Hotel Portofino by J.P O’Connell (323 pages)

An enchanting, historical romance perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and The Great Gatsby
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Hotel Portofino by J.P O’Connell (323 pages)

High Class Historical Drama Set in the Roaring Twenties

Hotel Portofino is a heady historical fiction novel about a British family who owns and operates a hotel that caters to the upper class during the 1920s (known as the ‘the Roaring Twenties’) located in the magical coastal area called the Italian Riviera.  

Even though the hotel has been open just a few weeks, problems are already descending on the family and its highly demanding guests. On top of that, Bella Ainsworth, the owner, finds herself the target of a corrupt local politician, who threatens the hotel’s operations in more ways than one.

Lastly, Bella’s marriage has hit some rough waters, and her children are still struggling to recover from the repercussions of the Great War. The family is also awaiting the arrival of a potential love match for their son Lucian, but as you can imagine, things don’t always go as planned.

Pomp, Excess and Snobbery are Booked in this Drama

Hotel Portofino caters to the upper crust of vacationers with its breathtaking views of the Italian Riviera and coast.  This historical drama set in the 1920’s reads like a soap opera. 

The Ainsworth family decides to begin anew in Italy as owners of a luxurious retreat in the town of Portofino, Italy.  Bella’s father has graciously provided the funds necessary to purchase the honeymoon locale she fell in love with many years ago. Bella and her husband, Cecil, convince their children, who each suffered greatly in the war, and their domestic help to make the journey to town.  Set mostly inside the hotel, this character–driven story is filled with holiday revealers seeking fun in the sun. But soon all manners of things are soon afoot after everyone’s checked in. 

O’Connell’s lush descriptions of the food, wine, beach and views might tempt you to book a vacation to this beautiful coastal area.  If you love Downton Abbey, The Crown and The Great Gatsby, then this book is for you! 

The Bottom Line: 5/5 Brookie Stars

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and this novel did not disappoint.  From the locale to the drama, this hotel is a dream come true for fans who enjoy mysteries, romance and high stacks hi-jinx. It was incredibly easy to immerse yourself in the debauchery unfolding morning, noon and night with guests and staff. 

I also truly enjoyed this novel’s vast cast of characters, as each had their own agenda for “why” they’d come to visit Hotel Portofino and the town. The storyline is incredibly entertaining, and I can’t wait to see how it is translated to screen.  

Loved our Hotel Portofino review? Check out our other reviews here!

Shannon K. Loar is a small town girl with a passion for reading.  Books have played a significant role in her life since her youth where she’d spend hours in the local library where her grandma served as the librarian. In her free time, you can find Shannon reading or listening to a book, practicing yoga or binging a streaming show.  Her most precious time is spent with her children ages 20, 18 and 15.  Her new favorite fashion trend, athletic leisure.

Favourite book: The Great Gatsby
Favourite Rock Band: Bon Jovi
Favourite Candy: Jolly Ranchers

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