Friday, August 12, 2011
Hotel Liaison by JLee Meyer
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Abuse exists in many forms. It can exist within relationships, organizations, or societies. Hotel Liaison is a romance that has at its heart abuses of several different types.
Stefanie Beresford and her friends are trying to restore an old hotel with the idea of creating a business that would cater only to women. Things have not been going well as they've found themselves beset with unreliable contractors, cost overruns and mounting mortgages. The entire project seems endangered when they break through a wall and find a secret cache of old papers that indicate, ironically, that the hotel might have been a meeting point for women in the past and might have historical significance.
Laurel Hoffman is an assistant professor specializing in women's studies who is respected by her colleagues and admired by her students, but she's trapped in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship with her partner who also happens to be the chairman of her department. When one of her students suggests she might be interested in looking at some old papers found on a construction site she's working on, Laurel uses it as a temporary escape from problems at home.
The papers bring Laurel, Stefanie and an interesting group of women together for several missions. They find themselves not only trying to save the hotel and Laurel, but dealing with the misuse of power by businessmen and within families. There is also a conspiracy lurking in the background trying to undermine everything they do. As Laurel and Stefanie are drawn closer together, they realize there is more to fight for than just their relationship and more to win than a chance for love.
Hotel Liaison is a strong book for Meyer. The characters are well developed and the plot is complex, but there are some weaknesses. Some points in the book are just a little too convenient and contrived; however, the interlacing of the different story lines keeps the reading fresh and the conspiracy theory is interesting. Numerous articles and books have been written about the idea that groups like the Bohemian Club, Skull & Bones, the Bilderberg Group and others are trying to unite powerful men for world domination, so it's natural to speculate as to what would happen if they felt their plans were threatened, especially by women. This book has a little bit for lots of people – romance lovers, mystery lovers, historians and conspiracy buffs.