‘One family, one secret –
that changes everything forever’
That Summer at The Seahorse Hotel is the latest novel from Adrienne Vaughan. A story bursting with secrets. A story about family and relationships where resentments have festered for years, yet where love is also very evident.
I was reading a little outside of my normal genres with this novel, so please do read on for my thoughts……..
Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.
Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.
So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?
That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.
Mia Flanagan is the child of renowned actress Fenella Flanagan. Reared on an estate in Co. Wexford, Mia never knew who her father was. Born out of wedlock, Mia relied on others, in her mother’s rather chaotic lifestyle, as father figures, in particular Archie Fitzgerald, famed Hollywood actor and now retired in Galty House on the coast of Wexford. Known locally as The Seahorse Hotel, Mia grew up in this environment, developing in later years into a rather introverted individual. As a small child she was full of imagination and magical ways, but as the years passed Mia lost some of the spontaneity. Later studying costume design and with the movie business in her blood, Mia established herself as a dresser for screen productions, insisting on making her way in the world without any assistance.
One day while on set, Mia receives the call that will change everything, Archie Fitzgerald is ill, very ill. She needs to return home immediately. With production in turmoil, as regular mishaps delay filming on set, and with her fiance Rupert back in her home in London, Mia is aware that the timing of her departure is not great. But this is Archie and for him she is prepared to drop everything and to travel home with haste to Galty House.
Galty House, ‘a gorgeous Georgian mansion, regal and resplendent’ and the surrounding town-land and coastline, is described in picturesque detail by Adrienne Vaughan. Her passion for her homeland is very obvious as you read through the novel, invoking a very enchanting image of the Eastern seaboard of Ireland.
Mia arrives home and spends a few wonderful weeks with Archie before he passes on. During this time different characters appear in her story, some new and some not so new. As Mia grasps the enormity of what lies ahead and searches for clues as to whom her father may have been, she stumbles upon secrets and betrayal. There is something very mysterious happening and Mia is determined to discover the truth.
As you turn the pages, you witness Mia as a transformation slowly takes place. She learns about herself and her past while on this journey, as she uncovers old family histories, some good and some not so good. She learns to accept and she learns to forgive. She also learns about grief and about letting go.
There is a huge cast of characters in this book, each very much with their own story to tell. There is a multitude of quirky traits and eccentricities attached to each of these individuals and in many cases I really wanted to know more!! I did find myself having to backtrack every so often as some new information was revealed, but was soon very much swept away in the mystery and romance again.
That Summer at The Seahorse Hotel is a charming book full of romance, a book to curl up with, as you witness the unraveling and rebuilding of lives against the wonderfully scenic background of the East Coast of Ireland.
I have to mention one thing here. Adrienne Vaughan wrote a collection of poems and short stories in a book entitled Fur Coat & No Knickers (My Review HERE). I was really taken by Adrienne’s poetry within those pages and as I turned the opening pages of That Summer at The Seahorse Hotel I was delighted to see another of these wonderful poems.
I’m going to leave you all with a few lines from Adrienne’s poetic pen…
‘For soon we would be crying too,
Sweet salt tears, soft as the dew,
That glistened on the sandy gorse,
Dark prickly leaves to draw remorse.’
Purchase Link ~ That Summer at The Seahorse Hotel
Meet Adrienne Vaughan:“I’m Adrienne Vaughan and I’m a writer. I’ve been making up stories since I could speak; initially to entertain my sister Reta, who never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough audience. As soon as I could pick up a pen I started writing them down.It was no surprise I became a journalist and dived headfirst into my career after studying at the Dublin College of Journalism. These days I’m delighted to say I’m also recognised as an author and poet, having published three highly-acclaimed novels and an award winning collection of short stories and poetry.
That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is my fourth novel.
As well as my creative writing, I run a busy PR practice and live in rural Leicestershire with my husband, Jonathan, two cocker spaniels – Winston and Wellington and a rescue cat called Agatha Christie.
I freely admit that I still harbour a burning ambition to be a ‘Bond girl”
Adrienne is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Chartered Institute of Journalists and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Website ~ http://adriennevaughan.com/
Twitter ~ @adrienneauthor