Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Review: Love Me or Leave Me - Claudia Carroll*

‘Welcome to the Hope Street Hotel – where you check in married, and check out single.’ 
Two years ago Chloe Townsend was dumped at the altar and had to leave behind everything that mattered to her. Even now she’s finding it hard to move forward. That is until she lands an incredible job, running a brand new boutique hotel. Suddenly she’s starting to put her life back together, and, apart from the fact that her hard-to-please new boss is breathing down her neck, things are looking good. 
But what goes on in the Hope Street Hotel is a far cry from anything she’s ever dealt with before. This is a pioneering ‘divorce hotel’ designed to make every aspect of breaking up efficient and pain-free. In one single weekend, Chloe’s team promises to take care of everything – legal, technical, emotional – and guests check out carefree and single. 
No one is better qualified than Chloe to understand what couples need when their relationship is at breaking point, but she soon finds herself having to tackle the heartbreak she’s tried to bury. In particular three couples need her help – Jo and Dave, Lucy and Andrew, and Kirk and Dawn – and the opening weekend is full of revelation, trouble, memories happy and sad, facts that need facing, and some very big surprises. 
It’s time to move on. And it soon becomes clear that some endings are, in fact, very exciting new beginnings …

How do these brilliant authors keep escaping me? I don't know either, but you can be assured that I'm very excited about reading the rest of Carroll's books.

The premise of Love Me or Leave Me is perhaps a bit far-fetched but intriguing nonetheless. Having never needed the prospective services of a 'divorce hotel' I've never really thought about their potential use, but after reading Carroll's book I do wonder why there isn't one in every city.

Our entirely loveable heroine Chloe was left at the alter two years ago, still putting herself back together she lands a dream job of running a new boutique hotel. The team at the Hope Street Hotel, headed by Chloe, promises to deal with every aspect of a couple's break up over one quick and efficient weekend. 

Over the course of the book Chloe and her team come to the aid of three couples, Jo and Dave, Lucy and Andrew, and Kirk and Dawn. The novel is told from the point of view of the women in each relationship which means that each of the couples is clearly established and differentiated from each other. The romantic suspense, as it were, is well paced throughout the novel and Carroll drops a few subtle hints here and there about the troubles each of her couples are facing and whether, in fact, their relationships are doomed after all. 

I did enjoy the level of detail that Carroll goes into in Chloe's everyday life of running the hotel, the things that her and her team put up with really do make you wonder. With each relationship carefully examined and featured by Carroll you seen get caught up in the couples' relationships and begin to root for your favourites. Facing break ups every day at work means that Chloe soon has to confront her own heartbreak too.

If you enjoy some wonderfully woven and realistic romantic story lines that examine love and romance after the HEA then you're sure to enjoy Love Me or Leave Me. Not only are the story lines rich and engrossing, Carroll's characters are also sure to win over your heart. I was particularly fond of young Dawn, although all the characters are equally well developed with clear and distinct personalities, and I was pleased that we got to accompany Chloe as she got back on her feet after her own heartbreak.

Love Me or Leave Me was a thoroughly enjoyable read that really piqued my interest, it's not often you have a book centred around divorce after all. The book certainly lived up to my expectations as a perfect light read and was one that I couldn't put down, waiting to see how it all turned out for each of the characters. 

*ARC received in return for an honest review, Love Me or Leave Me is published by Harper and is available now

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