Hotel of Secrets
Grade : A-

Diana Biller’s Hotel of Secrets is one part romance, once part historical fiction, one part mystery. Biller definitely manages to keep the suspense and the romance rollicking along, making for a delightful read.

Maria Wallner has dedicated herself to restoring the Hotel Wallner, her legacy and the family’s pride and joy, to its former luster. To that end, she decides to throw a big, splashy do to indicate the hotel is open and willing for business when it comes to dances and balls during carnival season, no matter how much her family opposes her.

That’s when the attacks by masked assailants start, which proves to be only one obstacle standing between Maria and her hopes of reviving the hotel; another is her selfish mother, who, after four generations of matriarchal ownership, has shirked her duties regarding the business for years, and that, together with Vienna’s economic downturn, means it’s time for a major refurbishment.

Fortunately, Eli Whittaker – handsome American Treasury agent with a mission – is on hand to intervene. He does not want to be involved in Diana’s business – he’s much keener on trying to figure out who’s selling American codes in secret all over Europe to the country’s enemies. A lead draws him to the Wallner, but Maria’s problems are a distraction, to say the least.

Maria and Eli find themselves embroiled in two mysteries which may indeed dovetail together – and a love match which might indeed turn out to be divine. But he’s wedded to his Washington DC lifestyle, and Vienna is her home. Between kidnapping plots and the distractions the guests and her parents provide, will they figure out where they belong?

Great characters + fun mystery + banter + oodles of hero and heroine-based romantic chemistry = Diana Biller, and this book is no different than any of their others (all of which I’ve adored) in that regard. Her dialogue is smart, and the romance as delicious as a Viennese pastry.

This is a great romance – filled with wit and life. Eli is very internalized, and very conservative while Maria is more passionate and bold. Her love of her hotel and of Vienna glows brightly in her every action. But her love for Eli is just as beautiful. Their connection goes from annoyance to love to lust to desire, and it’s wonderfully handled.

Maria’s grandmother is definitely my favorite supporting character, but there are a lot of wonderful folks floating about in the prose. Biller knows how to create people you love and loathe, and relationships you root for. Every bit of it is fantastic.

In the end, Hotel of Secrets doesn’t quite manage to climb above The Widow of Rose House for me, but it landed just a notch below that auspicious novel. It’s quite a great ride, and fans of romance, of mysteries and of good historical fiction will likely gobble it up.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

Visit our Amazon Storefront

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: A-

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : April 2, 2023

Publication Date: 03/2023

Review Tags: Vienna

Recent Comments …

Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments