Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Reluctant Elf - Michele Gorman

About the book...
Meet Britain’s Worst Innkeeper

Single mother and extremely undomestic goddess, Lottie, has five days to become the ultimate B&B hostess to save her beloved Aunt Kate’s livelihood.

When Aunt Kate ends up in the hospital, Lottie and her seven-year-old daughter are called to rural Wales to stand in at the B&B. Without the faintest idea how to run a hotel (she can barely run her own life), Lottie must impress the picky hotel reviewer and his dysfunctional family who are coming to stay over Christmas. Without the rating only he can bestow, Aunt Kate will lose her livelihood.

But will Danny, the local taxi driver who she hires to help her, really be Santa’s little helper, or the Grinch who stole Christmas?


Buy THE RELUCTANT ELF from Amazon.

About the author...
Michele Gorman is the USA TODAY bestselling author of several romantic comedies including the Single in the City series and The Curvy Girls Club. Born and raised in the US, Michele has lived in London for 16 years. She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films but objects to spiders and the word “portion”.

Michele is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency (www.hardmanswainson.com) and published by Penguin and Avon/HarperCollins.

Twitter: @MicheleGormanUK
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MicheleGormanBooks
Blog: www.michelegormanwriter.blogspot.com
Website: www.michelegorman.co.uk


My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by the PR team at Notting Hill Press in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.  I loved the cover and title of the book and I am a total sucker for a christmas tale.

Lottie receives news that her aunt has been involved in a car accident and is in hospital.  She and her daughter Mabel were travelling to Wales to spend Christmas with her anyway so pack everything up and head off to Wales a few days early.

Lottie finds herself in a bit of a pickle, her aunt Kate has been put in an induced coma and it's clear she won't be out of hospital for christmas when the B & B she runs is expecting a very important guest - a reviewer, who Kate was hoping would give the B & B a much coveted star rating to help improve her business.

It's been years since Lottie had visited her aunt in Wales because her aunt always came to London to stay with her so she wasn't really prepared for the mammoth task she found herself lumbered with, add to that the chef and cleaner going awol for christmas and the chaos is just about to begin.

This really is a festive read with a difference, Lottie makes the taxi driver who took her to and from the hospital an offer he couldn't refuse and the hilarity began.  Lottie has never run a B & B before and is shocked at the state of her aunt's home, particularly has she has a booking for a reviewer over christmas.  Her aunt has always been there for her so she is determined to put on a 'good front' for the reviewer so sets about the task of performing a few miracles.

For a novella Michele didn't half pack everything into this book.  There were high's and lows and everything in-between.  There were scenes that were sad and touching, scenes that had me cringing and groaning out loud and others that were so hilarious I laughed until I cried.  There was christmas cheer and even a little romance.  This really did turn out to be a christmas with a difference for everyone.

The days before the reviewer arrived went by in a blur and before we knew it he arrived with his brother and family in tow - all's I can say is WOW!  There are so many things I'd like to say about their Christmas stay but don't want to spoil it, you need to read it for yourselves.  Suffice to say if you fuse Fawlty Towers with Can't Cook Won't Cook, DIY Disasters and scenes from a Charles Dickens novel you'll have some idea of what I mean.

I loved the main characters in this book.  Lottie was an absolute dream of a character, nothing seemed to faze her and she met every challenge thrown her way, turning every negative into a positive.  A glass is half full sort of person, she is just the sort of person you'd want fighting in your corner.  Mabel was just adorable, 7 years old going on 70, often coming out with sayings previously uttered by the adults around her - out of the mouths of babes!  As for Danny, he really did turn out to be the taxi driver with a difference.  He also had depth to his character and a story that'll bring a lump to your throat in one breathe and swooning in the other.

I highly recommend this novella to everyone, it's a book that will definitely raise a laugh and have you wishing for christmas but perhaps not a stay in a welsh B & B without fully googling it first!  Thank you Michele this was a ray of sunshine on the rainy afternoon that I read it.