Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). 

The Beachside Guest House is the second book I’ve reviewed by UK author Vanessa Greene (the first was The Seafront Tearooms). She knows how to tell a heartwarming story that is perfect for lifting the mood (which, as it happened, I needed when I read this). Here’s the blurb:

When Rosa and Bee get together in the run-up to Bee’s wedding, they reminisce about the holiday they took together as teenagers to the beautiful Greek island of Paros. They remember the sandy coves, the guest house in the converted windmill where they stayed with their friend Iona, and the gorgeous local men. As memories of that long-forgotten holiday resurface, they are forced to confront the turns their lives have taken – and the guilt they both feel about letting Iona slip away from them.

When they learn that the windmill guest house is going bust they formulate a plan: why not go back to the island and take it over themselves? And so begins a life-changing journey – because it turns out that opening a guest house and reliving their teenage dreams isn’t that easy . . .

Full of romance and friendship, love and life, laughter and tears, THE BEACHSIDE GUEST HOUSE is an uplifting novel about the magic of starting over with friends by your side.

Light, but full of heart, The Beachside Guest House was just the book I needed at the weekend. Themes of friendship, starting over, forgiveness and empowerment underpin Greene’s warm and engaging writing style. Each of the three friends has something to move on from – whether it’s a stale or broken relationship, or a career that’s lost its lustre; the Greek island works its magic on them, bringing each one to a stronger self. We might not all be able to escape to a Greek island, but most of us understand how it feels to move on after jumping (or getting hit by) one of life’s big hurdles. Greene lightly touches on a more toxic relationship with one of the characters, involving emotional abuse, but stops short of taking this to a deeper, more confronting level that would have changed the feel of the whole story (at one point, when Iona was writing a blog, including her name and her friends’, I shuddered, thinking of how easy that would be to track).

An enjoyable read, one I’d recommend to someone looking for a bit of escape, or maybe even some inspiration to step over a bump in life’s road.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Hachette Australia.




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