Book Review: Dog Writer and Bodie on the Road Author Returns to Romantic Roots
Thanks to a new romance novel, I know were I went wrong: I haven’t met my soulmate because he was never born. Now I need to go back in time and make that happen.
Crazy? Well, that’s Chloe’s solution in The Hotel Where We Met by Belinda Jones. And it worked. (affiliate link)
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That’s right. In The Hotel Where We Met, time travel meets romance novel meets Jones’ unique upbeat writing style that makes setting a secondary character. Travel, place and now historic context are depicted with an accuracy reserved for non-fiction. Conventions of detective stories drive the narrative – along with Chloe’s charm. All Jones’ protagonists are remarkably likeable, making The Hotel Where We Met a great winter cocooning read.
Main character Chloe Sinclair checks into the Coronado Hotel in California with a mission: to play matchmaker so the right people meet and reproduce, ultimately creating Chloe’s dream man. First though she teams up with Ross to scatter her life-long friend’s ashes at significant places around the hotel. Then she walks through her hotel-room door into a new era.
I’ve come to Jones’ work late, starting with Bodie on the Road (affiliate link) then working my way back through her 20-year library of location-linked romance novels. (Previously, I never touched the genre but am becoming a convert). Time travel is a deviation from her other book’s narrative strategies but allows Jones to vividly capture the 1800s, age of prohibition, Marilyn Munro’s 1950s Hollywood and Material Girl Eighties – all inside the Coronado Hotel in California.
The story gains momentum for me after the first time-travel moment. Honestly, I expected Chloe to be more confused or shocked – she works through what’s happening to her oddly fast. But once I accepted the convention, the story weaved together faster with each strand braiding together into an ending where – surprise – she gets her man. Along the way we meet Hollywood legends, circumvent Victorian propriety and escape gun-toting gangsters. What a ride. I see movie potential.
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UPDATE: Jone’s The Hotel Where We Met is nominated for the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2020 in the Fantasy Romance category. Winners are announced in London, England on March 2, 2020.
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.