Hotel Belvedere - Barbara Kastelin

Odile takes up a job at the Hotel Belvedere moving away from the quiet country life she's used to with her parents and little sister. The hotel is bustling with guests that take a shine to her but the owners are the ones to watch out for, a history of family drama and secrets will Odile make it out unscathed?

A huge thank you to Troubador Publishing for sending me a gifted copy of this publication. It's always a pleasure working with local publishers.

Immediately this felt like a family TV drama that would be further dramatized by some Sky TV actors and music. The story follows a country girl, Odile, who takes a job working for a family who are trying to run a successful hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva and although the sounds very mundane the tension between characters came across clearly enough in the first few chapters. It became clear there was more than meets the eye when it came to the Krugers and their inner workings and that is what kept me interested. I did find there was a lot of padding in the novel that could have been trimmed off, but Kastelin manages to retain the reader's interest by dropping hints of romance, secrecy and deception at key points right through to the end.

Whilst romance is not my preferred genre to focus on I was captivated by Odile and Noel's interactions. Their relationship was built up and the slow burn of this made it all the better to read as a relief compared to the intensity of the family dynamic. Noel as a character was perfectly written, his infiltration of the storyline was gradual and like his romance with Odile, his own story was a delight to read. Kastelin reveals just enough as we go to keep us engaged and by revealing the twist to the reader, not the characters was a key point for me as waiting for the penny to drop was part of the fun.

Overall 'Hotel Belvedere' was a wonderful family drama to read, it was perfectly pleasant and I'd definitely pick it up again but the length of it could have been trimmed to be that little bit more reader-friendly.

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