Christmas at the Island Hotel
by Jenny Colgan
Thank you to Netgalley who provided me with a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Unlike some of my previous reviews, I think I’m going to keep this one short and to the point, if at all possible. This book really was not what I was expecting and it didn’t totally work for me. Did I have the wrong expectations? Was this pitched to the wrong audience? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself upon finishing this book.
This book statistically speaking had a handful of good things on its side: diversity, representation, open minded characters, decent conflict resolution, and a cute dog.
What this book also had was a vast number of characters, and while it is the fourth in a series, I don’t believe you’d need to have read the others to fully understand who is who or what is what. The author did an okay job of recalling characters for new readers like me, and after a few mentions of specific characters I was able to keep track of everyone as we meandered on.
The overarching theme of this story is the grand opening of a new hotel in a small Scottish village, and how that hotel affects everyone living there. We saw some blooming romances (one that I thought was paced quite nicely, and another that felt completely left field), familial and romantic relationships that needed mending, and so many characters who each had their own ‘thing’ that they were dealing with. When I reflect back, it was a nice way to show that even in a small town, everyone has something they are working on personally, or trying to overcome.
Sadly, something or multiple things about this story just didn’t work for me. The chapters were incredibly short, and I’m the type of reader who likes to take a break between chapters. It was a struggle to keep reading after just a page or two when the story abruptly stopped and we started following a different character.
I’m not sure if it was the pace of the chapters or the depth of the story overall, but I didn’t really care what happened to anyone in this novel. It was like I was following these people around for nearly a month and formed no emotional connection to anyone, except maybe the dog? I clearly didn’t enjoy this, and would rather think and talk about something else, so I’m going to end this here.