I’d had this book as a ‘to read’ for awhile. Given that one of my WIPs takes place solely in a hotel, Danielle Steele’s Hotel Vendome was among the closest fits I’ve had to my material. As much of an avid reader as I am, I am not well versed in Ms. Steele’s large library of work. I know she is known for romance, exotic locations and wealthy characters (although, please give me Judith Krantz any day of the week for this type of book). I settled in and at the start enjoyed the detailed explanation of the hotel (her descriptions tripped a few small items that my own book was missing), however, the protagonists were not characters I ever really connected with. The proprietor of the hotel, Mr. Hugues Martin, is a completely predictable workaholic and his daughter, Heloise (not to EVER be mistaken for Eloise at the Plaza) while intelligent, is an immature twat.
The biggest issue with this story is the complete lack of tension, plot, or antagonism. There is literally nothing for the characters to overcome, rise above, or get over. They lead an almost entirely perfect existence and any issues they do have all fall completely in the category of ‘first world problems.’
I’ll admit, I was frustrated. Firstly, by the cost. There is no market where this book should cost $14.99 for its Kindle version (yes, I actually paid this amount). Actually, most of my frustrations come from the cost. For $14.99 I expect a book that I would read again and again (books I would happily pay this much for? Diana Gabaldon’s series, any of the Hunger Games, any of the Harry Potters, any of Steig Larsson’s triology). For $14.99, the book should have beautifully crafted characters and pages that I can’t wait to turn. The only pages I turned in this book were to see if ANYTHING less than perfect would befall the cast (something marginally tragic does happen towards the end, but any smart reader would see it a mile away). A quick glance at the reviews on the Amazon page for this book reveal readers feel much the same way I do. While people do pay this much for the book (and kudos to you Ms. Steele for having such a loyal audience), I feel more confident that readers would get a better experience with my Room 702 at under $5.99 (price is still TBD for the book).
In the end, I don’t think I would even classify this as a beach read, merely as something you would find abandoned on a plane and read while reruns of HIMYM play in the background, knocking back G&T’s on a long haul flight.