cover image Coronation Year

Coronation Year

Jennifer Robson. Morrow, $17.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-06307-414-9

Three strivers come together during the pomp of Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation in Robson’s pleasant latest (after Our Darkest Night). Edie Howard, 32, owns the Blue Lion hotel, which she inherited after her parents died. With business slow, Edie worries the 400-year-old hotel will fail. That is, until she learns the queen’s procession will pass in front of the building, giving her a chance to boost room rates and serve afternoon tea to tourists. Her first guest after hearing the good news is family friend Stella Donati, who has been living in Rome and looking for photography work. The coronation provides her with her first assignment in a while, with a gig for a London magazine. Then there’s Jamie Geddes, a man who worked in bomb disposal during the war. An Oxford-educated (if struggling) artist, he receives a commission to paint the queen’s procession and finds a room at the Blue Lion with a perfect view for the day. After a slow setup, Robson ramps up the action, first with a romance between Edie and Jamie, followed by a bomb threat at the Blue Lion on the day of the procession. As Edie, Jamie, and Stella work to save the hotel, Robson adds intriguing supporting characters to the mix, including eccentric, peevish boarders and a fussy, unhinged assistant manager. Readers are in for a treat. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Apr.)