'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 16 August 2019

Review: Vincent and the Grandest Hotel on Earth

Things aren’t going great for 11-year-old Vincent.

He lives in a smelly town (quite literally — it stinks like cat food), his parents are consumed and distracted by his misunderstood baby brother Thom, and his grandfather recently passed away.

But, sometimes, sad things are the start of something amazing. 

When Vincent finds out his grandfather has left him his shoe-shining kit, Vincent heads straight to the train station to set up shop in the hope of earning enough for a delicious snack. 

What he gets instead is a job proposal — an opportunity to work at the mysterious and wondrous Grandest Hotel on Earth, which happens to be located up, up, up in the mountains, just outside of town.

Florence Wainwright-Cunningham the third (currently in charge of the hotel because her parents are away on business) is looking for a shoe-shiner to work at the hotel. When she meets Vincent at the train station, it appears to be fate.

And so begins Vincent’s adventure at The Grandest Hotel on Earth. And when I say grandest I really do mean grandest. 

The Grandest Hotel on Earth is the Hogwarts of hotels. It has every experience you can imagine (and so many more). It cares for every amazing animal you’ve ever heard of (and many you haven’t). It serves up triple servings of the most delicious foods, and somehow the hotel staff seem to know just what the guests need for their holidays (and also what they need to help improve their lives). 

Vincent thinks he’s hit the jackpot, and his job at the hotel is the best thing that’s ever happened to him. But there are secrets at The Grandest Hotel on Earth, and when Vincent discovers one, he must risk everything he’s built (a fabulous shoe-shining career and the best of friendships) to save the hotel (and maybe his own family) from tragedy.

Vincent and the Grandest Hotel on Earth is an epic and addictive adventure for junior readers. This is a book-world to fall into headfirst, dream about when you aren’t reading and fantasise about long after you’ve come to the end of the story.

Lisa Nicol has created something magical — truly, truly magical — and this is obvious from the very first page where Nicol and her mysterious co-author introduce the central characters in the preface. 

A unique start to a novel? Absolutely. But there is nothing ordinary about The Grandest Hotel on Earth, so a standard novel format would just not be fitting for a story written about it! 

Nicol and her co-author’s special style of writing gives this book that extra special pizazz. They appear at various points throughout the story, highlighting important facts and providing secret details, but in no way is this ever disruptive (a very hard thing to achieve, indeed!).

In fact, when you read this book, you feel like you’ve been let in on a very special secret — like you’re part of special club. And when you get to the end and discover the mysterious co-author’s identity, you’ll understand why this book, and The Grandest Hotel on Earth, is so very exceptional.

This is a book that is destined to become a treasured favourite in so many homes. I highly recommend it for fans of the fantastical, magical and magnificent, and I predict lots of people are going to be talking about it (so you don't want to miss out!).

Title: Vincent and the Grandest Hotel on Earth
Author: Lisa Nicol
Publisher: Penguin, $16.99
Publication Date: 2 July 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760890681
For ages: 9 -12
Type: Middle Fiction