Friday, February 25, 2011

Staying at Daisy's -by Jill Marsell

Plot: Daisy and her father Hector own a hotel in a quiet village in Britain. Daisy, a widow, finds herself back in the dating scene a year later after having met Dev, a former ruby player. Only thing is, Daisy isn't sure she can trust him given her history.  Daisy also has two staff members who are like family to her, Tara and Barney, whom she's trying to look out for, a college boyfriend back in town, the biggest celebrity in Europe staying at the hotel, and the mistress of her dead husband living down the street. Just when Daisy thinks she's got everything under control, Maggie, Tara's aunt, holds a repair man hostage next door.  Can Daisy run the hotel, and hold off the press at the same time?

I found this book to be a fun, delightful read.

You start off meeting Daisy and her dad Hector in the middle of a party which sets the tone for the entire book.  Laughter, emotions and dogs.

The author sets the pace quickly, exposing a lie that has the lead then unsure of the people around her for much of the novel.  She learns in one fail swoop that her husband has been cheating on her for months and has been after her money.  There is a scene, where we see how gentle and honest Daisy is, when she not only lets the mistress of her husband into his hospital room one last time but when she saves someone else's life by donating his kidney.
The character of Daisy is a hero that would be rare to find,  as she goes on to help the girl, Mel, who had been her dead husbands mistress later in the novel.

Tara is a character that many of us can relate to.  Her mistake is falling in love with the wrong man, twice.  She's faced with the issue of bumping into the great love of her life at the hotel where she works, on his wedding day. Soon, both remember why they had dated in the first place and get tangled up in an affair.  You find yourself hoping it will work out for her but knowing that it just won't.

Then there is Maggie, a middled aged woman who is trying to get a fresh start on her life. She's been having an affair with Daisy's father for the last few years, only it's not something either of them are completely proud of, as money is involved.

The focus of this novel seems to be how the women at different stages of relationships, seem to handle the idea of how lies and lust mix.
Each of the women in this story, have been disappointed by the men in their lives. Some on a grand scale like Daisy, others on a smaller scale, like when Maggie has to wait months for the repair man to show up.

The author also managed to write a few male characters, Barney, Dev, Hector and Josh, as the perfect relationship ideals that so many of us dream of, but just never find.

Each of the men in this novel are also in very different stages of their own relationships, Barney being the innocent.  I can not remember the last time I read anything that lent to a man being this sweet a character, or even virginal.  The character of Barney brings a freshness that can only be found in a story like this.

The very beginning of the novel mentions a children's story that was written by Hector, "Dennis the Dachshund", which is what they built their wealth upon, and soon Daisy finds herself helping Dev picking out a dog. She talks him into buying Clarissa, which becomes the thread for their relationship as well as the second main connection; other then the hotel, for all the other characters.

I found myself very partial to the love story between Dev and Daisy.  The idea that a former celebrity would want to have a normal life, and was willing to wait around for it really drew me in. I could not get out of my head the idea that a former sports hero would be happy living a quiet life and dotting over his dog.  I could read another round of Dev and Clarissa if the author offered.

Except for a few references to British television/music, this story is one that is easily universal. Everyone who's ever been in love, or thought they were, or even heartbroken can find something and someone in this novel to connect to.

And if nothing else, we can all identify with the subplot of Maggie's washing machine repair nightmare.


  1. Hi there, and thanks so much for liking my book. You're the first person to encapsulate Barney and I'm so glad you loved him - he's one of my most favourite characters. Weirdly, since writing the book, my best friend's son has grown to become just like Barney...!
    Thank you again for the fantastic review,
    Jill xx

  2. Thank you.
    I loved it!

    I am sorry I just realized I spelled your name wrong on the post and it's not letting me fix it.