Spring Blooms at the Hummingbird Hotel – Daisy James

I have a spring in my step today, at the thought of getting my nose stuck into a much anticipated new Daisy James novel. Even better, it is a Hummingbird Hotel update. I am so excited about what Abbie may get up to, but rest assured. If you have never read a Hummingbird Hotel book, this is great as a standalone story, but beware – once you get your nose ensconced in this book, you will invariably want to read the others in the series! When I did my last Hummingbird Hotel review, I likened starting reading a new book from Daisy James thus: ’starting this book was like stepping into a new pair of slippers from my favourite brand. You just know you are going to love them and they will fit perfectly, but they also have that lovely new feeling.’ Well, I can assure you that the warm, fuzzy feeling has in no way lessened over time.

The book is dedicated to ’everyone who is craving a splash of sunshine’ – and I couldn’t think of a more apt dedication!

Abbie is trying to make money for the hotel and is running a ‘Bakes and Beaches’ retreat that seems to involve a ’Bake Off’ type competition, involving multiple exotic, hard to source ingredients. Poor Abbie seems to be be run off her feet, running around with lists and clipboards. What could conceivably go wrong, especially when she is concurrently trying to arrange her wedding to the gorgeous Nikos. If there was one character in this book that I could gift wrap for myself and take home, it would be Nikos. Not only is he kind and gorgeous (in that order, of course!) but the man can cook AND clean up, too. A win-win situation, if you ask me!

I loved the author’s descriptions of the eclectic group of visitors, staying for the retreat and Bake off. Each individual was portrayed eloquently and with thought; as a group I felt that they couldn’t fail to entertain the reader, with such different personalities, although to be honest I wouldn’t want to spend much time in Marcus’s company, with his extreme competitiveness in everything he does; luckily as readers, we don’t have to spend time in his company, but can wait to be captivated by how he rubs other people up the wrong way! I adore Abbie and the hotel staff and locals; encountering them again feels like catching up with a group of old friends. Whilst I didn’t ‘like’ all of the hotel guests, I just loved the clever ways that they were portrayed, and the ways that they interacted with each other; a group certain to enthral the reader.

The first couple of scene-setting chapters in the book left me excited for the rest of the book. Actually that last sentence is a gross understatement! I felt positively overwhelmed with anticipation for the remainder of the book, and just couldn’t wait to just get ’stuck in’. I could sense an ’all-nighter’ approaching, so fellow reader, BEWARE; perhaps start reading this stonking book as many hours as possible before bedtime, or plan ahead and embark on your potential ’all-nighter’ at a time to suit, when you don’t have to get up early the next day.

I loved the way that Abbie’s true vocation – flowers/floristry, was reflected in the book, with each chapter being attributed to its own flower. I loved the way that the flowers connected with the the chapters and it seemed to me the perfect shout out for Abbie’s passion. As I read through the book, I would often find myself wondering what the next chapter’s flower would be and how it would connect with the general flow of that chapter.

This book had its moments of humour, interspersed throughout the whole book, although one of my favourite moments was when Dimitri perched his perfect posterior on Abbie’s freshly painted bench – Oops! I am delighted to announce that Dimitri is as lovely as ever, as is his posterior. It is surely a testament to Daisy James’ descriptive writing that I have no problem picturing both Dimitri and all of the other characters in my mind – and Abbie’s face, when Dimitri sat on her wet bench, certainly was a picture! As for the ’sport’ of ’Extreme Ironing’ – I confess to having googled it and it does exist; apart from that, I have no words!

A bit of book cross-pollination always excites me, and I was thrilled that the Paradise Cookery School got a mention. If you haven’t read the Paradise Cookery School series, then you really must try them; they make for a really great read. I certainly found myself hoping for a ‘Paradise crossover’, for the surprise guest baking judge, but you will have to read this great book for yourself to see if that seed of thought comes to fruition.

Marcus. I could start a list of 10 things I dislike about Marcus, but that would be petty. Very early on, he displayed many characteristics and traits that could seem unlikeable, but in actual fact, his faults make for an excellent character, due to the abrasive way that he winds his peers up. A character like Marcus proves for great entertainment for us readers. We can all wish that we were staying in the Hummingbird Hotel, provided that we weren’t on a retreat with Marcus. I did feel sorry for the rest of the Beaches and Bakes retreat, sharing their experience with such an obnoxious being. I am most uncompetitive, but I think that staying with Marcus might bring out what little competitive streak I have, in order to try and beat him! He is also petty – a point in case is the fuss he made about the baking workstations, when the rest of the group were all happy to just pick a station.

As I touched on before, Marcus’ character traits make him interesting, because he creates friction within the group and I think he is a very clever creation. At the end of the day, if your worst ever crime is that you’re irritating, then you’re not doing too badly; and at the end of the day, I will give Marcus the benefit of the doubt, because whilst undoubtedly irritating, he is a fantastic ’invention’ and his heart is most probably in the right place (although I have no evidence of that to date) and I have the impression thus far that he wouldn’t deliberately cause harm to anyone. Marcus is a walking rule book; he is like a well known yeast extra spread. You either love him or you hate him, and he leaves a strong, potentially overpowering aftertaste in his wake. Just one encounter with him, and you will certainly know it.

The retreat group consist of a mix of personalities, and the remainder of them seem pretty pleasant characters. You will have to read the book for yourself however, to see how the Group develop and how they interact with each other, with Marcus and with the hotel staff. If they thought they were getting a nice little break, it looks as though Marcus will put paid to that, ’ruling the roost’ with his constantly evolving rules, ably assisted by his myriad of timepieces – clocks, watches and stopwatches and a sports bag full of medals!

I felt bad for Abbie, with regard to the problems she was having with regard to meeting Nikos’ family. Abbie really was just niceness personified and I found it hard to see – that she was getting distressed/stressed about it and their continuing to cancel visits. It would be hard for anyone, not to start to feel personally slighted. What made things worse in my opinion, was Abbie’s complete lack of family. Any time that anyone (me included) has the slightest grumble about a family member, they should be made to imagine being in Abbie’s shoes, with not a single member of family to invite to her rapidly approaching wedding. As a side note here, I feel compelled to comment on the realism in this story, or in fact in any of Daisy James’ books. Her writing draws you in as a reader in such an adept way, with such interesting, complex characters, that you may find that from time to time you forget that this is not real! What truly amazing writing, with pages able to garner laughter, tears and raw emotion from me in an instant, or more appropriately, at the turn of a page!

There was no doubt that once the baking started, things started to liven up at the Hummingbird Hotel, but I am not going to spoil things by oversharing with you; you will need to read this great book for yourself.

Purchase Link:https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09GBDMD6Q

Dear Daisy James, the list below is my wish list to you 🤓

  • Another Hummingbird Hotel instalment
  • A crossover between the Hummingbird Hotel and The Paradise Cookery School
  • The Little Coffee Shop of Corfu (more about Emily)
  • Cupcakes & Cocktails campervan (a 2nd Emily instalment)

Delivery before the end of the year is fine🤓


2 thoughts on “Spring Blooms at the Hummingbird Hotel – Daisy James

  1. Wow, what a wonderful review! Thank you so much for your kind words, Mandy, I’m thrilled you enjoyed your stay at the Hummingbird Hotel! In fact, you’ve reminded me how much I loved writing it, as well as The Paradise Cookery School series. Oh, to be at those locations! Love Daisy xx

    Liked by 1 person

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