Review: Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller

I first discovered Diana Biller when her first novel, The Widow of Rose House, was released back in 2019. I absolutely loved it and thought Biller had an elegant prose that sucked me into the story right away. Plus the romance was sensual, sweet and a little spicy. It was a wonderful mix and I just recall how much that debut has stood out to me over the years. I often recommend it to friends and family, so naturally when I saw this new release, I had to jump on it!

This is Biller’s fourth novel and while I have missed the other two (though they are on my book shelf currently!) I didn’t want to miss this one! I loved the cover, it caught my eye and drew me in. It is colorful and really eye catching and while I hate judging a book by it’s cover, this one made it hard to resist! Knowing that Biller has written such quality historical romances before made me even more excited for this than the cover though. If you haven’t read her books, you are missing out!

Not only did the cover and the author appeal to me, but the description of this book spoke to me. I loved that this book promised to take us to the glittering world of Vienna and indeed a world of intrigue and spies. If you are looking for a historical romance to escape with this spring, that will leave you feeling like you read something ‘new’ and ‘different’ then I think this book fits the bill. It was a pleasure to read this book and another that I will be sharing with family and friends!


During ball season, anything can happen, even love.

It’s ball season in Vienna, and Maria Wallner only wants one thing: to restore her family’s hotel, the Hotel Wallner, to its former glory. She’s not going to let anything get in her way – not her parents’ three-decade-long affair; not seemingly-random attacks by masked assassins; and especially not the broad-shouldered American foreign agent who’s saved her life two times already. No matter how luscious his mouth is.

Eli Whittaker also only wants one thing: to find out who is selling American secret codes across Europe, arrest them, and go home to his sensible life in Washington, DC. He has one lead – a letter the culprit sent from a Viennese hotel. But when he arrives in Vienna, he is immediately swept up into a chaotic whirlwind of balls, spies, waltzes, and beautiful hotelkeepers who seem to constantly find themselves in danger. He disapproves of all of it! But his disapproval is tested as he slowly falls deeper into the chaos – and as his attraction to said hotelkeeper grows. (summary from Goodreads)


It’s been so great to see Biller evolve as a writer. In her debut she had such a strong voice and style and seeing it continue to grow and take shape in this book was so wonderful as a fan and reader of her earlier works. One of the things that stood out to me in both her early work and this one, was her humor. It’s like a historical romance rom-com. The story has great humor and I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions. But don’t dismiss this book as rom-com fluff. It has a lot of substance to it as well. The humor for me was a bonus! This book literally had something for every reader. Humor for readers like me who enjoy smart dialogue and snappy characters, almost a women’s fiction element with a main character you can cheer for, spies, family secrets, espionage, suspense, and ROMANCE!!!

The saving of the hotel and Maria’s story really added substance to this story. That’s the part that makes it NOT fluff. Maria is so hardworking and resilient and I thought her character made the story shine and added a lot for female readers to admire and potentially discuss. I could see this book being something that books clubs could discuss and that isn’t very often said about romance novels. Maria and Eli’s characters in the book are incredibly developed and fully realized in the story, sometimes in romances the characters are less developed and strong in favor of developing the romantic parts. That was one of the things that makes Biller stand out to me as a solid romance writer. She understands the power of having developed characters that readers can invest in, while still having steamy sex and romance. I absolutely loved Eli and Maria and their love story was enjoyable and memorable.

This story for me seemed more unconventional when it came to the romance genre. It had a lot of substance and character development but kept things balanced with humor and steamy romantic scenes. I loved it and this book only confirms that Diana Biller is an auto buy author for me. She does an outstanding job crafting a well written story. Though I think the history element could have been more evident in the story, it wasn’t a deal breaker for me. The history doesn’t really play a role in the story beyond framing the time period and what’s going on with in that time. Some historical fiction fans might feel like this novel fell short in that realm but for me it didn’t impact the story as the characters really shine in this one. If you haven’t checked out Biller yet, I would say this book is probably her best. All her books are standlones so jump around wherever, but this is a solid representation of her ability as a writer!

Book Info and Rating

Format 416 pages, Paperback

Expected publication March 28, 2023 by St. Martin’s Griffin

ISBN 9781250809452 (ISBN10: 1250809452)

Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s Griffin, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: historical fiction, historical romance, romance


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