Cornish Hotel cover (2)As you’d expect from someone who cut her writing teeth at Jackie magazine, author Karen King writes with confidence and style.

Hand on heart, romantic fiction isn’t my preferred genre – I’m more of a whodunit fan – but if anyone could convert me, King could.

Her new release from Accent Press, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea is a perfect demonstration of her story-telling expertise: a nicely believable plot that builds at a satisfying pace without getting bogged down in long descriptive passages, which could have been a temptation given the glorious setting. 

There’s a likeable heroine too in PR consultant Ellie Truman – although I had a bit of a moment when she diluted her wine with soda water.

Sacrilege!

But she does nibble on chocolate biscuits at times of emotional stress.

So, I’ll forgive her.

Ellie’s widowed mother is struggling to keep Gwel Teg, the family hotel in Cornwall, afloat. Ellie wants to help – but her life and career are now in the Midlands.

Failed romance

And mum Sue doesn’t want her to sacrifice her ambitions.

But, then Sue falls ill with pleurisy and Ellie is forced to return to the sleepy Cornish village she fled after a failed romance a few years earlier.

She’s determined to hold the fort until her mum is well enough to take up the reins again but things go wrong from the start and she’s grateful for help from hunky guest, Reece Mitchell.

But does Reece have ulterior motives?

Questions?

And will Ellie’s efforts be for nothing?

Silly questions: this is romantic fiction.

Of course, Reece is hiding something from Ellie.

And, of course, she finds out and the pair separate amid mutual hurt and recriminations. And do they make up?

Do you need to ask?

Literary purists can sometimes be a bit sniffy about romantic fiction like this but there’s a time and a place for everything and The Cornish Hotel by the Sea hits the escapism spot nicely.

Point of view

And King’s light touch means the romance stays real.

Good too that she occasionally switches the PoV between Ellie and Reece so the reader sees inside both their heads.

But a text break to indicate the switch would have been helpful.

There were a couple of confusing ‘who’s talking now’ moments.

But, minor quibble apart, this is a lovely book and next time you head beside the sea take this little bit of Cornwall with you.

Review by Sue Featherstone.

Available to buy on Amazon.