Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Room 119 - 'The Whitby Trader' - T.F. Lince


High-flying trader Dean Harrison has it all – the London penthouse apartment; the fast car; the beautiful wife. But when the threads of Dean’s life start to unravel, they do so with alarming speed.

Following the advice of a frail stranger, Dean sets off for Welnetham Hall Hotel and is plunged into the mysterious world of Room 119 – a world where nothing makes sense. How does everyone in the hotel know his name? Why does he travel there on a train line that shut down over fifty years ago? And who is the sinister man in black who pursues him wherever he goes?

As he gradually pieces together the puzzle of Welnetham Hall, Dean is forced to re-evaluate his life and realises that nothing is more important to him than his wife and daughter. Desperate to gt back to them, he vows he would lay down his life for the people he loves.

It’s a promise he may have to keep.


What did I think?

Thank goodness I am passionate about supporting local North East authors, or I might have missed this amazing book.  I was expecting a novel about a stock trader who maybe takes one risk too many and loses his job, his family, and himself.  What I did not expect was the direction that the story went in and my wholehearted enjoyment of it.  Leave your expectations at the door for this one and just buckle up and enjoy the ride it takes you on.

For some readers, the beginning of the book might be a little off-putting, with all that testosterone flying around the trading floor.  I work in finance so I loved the buzz of the stocks and shares, the bulls and the bears and the backstabbing as the new guy tries to make a name for himself.  Whatever you do, don't give up if you don't like the first chapter or two; it is a necessary part of the story which comes full circle at the end, but the real story is about to begin and what an outstanding story it is!

I loved Dean's character.  He may be a city big shot but he hasn't forgotten his roots in the North East.  He is a classic case of a 'live to work' person: his life revolves around his job, often at the expense of his family.  A family he really does care about, after all, he's working so hard to give them everything they want but the only thing they really want is him.  He just doesn't realise it...yet.  A visit to creepy Welnetham Hall is about to change all of that.

Strange things happen to Dean when he stays in Room 119.  He wakes up to a fairground outside his window where he is rescued by a clown after being pursued by a tall man dressed in black with a silver topped stick.  I had just started to think that it felt like he'd fallen down the rabbit hole when Dean announced that they're "all mad here".  T.F. Lince then added some Back to the Future vibes and even a bit of Homer's Odyssey to the Alice in Wonderland pot and created a thoroughly entertaining rip-roaring story.

What I loved most of all, although it sounds quite lighthearted and a bit wacky, it has a pretty serious message running through it.  Getting that work/life balance just right is a tricky skill to master and Dean didn't even realise he'd got it wrong until it was almost too late.  It's also quite thought-provoking and I struggled to hold back my tears when reading the chapters about the care home for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.  I've often thought with such conditions that you've lost your loved one whilst they are right infront of your eyes; perhaps they are living in a between-world, I'd like to think so.

What an outstanding debut: hugely entertaining, thought-provoking and extremely emotional; I really would have kicked myself if I had missed it.  FIVE HUGE STARS, it is without doubt one of my top books of the year.  I highly recommend Room 119 - 'The Whitby Trader' and I can say with the utmost certainty that you won't have ever read anything like it!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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