Published: 1st July 2017 (Headline Review)
THE THOUSAND LIGHTS HOTEL is the gorgeous new novel from Emylia Hall, author of Richard & Judy Summer Pick THE BOOK OF SUMMERS. Set in idyllic Italy, it’s the perfect holiday read, for fans of Louise Douglas and Hannah Richell.
When Kit loses her mother in tragic circumstances, she feels drawn to finally connect with the father she has never met. That search brings her to the Thousand Lights Hotel, the perfect holiday escape perched upon a cliff on the island of Elba. Within this idyllic setting a devastating truth is brought to light: shaking the foundations upon which the hotel is built, and shattering the lives of the people within it.
A heartbreaking story of loss, betrayal, and redemption, told with all the warmth and beauty of an Italian summer.
The Thousand Lights Hotel was my first holiday read (at Butlins, nowhere near as exotic as Italy!) and this was certainly the perfect holiday escapism. However escapism is not to be confused with a light-hearted easy read as it opens with Kit losing her mother to a long battle with cancer and discovering that her father isn’t actually dead as she’d been led to believe for the past 30 years.
Understandably Kit is devastated by the loss of her mother however her world has also been turned upside down, finding out about the existence of her father and his name – this is a secret that Rosa has kept for 30 years so Kit has very little to go on. Fortunately, her father has an unusual name so tracks him to the Mille Luci – the Thousand Lights Hotel on the island of Elba off the Italian coast. Kit, consumed by her grief and in need of answers, heads off to the island under the guise of investigating a local legend in her role as a travel writer.
What ensues is Kit getting to know her father without him knowing who she is. The book starts off gently in pace, articulating how Kit is trying to gather her thoughts and emotions as well as how she is going to tackle the subject with her Father, Valentino. Then there is also Oliviero whose head she has turned but refers to Valentino as Papa – Kit is obviously reluctant to get to know Oliviero as she doesn’t want to give off signals when she cannot explain the truth!
As well as Kit, we also learn a lot about Valentino, he is a man with a past that haunts him and when he finds out who Kit is, it all comes flooding back. I adored Valentino, he is a true gent who’s aim in life is to provide the perfect holiday for his guests that lasts with them long after leaving the Mille Luci. His relationship with Oliviero is heart-warming and amusing!
The Thousand Lights Hotel is a wonderful read, Hall’s writing is exquisite; each sentence is carefully thought out and adds to the story, it takes the reader to Elba as the descriptions of the island are stunning – Elba and the Mille Luci sound like fabulous holiday destinations! The flow of the writing is seamless and the differing perspectives bringing together the story are brilliant. The emotions in this book are in bucket loads and Hall’s writing really brings to life the highs and lows that the characters are experiencing – sometimes through not writing too much narrative, letting the reader truly feel what the characters are feeling.
I highly recommend The Thousand Lights Hotel – it is the perfect holiday read, just don’t be too disappointed that you are not experiencing the Elba summer for yourself!
Emylia Hall was born in 1978 and grew up in the Devon countryside, the daughter of an English artist and a Hungarian quilt-maker. After studying at York University and in Lausanne, Switzerland, Emylia spent five years working in a London ad agency, before moving to the French Alps. It was there that she began to write. Emylia now lives in Bristol with her husband, the writer and comic book creator Robin Etherington, and her young son. Her first novel, THE BOOK OF SUMMERS, was a Richard and Judy Summer Book Club pick in 2012. It’s published by Headline in the UK, MIRA in the US & Canada, and has been translated into eight languages. Her second novel, A HEART BENT OUT OF SHAPE (or THE SWISS AFFAIR, in the US) was published in 2013 and was the Novelicious Book of the Year, and THE SEA BETWEEN US was published in 2015. Emylia’s latest novel, THE THOUSAND LIGHTS HOTEL, will be out in July 2017. Her writing and short fiction has appeared in a variety of publications, including ELLE magazine, the Book Slam anthology Too Much Too Young, and broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music. She is currently at work on her fifth book.