Lights, Camera, Action!

That Summer at The Seahorse Hotel

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel

Adrienne Vaughan






Lights, Camera, Action: ‘Addicted to theatre and film’

Open Adrienne Vaughan’s That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel to enter the world of Hollywood glamour.  Allow the camera to reveal a bird’s eye view of the enchanting Irish coast. Observe the long shot of the ‘regal and resplendent’ Georgian mansion.  Pan across to the sea lapping, like a temptress, on the shore.  Dissolve to the medium closeup of a red-haired beauty sitting at the water’s edge like a mermaid.  Cut to the hero and fade…  Don’t worry if you can’t imagine these scenes, just let Adrienne Vaughan’s words roll into your imagination and paint the picture for you. Let this author enchant you with the setting and enigmatic characters as she adds colour.

‘ “Is it a mermaid?” the little girl whispered.”’

Enjoy the sight of ‘the sun dripping over the horizon as the night’s velvet promise smeared the purple sky.’  As you visualise the scene, you will be intrigued by the hidden secrets.  For instance, who is Mia’s father, and how does this relate to the lyrical prologue at the beginning of the narrative?  Mysteries linked to the characters’ lives and the history of the place are cleverly interwoven into the fabric of the narrative.

Fairy godfather ‘resplendent in vintage smoking jacket and silk cravat’

Like a skilled seamstress, Adrienne Vaughan has sewn the narrative together.  But, everything is held together by the wonderfully flamboyant Archie, a Hollywood screen legend.  Before dying, Archie, the fairy godfather, weaves his magic and leaves threads of happiness for the characters in the story. Oh, how I adore Archie’s philosophy of life!  He is ‘teasingly playful and lethal at the same time’ – he even knows how manipulate destiny.  He has enjoyed a decadent lifestyle at Galty Manor, but he has shared it with the people he loves – and made them all his forever family.  And his home is a haven for lost souls.  He knows how to make everyone feel better, including the actress, Fenella, who has ‘beauty and brains’.  For Archie, ‘Champagne makes everything better.’ Fenella and Trixie concur that ‘a girl needs champagne, vitamin C and good mates’ when Mia is heartbroken.

Is Archie Mia’s father?  This question bubbles throughout the novel.  Such is the charm of Archie that one wills him to be the father. Mia is tormented by the same question.  Archie sets up meetings designed to make Mia evaluate on her own life. Archie compares ten year old Pearl to the younger Mia and says the child is ‘amazing’.   Mia reflects ‘when do you grow out of being amazing’.  It would seem Archie orchestrates encounters and experiences to help his precious loved ones to remember who they are.  Indeed, he writes his own plays and seems to be determined to influence the events in his loved one’s lives.  I loved this hint of magic and the essence of fairy-tale running cleverly through the novel.  The novel examines the concept of family and the way others can play a significant role in a person’s life. There is a heart-warming message threaded throughout the characters’ turmoil.

Just like on the silver screen, this novel celebrates the ‘power of dreams’.  Take several leading ladies, a mermaid Cinderella and a fairy godfather.  Let the dreams take you to the magical coast of Ireland where the ocean displays ‘a myriad of colours sparkling and inviting’. But, be prepared for tales of ‘a dark stormy night’ and some dark events. This story will beguile you, as it pulls you into the drama and mystery where ‘black clouds of angry clouds split across the orange sky’. You may not want to leave ‘the busy, happy house’ unless you wander down to the summerhouse or take a trip on Archie’s yacht. You are sure to find ‘a perfect day for memory making’ when you visit the glorious house and setting.  Sadly, Archie will exit centre stage, at some stage; happily, he will have a plan for the loved ones waiting in the wings. But who will inherit his fortune and will his sister live happily ever after? What does Sister Agnes know about the past? Long after you have finished this novel, and the credits roll, you will be thinking about the magic of this story and its layers of meaning, behind the scenes.

Adrienne Vaughan

More about Adrienne Vaughan

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; primarily to entertain her sister Reta, who from a very early age never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough gig!
As soon as she could pick up a pen, she started writing them down. No surprise she wanted to be a journalist; ideally the editor of a glossy music and fashion magazine, so she could meet and marry a rock star – some of that came true! And in common with so many, she still holds the burning ambition to be a ‘Bond Girl’.

You can also meet Adrienne in my Chat Room.

You can contact Adrienne Vaughan at:
Facebook: Adrienne Vaughan
List of novels written:
The Hollow Heart
A Change of Heart
Secrets of the Heart
Fur Coat & No Knickers (Short story collection)


Please see all my reviews at Books In Handbag and my website and blog at


22 thoughts on “Lights, Camera, Action!”

  1. What a fabulous review, Jessie! I agree to everything you say. This book left me mesmerised, and will stay with me for a very long time. I was lucky enough to read an ARC a few days ago, and I couldn’t praise it enough. Now if the Heartfelt series made me want to visit Inishmahon this novel has me wanting to go and live on the Irish coast forever (very unlike my namesake in the book LOL) 🙂

    1. It was a joy to read Adrienne’s novel. Thank you for taking the time to read my review. I am so pleased you agree with my comments.

  2. Great post Jessie. I am so looking forward to reading Seahorse. It’s sitting on my desk,calling to me in a seductive mermaid’s voice: read me. read me. forget about everything you’ve got scheduled for this week. How long can I hold out? Not long I’m guessing. Well done Adrienne, you deserve every ounce of success that’s coming your way.

    1. Thanks, Lizzie. It is always a pleasure to write about a great book. Batten down the hatches and read it, now! You deserve an escape!

  3. I’m half-way through my gifted copy of this book. and absolutely loving it! As in all of Adrienne’s stories, the setting is just glorious, characters fascinating and plot infinitely intriguing. Wonderful read!

    1. We all need a fairy godfather! How long did it take you to plan the plot? Did it change as you wrote the book?

      1. I agree about the fairy godfather, Jessie! In answering your question, I do and I don’t plot … I have a starting point and an end in sight and maybe an idea of a bit in the middle, but the twists and turns come along as I write. Yes, lots of things changed as I wrote ‘Seahorse’ in particular balancing which bits of the story unfolded where … so the reader learned about the past gradually, finding out things often at the same time as Mia did. X

  4. Wow, Jessie! I just love what you’ve done to my book! What a brilliant, fun blog … mermaids, fairy tales, movie stars … it’s all there. So delighted you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts and amazing review. X (Feel like reading it all over again!)

    1. I loved your book and spent all weekend in Ireland. No one was allowed to disturb my Irish adventure unless they were delivering food, chocolates, coffee or champagne. Archie inspired my approach to the review!

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