Disclaimer: ARC read via Netgalley courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media.I am old enough (or young enough depending on your viewpoint) to vaguely remember seeing commercials for the television series based on this novel. So I admit reading this was somewhat more of an interest of why did people love/like enough for it to be a television series.I’m not sure what the answer to my question is, but I must admit this was better than I thought it would be.Hotel takes place in the 60s, just at the start of the Civil Rights Movement.
It is about a hotel (duh) in New Orleans that is going through a crisis. The story shifts between hotel owner, staff, guests, and a would be buyer. The strength in the book isn’t the plot, which to be frank, is rather predictable from the first chapter to the end, but the characters.
The book functions more as a believable character study more than anything else. I have to give him props for the character of Dodo is not really a dumb blonde at all, though her story arc was cliché.The book also is very much a product of its time in terms of the woman characters who are in the standard jobs (if they have a job at all). But this is made up for the relationship between the hotel’s manager Peter, and Royce, an African American law student whose relationship with the owner/ president of the hotel, Trent, seems to be a holdover not only from Royce’s father but slave days.
This is made more problematic because Trent refuses to desegregate the hotel. And it is this plot point that makes the most interesting read, at least from today’s standpoint.If this were a true Hollywood movie, at by today’s production teams, it would end with Trent realizing the errors of his ways, Peter and Royce becoming BBFs, and the hotel allowing lower income inner city former gang members to work there.The book isn’t today’s Hollywood.While the desegregation issues are handled with typical Hollywood dramatic flair, its outcome is more realistic and nuanced.
This makes up for the predictable plot elements like the sick guest, the stealing, the hanky panky and spanky, and the murder plot.Additionally, Hailey’s restrained prose makes the book read more like an HBO series than a daytime soap opera. While it is not a book, I don’t think I would buy (it really isn’t my thing), it was enjoyable, and far more so than the Dan Simmons book I was reading at the same time.
In fact, I kept putting that book down to read this. If you like soap operas, this is enough romance and angst here to keep you happy as well.Crossposted at Booklikes.