Reading Diana Biller’s Hotel of Secrets I thought of the importance of momentum in reading pleasure. More likely I yearned for it. And it was not to be had. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of anything but reading: work, Holy Week services, Pascha, and day-to-day stuff, leaks and stumbles, an unforeseen pharmacy trip, cooking and cleaning and so much laundry. Nothing crisis-ridden, but add a need for sleep and the e-reader, propped up to make for maximum lying-in, would watch me snort, snooze, and drool through the night…a mere two-or-three pages from where it had been turned on. All this to say, while I was enjoying Biller’s Hotel of Secrets, I didn’t get to enjoy it because my reading momentum was shot. Only devoted readers get this. Also all this to say Biller’s historical, opposites-attract romance, with its bacchanalian Viennese setting, one of the best heroes I’ve ever read, and terrific banter is worth reading with steady momentum over a few days. Maybe don’t start it, as I did, when you won’t have the luxury.
For now, the blurbish bits, and then I can try to piece together a few thoughts on why I liked Hotel of Secrets as much as I did:
It’s ball season in Vienna, and Maria Wallner only wants one thing: to restore her family’s hotel, the Hotel Wallner, to its former glory. She’s not going to let anything get in her way – not her parents’ three-decade-long affair; not seemingly-random attacks by masked assassins; and especially not the broad-shouldered American foreign agent who’s saved her life two times already. No matter how luscious his mouth is.
Eli Whittaker also only wants one thing: to find out who is selling American secret codes across Europe, arrest them, and go home to his sensible life in Washington, DC. He has one lead – a letter the culprit sent from a Viennese hotel. But when he arrives in Vienna, he is immediately swept up into a chaotic whirlwind of balls, spies, waltzes, and beautiful hotelkeepers who seem to constantly find themselves in danger. He disapproves of all of it! But his disapproval is tested as he slowly falls deeper into the chaos – and as his attraction to said hotelkeeper grows. (more…)