Zaffre Books 20th February (Paperback)
With a new king in place and talk of another war coming, tensions are rising in London and across Europe.
In the Buckingham Hotel, Vivienne Edgerton is desperate to do something worthwhile with her time and her stepfather’s money, rather than spending it on frivolity and debauchery – but will this land her in even more trouble?
Chambermaid Nancy Nettleton is finally feeling settled at the Buckingham, and hopes that soon her brother will also call London home. But Nancy misses the man she loves – demonstration dancer, Raymond de Guise – who is noticeably absent from the Grand Ballroom dance floor.
The staff and guests of the Buckingham soon discover that in a hotel full of secrets, there’s always someone listening…
An enchanting read set in pre war London. This is a magical combination of historical fiction, romance and mystery. Set in a grand hotel, The Buckingham there are many strands to this story, the guest’s great wealth shares the stage with abject poverty in 1930s London and differing politic views create tension as the city prepares for war. The glamour of the ballroom features strongly and is central to the grandeur of the hotel.
I was surprised how much was covered in this book, the author creates a community within the hotel including dancers and musicians, bell boys and housekeepers plus of course the stoic hotel manager. All have their own lives which intertwine at the Buckingham and there are secrets aplenty.
The book starts with, quite literally a bang before taking us back 8 months previously where we get to know the colourful cast. There are several key players here and several stories are told, overlapping of course in this cohesive and comprehensive tale.
Undoubtedly there was glamour associated with this time and location, the affluent enjoying a life of luxury at the mighty Buckingham, the magic of the ballroom was unsurprisingly captured, given the author’s background! But issues of addiction and poverty, race and politics were all explored in a very authentic way. Love and romance were central themes and choices around this.
The writing was very good, the story flowed well. I was impressed to see a cast of characters at the start of the book and many times I have wished more authors did this. That said, the characters were strong and identifiable and I found myself not needing the cast list – I still appreciate it being there though! The story is told in the 3rd person throughout but we experience the story through a range of characters as they go about their lives.
At over 400 pages this book isn’t short and I suspect people may dismiss it as light, frivolous perhaps. Trust me it is not, it’s best described as historical fiction and I really enjoyed the splendour of the luxurious hotel setting. I could see this translating well into a TV series, I wonder if that is in the pipeline? Either way it was an enjoyable read which I would recommend.
About the Author
Anton Du Beke, household name and all-round entertainer, brings the charm and style he’s famous for to this, his second novel, the follow up to his Sunday Times bestseller, One Enchanted Evening.
Anton is one of the most instantly recognisable TV personalities today, best known for his role on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, which he has featured on since its inception in 2004. His debut album reached the Top 20, and his annual sell-out tours have been thrilling dance fans in theatres nationwide for over a decade.
This is the final day of the blog tour celebrating the publication of this book. Do check out what others on the tour are saying, the details are below.
Thank you to Tracey at Compulsive Readers for inviting me to be involved in this blog tour and providing me with a copy of the book to read and review.