Disclosure: I received a finished copy of Honeymoon Suite from Pansing Books, a regional distributor, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Honeymoon Suiteby Wendy Holden• contains 487 pages• published by Headline Review, Headline Publishing Groupon January 26, 2017• classified as Women's Fiction, Contemporary, General Fiction• obtained through Pansing Books• read as paperback• shelve on Goodreads
When Nell is marooned at the altar, her feisty best friend Rachel says she'll come with her on honeymoon instead. Why waste a week in a posh country hotel?
So the duo, plus Rachel's Agatha Christie-obsessed small daughter Juno, head for the hills and idyllic Edenville, on the edge of the beautiful Pemberton estate. Awaiting them is a cast of colourful characters from Jason the harassed hotel manager to the ruthless Angela, Director of HR. Not to mention the handsome Dylan, a bestselling writer on the run from his past.
Nell doesn't want to go back to London, so when a job on the estate comes up, she's happy to stay. Even if it is arranging weddings in the Big House! As she becomes entangled in the lives of the locals - and they weave their way into her heart - she realises there might be a way to reach the rainbow's end after all.
While the title might suggest otherwise, Honeymoon Suite is about a woman’s personal journey to start her life over in a new place. Her wedding falls through, and with it, the life she’s planned ahead. With the help of her friend, she gets back on track. Yes, romance is involved but against all odds, it’s not the primary focus. It’s about piecing her life together again, and building new relationships.
At first, I really struggled to get into Honeymoon Suite. The chapters jumped to and fro among multiple characters. I lost track of how many there were. Not all stuck around to the end, and others joined the cast later. This made for a lot of characters to keep straight.
Flitting from one character to the next and back was doubly confusing because their present states were narrated way before their paths crossed. My mind shut down over the lack of connections. Still, I continued reading through those hazy chapters, until these characters finally started to come together. After that, Honeymoon Suite finally started to come together for me.
Slow but Full of Conflicts
With that disconcerting beginning out of the way, I really enjoyed the book. There were several antagonists who vastly complicated things for Nell. That gave rise to many conflicts built on situational irony, which are always great for laughs. On the whole, nearly every character introduced in Honeymoon Suite was driven by clear individual motivations — many of which clashed.
Honeymoon Suite was a fairly mellow book. Some outrageous things happened, but by and large it took on a slow pace. Reading itself was the journey to savour. There were no grand mysteries begging to be solved. It was a time to spend with Nell, Rachel and her quirky daughter, Juno, as well as others Nell met along the way. Personally, I would happily revisit them one day.