Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach

Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
The Overlook Press
Formats: Hardback, Kindle
ISBN 13: 978-1-4683-1057-3
Pages: 304


In her effortlessly winning novels Tulip Fever and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Deborah Moggach charmed readers and critics alike with her generous prose and hilarious dialogue. With Heartbreak Hotel, Moggach has triumphed once again.

When retired actor Buffy decides to leave London and move to rural Wales, he has no idea what he is letting himself in for.

In possession of a run-down bed and breakfast that leans more toward the shabby than the chic and is, quite literally, miles from nowhere, Buffy realizes that he needs to fill the beds—and fast. Otherwise, his vision of the pastoral countryside will go up in smoke.

Enter a motley collection of guests: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who’s been unexpectedly dumped by her (not-so) nebbishy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend is much too much for him to handle. But under Buffy’s watchful eye, this disparate group of strangers finds that they have more in common than perhaps they first thought.

A charming romantic comedy that will captivate even the most determined urbanite, Heartbreak Hotel is a supreme entertainment.

What Did I Think About the Story?

Any reader would be hard pressed to find a more varied and eccentric collection of characters than at the delightfully shabby "Heartbreak Hotel", all led by the bombastic yet loveable owner Buffy. Aging and lonely and fed up with the changes happening to his London neighborhood, Buffy leaves the world he has always known behind to move to the Welsh countryside and take over the Bed and Breakfast left to him by an old and dear friend. Seeing that he cannot make enough money to live without making some change to either his rundown establishment (which he can't afford) or to how that establishment is seen by outsiders (something his acting and people skills make him perfectly suited for) he decides to use his vast experiences in relationships to conduct week long courses for those who have recently broken up. These "Courses for Divorces" will not only save him from loneliness but bring in some much needed money and hopefully help some people along the way. With the stream of people who come seeking a change from their life - some strangers and some unexpected family members - things are anything but dull and many occupants find love, both personal and for the countryside, in the strangest places.

Heartbreak Hotel is a sweet, fun read filled with humor and love and happy endings. While there are quite a few strange connections made it wasn't hard to see where the various storylines were heading or who was going to end up with whom. Many of the characters have much in common: being somehow involved in the arts, being from London and wishing for a slower, more connected life and being middle-aged or older. Even with these similarities they still all have their own quirks  that are easy to like and root for. Something else they have in common: while most have had hard times in the love department no one is left without finding some sort of happiness, even if it isn't what they expected.

Something to keep in mind for American readers would be the fact that there is quite a bit of  British slang thrown in which, while I found it easy to get used to and very funny at times, could  take some a while to get used to. There is also a lot of discussion of an economical decline that has effected many of our characters which isn't something I was overly aware of. Being that America went through its own decline it isn't hard to relate, however, and I felt for the characters who were ready to throttle the bankers that were often discussed.

My only real complaint with Heartbreak Hotel would be the fact that it took quite a while for all of the characters to come together. A good amount of time is given to the backstory of some of our main characters and it isn't until over 100 pages in that the first course begins. This is a good 1/3 of the way in and I would have preferred getting to the hilarious interactions sooner.

I think anyone who enjoyed either the book or movie version of Ms. Moggach's previous novel The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with find similarities with this story and enjoy it just as much. Readers will be happy to discover that, if they enjoy Buffy as much as I did, the author has actually written a previous novel called The Ex-Wives that discusses his varied and eccentric love life. This novel is perfect for this time of year when you want a touching yet happy book to take on vacation.  

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I've actually seen three different covers for this novel, all varying in color but showcasing the same theme: the front of a house with decorated windows, flowers and a puppy. My ARC has the same cover as above but it looks like the US version has a pink house with only one window and a different type of dog and there is also a version that has a yellow house with two people peering out of two separate windows. Regardless of the cover I'm looking at I think they are all cute and would have me at least flipping the book over to read the back cover if not buying it out right.

My Rating:3.0/5.0

Thank you to Josie Urwin at The Overlook Press for providing me with a free copy of Heartbreak Hotel in exchange for an honest review!

About the Author


Deborah Moggach is the author of many successful novels including TULIP FEVER, for which a

film adaptation will premiere in cinemas in 2015, and THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, which was made into the very popular movie starring Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, and Maggie Smith. Her screenplays include the film of Pride and Prejudice, which was nominated for a BAFTA, and the forthcoming adaptation on Helen Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. Her latest novel, Heartbreak Hotel, will be published by The Overlook Press on March 3rd, 2015.
For more information please visit

Praise For Heartbreak Hotel

“A comic performance so footsure it almost tap-dances.” - Sunday Times

“Extremely funny…the joy lies in the delightful characters and the wry, pin-sharp commentary on their shenanigans. Bliss.” - The Times

“A hilarious romp that showcases Moggach’s loving understanding of human foibles and which you will finish reading feeling a whole lot better about yourself.” - Red

“There’s all the warmth and the humour you’d expect from Moggach, as well as moments of beautifully expressed insight into her lonely hearts.” - Observer

“Moggach’s glorious sense of humour, the ease with which she inhabits her characters and her affections for them are apparent on every page. An astute and funny exploration of love and longing.” - Sunday Express

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