Biltmore Girl, the third book in The Historic Hotels Collection series by Dawn Klinge, is my first read by this author, though I do have the first book of the series, Sorrento Girl, waiting on my Kindle. Biltmore Girl releases in a couple of days, so I wanted to give you my take on the book.
As a young girl, Elka Hansen made a name for herself, becoming a sought-after model, who graced magazine covers and is still recognized on the street. But she’s never seen the financial results of her work. That went to her parents. After leaving the modeling business and pondering her next move, she’s living in a YMCA, working as a restaurant hostess in New York’s Biltmore Hotel, and watching over her younger sister. But Elka is looking for her purpose. Jason Lewis is a waiter in the hotel restaurant and working toward a law degree at Columbia University. If he can stay in school, he can avoid the draft.
This story took me back to my childhood – to be precise, to 1968. That was a tumultuous year, and to my young mind, the world was coming to an end. Violent protests. War in Vietnam. Assassinations. Ms. Klinge shows us some of that tumult through the take over of a college building by young protesters, including her sister, and Jacob’s understandable dread of being drafted and sent to Vietnam.
Biltmore Girl is a story of finding love and purpose despite the insecurity and upheaval of the time. With Elka’s sweet spirit, it’s easy to see why Jacob is attracted to her. In Jacob, Elka finds a kind soul, gentleman, and supporter, along with the family dynamics her parents failed to provide for her or her sister. But it’s not all roses and picnics when life-affecting decisions must be made.
I really liked the these characters, especially Elka, and enjoyed seeing the relationship develop between them. If you’re looking for a feel-good, recent-history read, this is the book for you. I give it 4.6 stars.