26 June 2016
Book Review: Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel by Jane Costello
Lauren Scott lives in 'The most romantic place in Britain', but her love life is about as successful as her mountain climbing skills. The man she's obsessed over for two years has proposed to someone else - and her only solution is to save up for six months to go travelling, so she never has to set eyes on him again.
But when her friends sign her up for a dance class - in the same historic hotel where her beloved dad worked and her most precious childhood memories were formed - Lauren makes a horrifying discovery. It's been sold to a faceless budget chain, which has depressing plans in store. Worse, the entrepreneur behind it all turns out to be among a group of guys her friend Cate roped in to join the very same salsa class they've signed up for.... "
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Jane Costello is one of those authors who I always look out for - I've read every book she has written to date, and enjoyed pretty much all of them. I have to confess I wasn't exactly taken by her 2015 release, so had high hopes for the release of her brand new book Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel. When I first saw the cover, I thought it was stunning and loved it, I couldn't wait to get stuck in! Luckily, for me this was back to Jane's best and I just could not put this one down!
Lauren likes her quiet life as a primary school teacher, working in a beautiful place and has good friends around her too. When said friends decide to drag Lauren along to a salsa class for beginners, she's very apprehensive and isn't sure she'll be able to do it! The dance class is in a very special place for Lauren- where her dad worked and is a place she has very treasured memories of. So when she learns that the Moonlight Hotel is being sold and renovated, she is distraught, sure they will ruin everything that makes the Moonlight Hotel special to everyone in the town. But when she discovers the man behind the renovations is now a beginner at her dance class, Lauren decides to take matters into her own hands...
As you can see there's quite a bit going on in this book but I really enjoyed everything about it. The best bit about Jane's books for me are the fact that they always make me laugh, and this one certainly didn't disappoint me on that front! I was giggling away from the beginning, and it didn't stop until I reached the final page. Poor old Lauren certainly managed to get herself into some funny situations, believable ones but certainly funny, and I loved that she just got up and gone on with it, despite her trials and tribulations! Consequently, I loved Lauren more, and thought she was a brilliant lead character for the book, because you truly cared about what happened to her.
The man she has been loving from afar, Edwin, on the other hand - well, I really don't know what she saw in him to be honest with you! As their relationship pans out, and Lauren starts to change her dreams simply because of this one man, I wanted to shake her and scream at her that she was making a huge mistake - I was very invested in this book! The other men in the book, those at the dance class, especially lovely Joe, provided some proper male characters to lust after, and I was hopeful that Lauren would take off her rose-tinted specs and see Edwin for what he was, and go for one of these handsome men instead!
As well as the lighter side of the book, there was a very serious storyline running throughout this book, and although it was quite a tricky subject matter, I feel Jane Costello has done it complete justice in this book, and brought to life a very serious modern issue that is sadly one we read about too much. It involves one of Lauren's best friends, and is hard to read at times, but is a stark warning to everyone out there reading this of what can happen when a relationship ends. There's another bit of drama with Lauren's other friend too but I found it harder to find sympathy for her I'm afraid, the situation was all her own doing. I also liked that Lauren was torn with her feelings towards it too, a real friendship where she was not scared to tell her friend she was wrong.
This book was wonderful from start to finish, and for me it may well be Jane Costello's best book to date. There's quite a back catalogue to have trumped there, but I think this one may just have pipped a few of the others to the post! I loved the story-telling, how all the threads came together, from the dance class to the hotel, Lauren's dreams and sad love life too. I was fully invested in these characters and loved them all, especially Lauren. As I said, this was Jane Costello back to her best, and I loved every page of this book. Already I'm excited for her next book and am hoping it'll be just as good as this one! The perfect summer read.