Felicity at the Cross Hotel by Helena Fairfax

Felicity at the Cross Hotel is set amidst the spectacular scenery of the Lake District. Patrick Cross has come home to the hotel he has inherited following the sudden death of his father, and is finding the transition very difficult. He was running a diving school in Dominica, so you can understand why. Felicity (Fliss) Everdene is taking some time away from her high-powered job to help out at the Cross Hotel (her mother and Patrick’s are old friends).

To begin with, Patrick is suspicious of Fliss; is she working undercover to acquire the hotel for her father? As a globe-trotting executive for her family’s international hotel chain, you could be forgiven for assuming she would be a spoiled little rich girl. However, despite her background, Fliss is down to earth, gets on with people and is not afraid of getting her hands dirty, so she soon wins everyone over.

Without giving too much away, Patrick left the country following a traumatic incident in his youth that he now has to face up to, and come to terms with, so that he can move on with his life. Helena Fairfax handles this with great sensitivity, and Patrick grows as a character because he confronts his grief and guilt.

The love story between Fliss and Patrick is beautifully developed with just enough obstacles to keep the reader guessing right up to the end. I love the symmetry of beginning and ending the book in exactly the same location.

The characters are believable and relatable, the dialogue authentic, and the author has put her finger on the pros and cons of living in such an isolated location; everyone knows your business, but everyone looks out for each other too.

Told from the alternate viewpoints of Fliss and Patrick, Felicity at the Cross Hotel is a well-written and heart-warming story with a strong sense of place and an eye-catching cover. I thoroughly recommend that you give it a try, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for other titles by Helena Fairfax.