The Thousand Lights Hotel by Emylia Hall

Review published on July 26, 2017.

I must admit that the first thing that attracted me to this book was the stunning cover. Up close you can see the lights that are part of the title, the lights that hotel owner, Valentino Colosimo, has strung up around his hotel on the Italian island of Elba and which he lights night after night. And who wouldn’t want to dive into that beautiful blue, twinkling sea?

The next thing that drew me in was the setting. I’m a sucker for anything Italian and islands, so it was perfect for me. And the final thing, but probably the most important, was the story. We have a young woman, Kit Costa, who has lost her mother and is searching for her father.

When Emylia Hall’s first book, The Book of Summers, was published I was eager to read it but found it very hard to get into and I think it was because I didn’t then have the patience to read her very descriptive style of writing. Now, I can appreciate the sheer beauty of her prose and how measured and thoughtful her words are.

Here’s just one short passage that had me marvelling at the depth of her descriptions:

“The day was brazenly beautiful. The breeze in the palm trees sounded like the rustling of dresses. The bougainvillea beamed.”

Isn’t that just so evocative? The book isn’t just about the gorgeous imagery but about this sad story of a young woman whose mother, her one constant, has died. Kit is grieving and for the first time she wants to find out about the father she never knew. So she goes to Elba and meets hotel owner, Valentino, and Oliviero, the hotel’s chef (who provides us with some wonderful food to drool over). Both of these men are wonderful characters. And we also meet, in a smaller way, some of the hotel guests, all different and all so interesting.

The Thousand Lights Hotel is such a beautiful, glorious read. It’s emotional, moving and written with such feeling. It was a true pleasure to read and it ignited all my senses.

I want to go and stay in the Thousand Lights Hotel!

Nicola Smith 5/4

The Thousand Lights Hotel by Emylia Hall
Headline Review 9781472212023 pbk Jul 2017

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