Hotel Portofino

Blackstone. Jan. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9798200816446. $28.99. F
Leaving London behind for sunny Italy, Bella Ainsworth has finally realized her dream of opening an elegant hotel in Portofino. With her marriage to Cecil strained, her daughter Alice a war widow, and her son Lucian literally bearing the scars of the Great War, Bella hopes this move will be good for all of them. Once they’ve opened their doors, though, Bella finds that running the hotel and caring for demanding guests is far more challenging and expensive than she expected. On top of that she is being blackmailed by the local fascist bureaucrat, her husband is trying to arrange a marriage between his old paramour’s daughter and Lucian, and her daughter remains as grim as ever. As Cecil schemes to alleviate his own money troubles, a valuable painting goes missing, and all of the guests are suspects.
VERDICT Already slated to air as a TV series on PBS, O’Connell’s (The Ethiopian) historical novel, brimming with drama, romance, and intrigue set on the beautiful Italian Riviera during the 1920s, is perfect for fans of Downton Abbey. It also includes a diverse cast of characters and deftly addresses the prejudices of the era.
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