Hotel Portofino by J P O’Connell


It’s Italy in 1926 and an English woman called Bella Ainsworth has recently opened the Hotel Portofino. As the guests arrive, we learn their stories alongside the problems Bella faces too, and also the rising tensions of the political movements in Italy itself.

The back cover of the book says ‘perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and The Crown’ and as those are two of my all-time favourite television series, I really wanted to read this book and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s very much a character study, as all the characters are beautifully layered and we learn more about them as each layer is peeled back.

It’s beautifully written, the author has a wonderful grasp of language and it’s one of those novels where on the surface, not much seems to happen. But look underneath and so much is going on! It reminded me of ducks swimming beautifully on a clear pond, but underneath their feet are going madly to keep them afloat.

All of the characters are flawed, but you will still fall in love with many of them, as their fragility and vulnerability is displayed as you continue to turn the pages. It is also a very visual book and there will be a television adaptation coming to BritBox this month and on ITV this summer.

8 ½ out of 10

Published by karenlouisehollis

53, lives in Lincoln, England. Published writer, book blogger and reviewer, mum, grandma, cat owner, vegetarian. Loves reading and sewing. My novel is out - WELCOME TO WHITLOCK CLOSE.

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