Coronation Year

Morrow. Apr. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780063074149. pap. $17.99. F
Robson’s latest novel (after Our Darkest Night) follows several Londoners as they navigate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1953, World War II still looms over London, with rationing, ruined or missing buildings, and the mental anguish of the war’s atrocities carried inside many. Edie runs the Blue Lion Hotel, which has been in her family for 400 years. She cannot bring herself to evict money-losing long-term residents, so despite her working continuously, the hotel is facing bankruptcy. But it’s directly on the coronation parade route, and Edie hopes that will save the hotel. With escalating anonymous threats to the hotel, its residents, and to the queen herself, they are only saved by the bravery and quick thinking of Edie and her residents, particularly a Holocaust survivor from Italy and a painter of Indian descent. In the aftermath of the life-threatening drama, Edie discovers true friendship and true love, and receives rewards that readers will cheer for. Robson’s characters are sympathetic and warmly drawn; like many recent novels set in hotels, this book tells of people who are adrift but form their own found family.
VERDICT Well-timed for the current interest in the British royal family, this is an uplifting story of a people and place battered by war but coming together to celebrate and work toward a better future.
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