Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Review: Hotel Vendome by Danielle Steel

On the jacket:

Swiss-born Hughes Martin has worked for the world's most prestigious hotels, so when he purchases a small, run-down place in New York, everyone thinks he must be crazy! He alone sees it for the rough diamond it is, transforming it into a beautiful boutique hotel of impeccable elegance, run with the precision and attention to detail he learnt through his hotelier training in Europe.

The Hotel Vendome soon becomes renowned for its unparalleled service, and is the ideal New York refuge for the rich and famous, as well as a perfect home for Hughes' beautiful wife and their young daughter. But when his wife tires of his obsession for the hotel, she walks out on him for a notorious rock star, leaving Hughes a single parent to four-year-old Heloise.

And so the kind hotel staff quickly embrace the little girl, becoming Heloise's family and she has a happy upbringing, adored by the fascinating milieu of high-profile guests. Hughes' commitment to his work has heavily influenced his daughter, so he is delighted when she decides she wants to follow in his footsteps - hotelier training in Switzerland.

But for a father and daughter who have always relied solely on each other, how is Hughes going to cope with his daughter so far away? Will Heloise ever be able to accept another woman in her father's life? And will Hugues have to choose between them?

As life marches quickly on, the close-knit unit at Hotel Vendome are forced to form new bonds, face the often bitter sweetness of life, and work out the true meaning of love and family against the backdrop of a glamorous hotel.


Having been a huge fan of Danielle Steel as a teenager, I am a bit biased about her books. Yet, after returning to reading, post a decade, her books do not somehow feel the same to me. Every book seems to leave a feeling of incomplete reading. Funny, because, I can still swear by some of her titles I had read when I was younger.

Coming back to Hotel Vendome, it was neither excellent, nor a bad story. It was just average. When I say just average, I mean it does well for a read on a monsoon afternoon, sitting cuddled inside, while it rains outside. Story of a man who fell in love and married, but got so involved in work, that his wife left him and he brought up his daughter, while bringing up his passion, his Hotel Vendome. The book doesn't have the drama a regular Steel fan is used to, but if you are reading her for the first time, this is not a bad story either. 

Unlike what the title suggests, the story doesn't actually revolve around the hotel, but around the lives of it's owner and his family. The story mainly revolves around Heloise's life, more than it does around the story. In a very Danielle Steel manner, the plot of the book is about people, places and difficult circumstances in their lives. And everything is predictable. 

I don't want my review to sound negative, because that's not what it is. But it doesn't have the punch which Kaleidoscope, Message from Nam etc had and being an ardent fan, I was obviously disappointed. The book does make for a light read.

Rating: ***/5
[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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