Author: Allison Pittman
Genre: Historical/Split-time Romance
Series: Doors to the Past
Release Date: February 1, 2021
Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?
Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.
Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.
In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
When I read the premise of The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman, I was intrigued. I love dual/time novels with a bit of romance and mystery. This book offered those elements and more.
Dini Blackstone is a magician who is also a tour guide who gives ghost-walk tours. Her favourite ghost story is of Hedda Krause. A wealthy widow who stayed at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio in 1915. While Hedda is a fictional character, the Menger Hotel is, in actuality, known to be one of the most haunted hotels in America.
Dini meets a descendant of the detective who originally investigated Hedda's claims. The two of them begin a journey of uncovering the mystery of whether Hedda was a great con-artist or if she was actually robbed.
I was conflicted with this novel. The idea of it appealed to me. I love dual-time romances and a good mystery. But, this book started to lose its appeal for me when it became too convoluted. It didn't help that the romance felt rushed. For example, in one paragraph, Hedda and the detective are in a booth in the Menger bar discussing a Dicken's novel, and in the next, they are kissing. I felt like I had stepped out of a movie and come back and missed something.
The romance between Hedda and the detective was too rushed and felt unnatural. As did the romance between Dini and Quinn. I felt no connection to any of the characters. The lack of Christian content was also a letdown. While the characters do mention God once in a while, He was not central to the story. And while it seemed the author was trying to imply that coincidences are part of God's plan, it fell somewhat flat in delivery. I wanted to like this book. I really did. But it was hard.
The author certainly did her research into the era and her descriptions of the hotel and Sallie's "hauntings" are exciting and mysterious. You could quite literally picture everything. For those who like gothic themes and ghost stories, this book might intrigue you.
I received this book courtesy of Barbour Publishing through NetGalley with the expectation of a review and for my honest opinion.
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