About the Book, All Change at the Beach Hotel
- Publisher : Canelo Hera (20 July 2023)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
Can she choose between her duty and her heart?
While World War One changes the country beyond measure, with food becoming scarce and Britain’s young men being called up to foreign battlefields, it is harder than ever to keep the grand Beach Hotel in Littlehampton running smoothly.
Waitress Lili Probert, a young woman who escaped her demanding family in Wales in search of a new life in Sussex, has seen her hard work rewarded at the Beach Hotel, but hides heartbreak behind her sunny personality. Her sweetheart, Norman, is missing in action and has been presumed dead, but she cannot give up hope that he may be found.
But when she meets injured soldier Rhodri, a fellow Welshman now living near Littlehampton, she fights hard to ignore her growing attraction for him, torn between her feelings for him and her loyalty to the man she thought she’d spend her life with.
But her emotions run ever higher when she suddenly receives a call from home; her mother is gravely ill and Lili is needed for her care. Returning to Wales, Lili must make a difficult choice. Follow her dreams and make her own life, or return to the place she tried so hard to escape?
Torn between her duty and her heart, Lili faces her own battle far from the conflicts in Europe…
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About the Author, Francesca Capaldi
Francesca has enjoyed writing since she was a child. Born in Worthing and brought up in Littlehampton in Sussex, she was largely influenced by a Welsh mother who was brilliant at improvised story telling. A history graduate and qualified teacher, she decided to turn her writing hobby into something more in 2006, when she joined a writing class.
Writing as both Francesca Capaldi and Francesca Burgess, she has had many short stories published in magazines in the UK and abroad, along with several pocket novels published by DC Thomson.
Her Welsh World War 1 sagas were inspired by the discovery of the war record of her great grandfather, a miner in South Wales. Her latest series, The Beach Hotel, is set in her own childhood town, where her Italian father had a café on the riverside.
Francesca is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She currently lives on the North Downs in Kent with her family and a cat called Lando Calrission.
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So many period romance novels are set against the backdrop of World War II, that when a series like the Beach Hotel series by Francesca Capaldi, set against World War I, comes along, it feels refreshing and new, even though it’s technically historical. Still, the struggles of living under scarcity caused by war, the worries we have about our loved ones either deployed or waiting at home, and the dreams we have for love and a satisfying life are universal, and this author has captured them extremely well in this second novel in the series: All Change at the Beach Hotel.
Main character Lili is so well drawn, and so human, that she could be a young woman of any age – she’s left home to stand on her own and build a life on her own terms, but finds herself torn between her MIA boyfriend Norman, and the very present injured soldier Rhodri. It’s a scenario we experience today, when we go off to school or move for a job and leave our first loves behind, and I loved the way author Capaldi imbued this story with a sense of wistfulness.
Another universal theme is obligation to family, which in this case is Lili’s obligation to go home and care for her ailing mother. Even the best mother-daughter relationships can become strained by the role-reversal that comes when the child becomes caregiver to the parent, and in this book that relationship is explored with deft delicacy.
Lili’s fundamental question is which is more important: her obligations to her family, or her obligation to herself. This novel gives a satisfying, compelling look at a completely relatable situation, with dimensional characters, and a vivid sense of place.
I didn’t read the first book in the series (though I now want to) but I didn’t feel that my experience lacked anything. All Change at the Beach Hotel works very well as a standalone story.
Goes well with: fish and chips and a good craft-brewed ale.
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