The best books that take place at a hotel

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve admired old buildings, hotels in particular, for many years. When immersed in a historic building, I find myself leaning in to discover what the walls might tell me if only I could listen closely enough. When I began writing The Hotel Hamilton series, I scoured the archives for historic hotels, learning how they came to be and how they've evolved through the years. One of the most fascinating aspects of hotel life for me is the juxtaposition of experiences felt by the guests versus those of the hotel staff. The upstairs/downstairs vibe of hotel life is ripe for creating tension within a novel, and that always intrigues me.


I wrote...

Welcome To The Hamilton: A Hotel Hamilton Novel

By Tanya E. Williams,

Book cover of Welcome To The Hamilton: A Hotel Hamilton Novel

What is my book about?

A family fallen on hard times. Two sisters with different dreams. Can a luxurious hotel forever change their lives?

Vancouver, Canada, 1927. The Roaring Twenties are anything but extravagant for seventeen-year-old Clara Wilson. With her family struggling to make ends meet and under the threat of eviction, she applies for a job at the soon-to-be-opened Hotel Hamilton. But with her impulsive, adventure-seeking sister quick on her heels, she may find herself losing the only way to keep her family afloat. Welcome to the Hamilton is the heartwarming first book in the Hotel Hamilton historical fiction series. If you enjoy Downton Abbey vibes with resilient protagonists, illustrious backdrops, and blossoming sibling relationships, then you're sure to delight in Welcome to the Hamilton.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Maid

Tanya E. Williams Why did I love this book?

I was hooked from the start with the quirky but wildly entertaining and loveable Molly Gray. Her role as a maid at the hotel satisfies her need for “order,” a sentiment I can appreciate. I laughed out loud as Molly navigated the hotel corridors with co-workers and guests.

Then, when an inconvenient dead body upended her world, I felt her struggle as she was misunderstood and assumed guilty of the crime. I devoured this heartwarming tale of perseverance in one sitting and highly recommend an afternoon spent with The Maid.

By Nita Prose,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Maid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*THE NO.1 NEW YORK TIMES & SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
*WINNER OF THE NED KELLY AWARD FOR BEST INTERNATIONAL CRIME FICTION
*A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK AT BEDTIME PICK

'An escapist pleasure' SUNDAY TIMES
'Delightful' GUARDIAN
'An instantly gripping and delightful whodunnit' STYLIST
'Smart, riveting, and deliciously refreshing ' LISA JEWELL

_________________________________________________________________

I am your maid.
I know about your secrets. Your dirty laundry.
But what do you know about me?

Molly the maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She's used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping…


Book cover of The Girl from the Savoy

Tanya E. Williams Why did I love this book?

I slid into the grandeur and opulence of The Savoy with my imaginary suitcase in hand. Set in the 1920s and featuring London’s heyday after the devastation of WWI, it is easy to escape with this novel.

I roamed the city streets in my mind’s eye and watched with anticipation as Dolly set her sights on a life in the theatre. I love a good mystery, and this one had me dashing, right alongside Dolly, as she tried to outrun her past and make a future for herself with only her dreams to fuel her. I adore Hazel Gaynor’s novels, and this book did not disappoint.

By Hazel Gaynor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Girl from the Savoy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Dollhouse

Tanya E. Williams Why did I love this book?

This is one of my favorite book covers of all time, and the story is pretty spectacular, too. I adore New York City, and Fiona Davis’ novels featuring historic buildings throughout the city are some of my most enjoyable reads.

Before picking up this novel, I knew nothing about the Barbizon Hotel for women in the 1950s. I was intrigued by the lifestyle of the hotel’s occupants and the building’s character. But it was the layer upon layer of secrets that kept me reading into the wee hours of the night. A definite must-read!

By Fiona Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dollhouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Enter the lush world of 1950s New York City, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors live side by side in the glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in this debut novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue.

“Rich both in twists and period detail, this tale of big-city ambition is impossible to put down.”—People
 
When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren't: plain, self-conscious, homesick,…


Book cover of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Tanya E. Williams Why did I love this book?

This deeply moving story took hold of my heart and didn’t let it go. Even years after having read this novel, I am still moved by the thought of it.

Struggle, war, injustice, and young love are carefully woven together in a gripping tale that speaks of truths and heartbreak we seldom examine. I can’t recommend Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet enough as it is as moving as it is important.

By Jamie Ford,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1986, The Panama Hotel The old Seattle landmark has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made a startling discovery in the basement: personal belongings stored away by Japanese families sent to interment camps during the Second World War. Among the fascinated crowd gathering outside the hotel, stands Henry Lee, and, as the owner unfurls a distinctive parasol, he is flooded by memories of his childhood. He wonders if by some miracle, in amongst the boxes of dusty treasures, lies a link to the Okabe family, and the girl he lost his young heart to, so…


Book cover of The Beautiful Strangers

Tanya E. Williams Why did I love this book?

I have never been to the Hotel del Coronado, but after reading this novel, I feel as though I not only stayed at the hotel, but also got to hang out with the cast and crew of Some Like It Hot.

I am also a bit of a sucker for a story that boasts a ghost, and this book happily scratched that itch for me. Intriguing and fun, this story features a family mystery and a budding romance where everything comes together to deliver a great summer read.

By Camille Di Maio,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Beautiful Strangers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A legendary hotel on the Pacific becomes a haven where dreams, love, and a beguiling mystery come alive.

1958. Kate Morgan, tethered to her family's failing San Francisco restaurant, is looking for an escape. She gets her chance by honoring a cryptic plea from her grandfather: find the beautiful stranger. The search takes her to Hotel del Coronado, the beachfront landmark on the Southern California coast where filming is underway on the movie Some Like It Hot.

For a movie lover like Kate, it's a fantasy come true. So is the offer of a position at the glamorous hotel. And…


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Blood of the White Bear

By Marcia Calhoun Forecki, Gerald Schnitzer,

Book cover of Blood of the White Bear

Marcia Calhoun Forecki Author Of Blood of the White Bear

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author History hound Polyglot Bookworm Neatness averse Yoga beginner

Marcia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Virologist Dr. Rachel Bisette sees visions of a Kachina and remembers the plane crash that killed her parents and the Dine medicine woman who saved her life. Rachel is investigating a new and lethal hantavirus spreading through the Four Corners, and believes the Kachina is calling her to join the work against the spreading pandemic.

She finds Eva Yellow Horn, a medicine woman with the key to fighting the pandemic. When Eva demonstrates ancient healing powers beyond science, Rachel recognizes her as the medicine woman who saved her life years before. Eva reveals that Rachel’s father was investigating the 1979 nuclear disaster in Church Rock, when his plane crashed, killing her parents. Now, Rachel undertakes a new investigation, but she is not alone.

Blood of the White Bear

By Marcia Calhoun Forecki, Gerald Schnitzer,

What is this book about?

“Visions of kachinas guide doctor to spiritual healing in pandemic.”

2014 Finalist in the Willa Literary Award

This is a book that once closed and last line read, my mind wandered to explore certain character motivations and potential follow-up responses. I don’t think an author has to answer every possibility, art comes into play best when the reader’s own imagination can wander within the story.

Dr. Rachel Bisette is drawn to the Four Corners to lead the search for a vaccine against a lethal pandemic. One elusive indigenous woman, Eva Yellow Horn, carries the gift of immunity. In her search…


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