If I Had You
Book 1, The Grand Russe Hotel
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Inside the glittering walls of a famous hotel, an ingénue experiences first passion . . .
As she stands before the gilded doors of The Grand Russe Hotel, Alecia Loudon is poised on the threshold of a profound awakening. It is the Roaring Twenties, and London is buzzing with opportunities for adventure . . . and indiscretion. The young personal secretary knows nothing of the ways of men, but a chance meeting with the hotel’s handsome night watchman sets her imagination afire.
Ivan Salter has noticed the quiet Englishwoman and wonders what delicate beauty might be lurking behind Alecia’s plain clothes. As the handsome Russian draws Alecia further into the hotel’s luxurious world, he introduces her to fine food, cool jazz, and forbidden assignations. Their dalliance is tested, however, by a surprising link between Ivan’s family history and Alecia’s bosses. Tangled up in international intrigue, the lovers must decide if their sparkling new romance is worth the cost . . .
Praise for Heather Hiestand’s novels
“One Taste of Scandal is a delicious, multi-layered Victorian treat." —Gina Robinson, author of The Last Honest Seamstress and the Agent Ex series
“A fast read with a different view point than many novels in the genre.” —Library Journal on His Wicked Smile
“This is definitely one for the keeper shelf.” —Historical Romance Lover on His Wicked Smile
“A delightful, sexy glimpse into Victorian life and loving with two wonderfully non‑traditional lovers.” —Jessa Slade, author of Dark Prince's Desire, on His Wicked Smile
full of intrigue and suspense
This story takes place in the 1920's in England in the not-so-glamorous areas of London. The setting is the historic Grand Russe Hotel. The owner and the patrons have their secrets. Alecia wants to be a flapper and have adventures. Instead, she works for a small wage as a secretary. At night, she sneaks down to hear the music coming from the nightclub. Ivan has lost his proud Russian heritage and works as night watchman. He encounters Alecia, and they are attracted to each other. I loved how Ivan accepted that the past was done and his future was his to make. He kept to his principles by going to the police when his sister and fiance plot to take out the man responsible for their situation. Alecia did not impress me as much. She had experienced her own losses, accepted them as well, but I had trouble connecting.
I received a copy of this story through Netgalley.
A little meandering in spots did make this story a bit uneven in terms of pacing, but an interesting
Traveling to the 1920’s, an era that is notable for the multitude of social changes, and several upheavals in the political realm with the conclusion of World War I and the realignment of several monarchies throughout Europe. Thus, the incursion of Russian émigrés, titled and not, into England after the fall of the final Romanov Tsar.
Here we find Alecia, newly arrived to London as a career woman and personal secretary to the owners of The Grand Russe Hotel. She’s a diligent, rather innocent and reserved young woman, certain of her own skills if a bit unsure socially. The glamour and glitz of the hotel, the newness of Jazz and the apparent free-for-all socialization of the young people and her own curiosity and desire to make her own stamp on the world are all in play.
Ivan works at the hotel: far more worldly and free, he’s decided to explore Alecia further. He’s dashing, daring and different, and Alecia’s limited experience is wowed by his manner. But there’s also far more to this Russian émigré, things that Alecia may not be prepared to deal with.
Characters were well drawn, although I wanted to see more of the dichotomy between good and evil, secrets and openness that Heistand used here. She’s capable of it from earlier titles I’ve read in her Redcakes series, so I did feel more could have been brought to both characters. Settings, the feel of the 20’s and even the bits of intrigue were well done, but without that real OOMPH from the characters to draw me in and have a stronger emotional reaction to them, the story was light and interesting for the most part, but nothing compelled me to keep on reading as I had to turn the next page. A little meandering in spots did make this story a bit uneven in terms of pacing, but an interesting first installment to a series, one that leads me to hope for more challenge in the characterization in future books.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.