Dee Ernst’s Lucy Checks In is a delightful work of romantic comedy about a disgraced hotel manager who travels to Rennes to rebuild a hotel and her own life in the process.
Lucia Giannetti needs a fresh start. Once the hotel manager of a glamorous NYC hotel and intimately involved with the hotel’s owner, Lucy had her entire future planned out. But when the owner disappears, taking millions of dollars with him, Lucy’s life as she knows it falls apart.
Two years later, forty-nine years old and unemployed, Lucy takes a job in Rennes, France to manage the Hotel Paradis. She pictures fur quilts and extravagant chandeliers, but what she finds is wildly different. Lucy is now in charge of turning the run-down, but charming hotel into a bustling tourist attraction. Between painting rooms, building a website, and getting to know Bing, the irritatingly attractive artist, Lucy finds an unexpected home. But can she succeed in bringing the Hotel Paradis to its former glory?
Witty and heartfelt, Lucy Checks In is an inspiring and feel-good novel about reclaiming your life, finding love, and creating a home in places you never thought possible.
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
Lucy Checks In by Dee Ernst is a story about Lucia Giannetti’s journey to get back all that she lost when the police erroneously targeted her in an embezzlement scandal that changed her life, hopefully not forever.
Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
Based on the cover, which is the back of a female looking onto a city street – I’m getting holiday vibes. I do love a good vacation setting. Lucy Checks In will be my second book by Dee Ernst. I enjoyed the first one I read by her, called Maggie Finds Her Muse, so I am hoping for some of the same attributes I enjoyed from that story. I love the last sentence of the blurb, which states, “Witty and heartfelt, Lucy Checks In is an inspiring and feel-good novel about reclaiming your life, finding love, and creating a home in places you never thought possible.” It makes me smile just reading that, so if the book delivers on that, I will be a happy reader.
Actual Reading Experience:
My actual reading experience was a bit of a mixed bag. The story fascinated me at the start and pulled me in almost immediately, but the pace slowed once Lucy got to the hotel and settled in, and I found myself losing interest. Luckily it had a strong conclusion with a fast pace and lots of tugging of my emotional strings. I loved the ending most of all because it allowed me to see everything the last line promised and more. The conclusion is so impactful that it made me want more of the story and learn about what happens next for all the characters.
I love the dysfunctional family dynamic of Lucy’s biological family back in New Jersey. Boy, could they make me angry and profoundly sad at times. There is a lot of complexity and layers in the family as a unit and for the reader to unpack and contemplate each member. It shows how sometimes shared DNA does not make for a genuine family unit – that sometimes a shared endeavor and mutual respect brings out tighter bonds and a more enduring and healthy unit.
Lastly, I am in love with the hotel and location. I’ve been to that area of France, though a bit closer to the coast, and was awed by the beauty of the area – everything about it is just breathtaking and inviting. The book conveys that same feeling about the location, and the hotel felt like the pièce de résistance.
Lucia (Lucy) Giannetti is an almost 50-year-old woman who has been black-balled from the hotel industry until she receives an exciting offer from France. An old hotel that has acted as a home for a handful of people who came into the owner’s life wants to be a hotel again, and they need Lucy to make that a reality. Lucy is determined, steadfast, loyal, and just what the hotel needs. I loved her roll-your-sleeves-up attitude and her no-nonsense approach to all the challenges she faced. And there are many.
Narration & Pacing:
Lucy tells her own story using first-person narration. Since the story is her journey, this narration style has a very authentic feel. I can’t imagine it told any other way and still holding on to that authentic feel. The pacing, however, was a sticking point for me. It starts at a pretty good pace, but by the middle, it slowed to a crawl, and I struggled to keep my interest in the story. But the ending brought it back up again and was simply superb in plot and pace.
The setting is a very old hotel in Rennes, France. The hotel is such a strong setting that it is almost a character. I loved witnessing the restoration of this once beautiful boutique hotel into a wonderful place to live, work, and vacation. I want to visit and ride up the little elevator.
To Read or Not to Read:
Lucy Checks In fits the bill if you love a story that warms your heart and a fantastic location.
Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Originality Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Writing Quality Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Pace Rating: ⭐⭐💫
- Character Development Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- ‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness Rating: ⭐⭐💫
- Use of Setting Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐