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Hotel 21

"This beautiful, funny page-turner explores life-affirming friendship through a kleptomaniac hotel cleaner whose sense of self-preservation has seen her cut off connections to other people."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Warm and uplifting, Senta Rich's Hotel 21 is a bona fide, read-in-one-sitting gem. Darkly funny, with a distinct voice you want to keep listening to, and characters who feel like new friends you need to know better, it’s a fabulous story about trust, friendship, sisterhood, and what it means to find people you fit in with. It’s also sassy, sexy and saturated in its protagonist’s stirring journey from confirmed outsider to much-loved friend.

After growing up with an abusive mother and leaving home at the age of seventeen, Noelle has worked as a hotel cleaner for eight years, and never stays long in a job: “Any sign of trouble, even a whiff of a problem, and I walk”. The reason for this comes courtesy of her addiction to taking small items from the rooms she cleans, never anything valuable because “I don’t steal for financial gain. That would make me an ordinary thief and I’m not. I’m a taker of things guests won’t notice are gone”. She steals because of the “sense of achievement it gives you, not because you want to possess something expensive”.

Noelle has just started working at her 21st hotel, the luxurious five-star Magnolia. As usual, she reinvents herself, picking which persona to adopt after sizing up her new boss and colleagues. Will she be sweet Noelle, scatty Noelle, or injured Noelle? She chooses after deciding which guise will endear her to her new colleagues fastest. Though she chooses to remain friendless and lives alone, Noelle is sharp when it comes to understanding human nature, quickly assessing workplace hierarchies and evaluating how to flatter her colleagues, without forming any friendships.

But Noelle’s colleagues at Hotel 21 are different. Though she quickly ingratiates herself with new her supervisor, Noelle struggles to win over one of her fellow cleaners, while the rest of her team don’t hold back on banter. For the first time in her life, after experiencing all kinds of new, overwhelming feelings, Noelle’s heart, body and soul are shaken to the core.

Shot-through with humour and moving scenes of sisterly support, this glorious novel is a true heart-warmer.

Joanne Owen

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