Although not my usual type of read, The Belle Hotel by Craig Melvin did not disappoint with its heart-warming, roller coaster story. I appreciated every second of reading this.
13 October 2008. Welcome to the worst day of Chef Charlie Sheridan’s life. The day he’s about the lose his two loves: his childhood sweetheart, Lulu, and the legendary Brighton hotel his grandfather, Franco Sheridan, opened in 1973.
This is the story of the Belle Hotel, one that spans the course of four decades – from the training of a young chef in the 1970s and 80s, through the hedonistic 90s, up to the credit crunch of the noughties – and leads us right back to Charlie’s present-day suffering.
Our two Michelin star-crossed lovers navigate their seaside hangout for actors, artists and rock stars; the lure of the great restaurants of London; and the devastating effects of three generations of family secrets.
I’ll be dreaming about The Belle Hotel for a long time
I was honestly sooo shocked at how much I enjoyed this book. I laughed. I cried (literally, ‘waterproof’ mascara everywhere). It was just such a solid story from start to finish, I was genuinely content after reading this. The reason I was shocked is that, if I saw this in a bookshop, I wouldn’t pick it up. And now I’m mad at myself, because what an amazing story I would’ve missed out on.
It starts with a chapter from present day, and then jumps back to the 1970s, following from here until present in decades. This whole layout was just fabulous and made for a wonderful reading experience; it opens up further on how Belle Hotel and its owners got to where it is and transports you to different locations, building a wonderful story from start to finish.
It’s rich in detail without getting boring; I soaked up every last word (although often envious of the food/lifestyle/places).
It just felt so real, even though it’s a fiction. I had to google to see whether The Belle Hotel existed and I’m a bit upset it didn’t. I felt like I was a fly on the wall just taking in everything with the descriptions and realistic problems a business and a person may face.
I also found myself getting really attached to the characters – what secrets were who hiding? Was Charlie going to be okay? Why is Franco so fab?
Recognisable names along the way with mouth-watering food and lots of laughs and wit, I’ll be dreaming about The Belle Hotel for a long time.
The Belle Hotel, Craig Melvin, RRP £9.99 (paperback); Book Depository