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Hotel of Secrets- Review

Hotel of Secrets

By Diana Biller

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Publication Date: March 28,2023

Source: Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

Amazon Indiebound


Diana Biller’s Hotel of Secrets is chock full of banter-filled shenanigans, must-have-you kisses, and romance certain to light a fire in the hearts of readers everywhere.

During ball season, anything can happen— even love.

It’s ball season in Vienna, and Maria Wallner only wants one thing: to restore her family’s hotel, the Hotel Wallner, to its former glory. She’s not going to let anything get in her way – not her parents’ three-decade-long affair; not seemingly-random attacks by masked assassins; and especially not the broad-shouldered American foreign agent who’s saved her life two times already. No matter how luscious his mouth is.

Eli Whittaker also only wants one thing: to find out who is selling American secret codes across Europe, arrest them, and go home to his sensible life in Washington, DC. He has one lead – a letter the culprit sent from a Viennese hotel. But when he arrives in Vienna, he is immediately swept up into a chaotic whirlwind of balls, spies, waltzes, and beautiful hotelkeepers who seem to constantly find themselves in danger. He disapproves of all of it! But his disapproval is tested as he slowly falls deeper into the chaos – and as his attraction to said hotelkeeper grows.

“A beautifully researched and emotionally complex experience, Hotel of Secrets is an opulent slice of Viennese tradition as rich as a torte and as layered as a complicated line of Strauss. With intrigue and danger that nips on the heels of its luscious waltz, Biller’s lush and atmospheric escape is dolloped with romance and the deep, complicated and sigh-worthy characters that always shoot her to the top of my auto-buy list.” – Rachel McMillan, author of The Mozart Code


Honesty, Diana Biller is an author who has consistently slayed with her books. From a gothic ghost story to post Franco-Prussian war Paris, to 1870’s Vienna, she takes on beautifully constructed jaunts through history. Hotel of Secrets, which isn’t tied to her previous two books, brings us to the elegant and boisterous Vienna during ball season. We’re introduced to the manager of Hotel Wallner, Maria, right away as she starts the New Year with hope for revitalizing her family’s hotel. And then we meet a delightful cast of characters, her scandalously parents, her rakish half-brother, her grandmother, her best friend and cook at the hotel, staff, and long-term guests including a French spy and a set of fortune-tellers. And then we meet Eli for the first time, while he’s saving Maria’s life from a carriage! Talk about an eventful meeting! Eli, a guest at Maria’s hotel of course, and Maria are quickly thrown together as threats against her appear and intersect with the case that Eli is working on. Plus, there’s that pesky attraction between them and the urge to “explore” closets with each other. Maria is vivacious, hardworking, and determined to restore her hotel to it’s former glory. Eli is overwhelmed by both Maria and Vienna but slowly warms up to both. He’s scarred by his past and the only focus in his life is his work, until Maria pushes her way into the picture.

This book really has everything: a fantastic setting, unusual for historical romances, fascinating characters (I especially enjoyed the journal entries at the start of each chapter from Maria’s great-grandmother), historical and political intrigue, danger, and at the heart of it all, two people who fall deeply, madly, passionately in love with each other.

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