?
What’s Brigette hiding?
If Laura Briggs doesn’t give up the secrets in Book 3, I shall hunt her down ‘Misery’ style and hold her in a remote cabin until she tell me what I want – nay need – to know.
If you like a gentle, warm-hearted romance, a bit of intrigue, and panoply of rich characters, with a Christie feel to it, then THIS is the book (or books) for you. Even if it isn’t – you should give it a go.
Just read it!
Giveaway to Win one of 3 Cornish themed prizes
1st Prize: A Ross Poldark collectible Knitdark character doll (Open Internationally) –1 winner
Perfect for fans of all-things Cornwall, this Ross Poldark doll with tricorn hat is made by Angela Blay, whose popular Knitdark creations have been featured on The Graham Norton Show. Since each doll is hand made, the Ross the winner receives may vary slightly in appearance from the one in the picture. Readers can learn more about the Knitdarks at Angela’s Twitter page @kwerkyknits as well as her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/kwerkyknits
2nd Prize: A decorative tin T.A.R.D.I.S (Open Internationally) –1 winner
A tin T.A.R.D.I.S similar to the keepsake Maisie is gifted by Sidney in Book 1, A Little Hotel in Cornwall. Designed by Etsy artist KittyConduitt81 and perfect for fans of Doctor Who! Being a unique, hand made item, the final design may vary slightly in appearance from the one pictured. Learn about KittyConduittDesigns on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/KittyConduittDesigns
3rd Prize: A Kindle/Tablet case featuring cover art from A Little Hotel in Cornwall (Open Internationally) –1 winner
A specially designed case for a Kindle or Tablet featuring the cover art for Book 1 in the series A Little Hotel in Cornwall. The final product’s size, texture, and color will depend on the winner’s device.
*All 3 winners will also receive a digital copy of Book 1 in the series, A Little Hotel in Cornwall.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.
Social Media Links
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurabriggs/
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