Monday, January 5, 2015

Love Me Or Leave Me by Claudia Carroll

4 Star

‘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 … 

Kathryn - 4 Star

Love me or leave me left me with mixed feelings.  On the one hand I was intrigued by the concept of the hotel for facilitating easier divorces (what an odd business premise) and I quite liked Chloe’s evolvement as hotel manager.

I was just a bit unsure about the Chloe of the past. There was something about the start of the novel that didn’t give me enough to make me sympathise with her. It was also confusing for me to have the wedding invitations at the start of the novel. It would have made more sense to me to have them at the start of the chapters introducing each couple or, failing that, more information presented with the invitation. On their own they didn’t draw me in and they were the opening pages of the story- which then made it hard for me to relate to Chloe

Once you meet all the couples at the hotel though, and their stories unfold, they are really quite intriguing. The well-established story lines are melded into a novel that kept me interested. I wasn’t even sure until the end if any of them would manage to save their marriages- I wanted them all (ok not all!) to rediscover each other or at least come to appreciate the other’s point of view. It was really carefully put together in that respect- enough detail to keep you reading while still exploring the other marriages.

I really believe that I would give this novel a 5 star if I hadn’t found the beginning so muddling. It stuck with me unfortunately.  Regardless, I think a lot can be appreciated with Carroll’s writing and there were so many interesting concepts and original characters together that Love Me or Leave Me was well worth the read.

Thank you to Harper Collins UK for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Claudia Carroll:
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