Hotel of Secrets by Diane Biller

Hotel of Secrets is an 1800’s European romp, a very funny love story with a wicked plot which reads like a juicy soap opera! It has all the checkmarks of an old-fashioned mystery with a beautiful, strong, heroine, a naive dashing spy and secrets which we all try to piece together. The story will grab you from the very first page.

Maria Wallner has been given the task to restore her family’s (although she is her father’s illegitimate child, one of them…) dilapidated hotel, the Wallner Hotel, to the famous establishment it once had been. With very little money, and it being Ball season, Maria must try and pinch pennies and yet make every guest feel special, regardless of who they are and what they are doing and to whom they are doing it to!

But when an opportunity falls into her lap, hosting the infamous Housekeepers Ball, although she has barely any money, she grabs the chance to put their hotel center stage. Now, she must figure how to put this together without bankrupting the family.

American Eli Whittaker comes to Vienna with only one agenda. Someone is stealing American secret codes and it is his job to find out who. Except that upon his arrival, she saves a very drunk woman from being run over by a carriage. But when he checks into his hotel, he discovers this beautiful woman is the proprietor! Eli is a very organized, black or white, no gray type of personality. He does his job well and researches everything. A bit naive in the romance department, he is quite unsure of just what to do with Maria, who for some reason seems to become quite the distraction for him.

But when Eli must save Maria a second time from being killed, he begins to believe someone is trying to harm her. As his radar goes up, Maria still feels nothing is wrong. You see Maria’s mother has been the mistress to a man for over 30 years. The man’s wife has children, and his mistress has children. But most people just turn a blind eye to the situation and the children just tend to ignore one another.

The more time Maria and Eli spend together, because now he will not let her out of his sight, the closer they get. But Eli has a secret which has kept him from getting close to any woman for his entire life. But these feeling for Maria are unbearable.

While Eli attempts to find out who and why someone is stealing the codes, back at the hotel, there is sabotage going on. Sadly, Maria must sell a piece of her family’s history just to prepare for the Ball. Then everything comes to an astonishing climax (pun intended), and Maria must be saved one last time before she is killed. Will the hotel be saved? But in the end, as Eli knows his job is wrapping up and he must head back to the states, the couple must make some decisions as to where they go from here.

Hotel of Secrets has wonderful intrigue, a quirky take on new love, a very strong and stubborn heroine and a mystery which will keep the readers on their toes!

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’s/Griffin #HotelofSecrets #DianaBiller for the advanced copy.

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