Review by Amy Atzert, collection development librarian
Marie Wallner is determined to restore her family’s hotel, the Hotel Wallner, to the respected and beautiful talk of the town it once was. Her mother has let it fall into ruins. Maria taking control is going to change that. She will get the hotel ready for a grand ball for Fasching, Vienna’s carnival season. The magnificent ball will restore the hotel’s reputation. Then the hotel will once again be the grand focal point of 19th century Vienna. Her family’s name and livelihood depends on it.
Maria sets out from the hotel on a snowy day with a long list of to-dos. As she rushes across the street loud sounds and a firm hand are all she can hear and feel. Luckily that firm hand pulls her to safety and away from the fast moving carriage rushing down the street. When she gets her bearings she is looking into the face of the handsome Eli Whittaker who has saved her life. While Eli is trying to assess if she is ok, Marie can’t keep her eyes off of that beautiful mouth of his. After an awkward moment in the street a frustrated Eli leaves a befuddled Maria and goes on his merry way.
Little does American Secret Service agent Whittaker know he would soon save her life again and become embroiled in a madcap adventure of old secrets, spies, hotel balls, and a steamy romance. A fun read full of playful exchanges.