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A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies by Ellen…
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A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies

by Ellen Cooney

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187963,175 (2.82)5
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This has been on my to-read list for years, so long I don't remember what about the recommendation caught my attention. Whatever it was I didn't see it in the book. Yes, it was good, incredibly well-written, interesting/bordering on crazy characters. But...again I can all but taste the MFA in Creative Writing wafting off this. What is it about Adult Literary fiction that treats life in such a detached and distant way? And makes endings as non-committal as possible. Bottom line, good but not illuminating. ( )
  akmargie | Apr 4, 2013 |
Ellen Cooney is a local author--her books are set in Boston or Eastern Massachusetts. I love place as a character, and selfishly, I love reading about Boston. Cooney's A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies is set in the early 20th century, and details the goings-on of a Beacon Hill brothel (for women!).

Red-headed Charlotte married into a rich New England family and succumbed to a mysterious malaise that kept her bedridden for years. Stepping out one winter day, she catches her husband passionately embracing another woman, and without a word, she rides off to Boston. She is saved only by a series of potential improbably coincidences--at every turn, she runs into someone who knows her, owes her, or wants her. She ends up at The Beechmont: A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies and discovers her true self.

At moments wildly fun, others very predictable. I was underwhelmed by the ending. ( )
  unabridgedchick | Mar 31, 2009 |
An incredibly boring book. Promised a lot and delivered nothing. I was all for expecting some kind of thrilling, silly, Victorian love affair. Instead I got a pointless and mind numbingly boring account of a bland woman's stay in the most sleepy and unrealistic bordello ever. This book was a complete waste of time. ( )
  ohdeer | Nov 10, 2008 |
  woodbear | Aug 15, 2007 |
Unfortunately, I was thoroughly disappointed by the novel as a whole. I did enjoy the author’s writing style, particularly her descriptions of the city in winter and her ability to extend the frozen theme into the lives of the characters. Everything else about the book was tepid and unexciting. *Warning: Spoilers* Charlotte’s personal development was not as extensive as I’d hoped and mainly consisted of her trying to recapture the spunk of her youth. Her sexual awakening, which was much touted in the reviews I read, was definitely overrated. Instead of being sexually liberated, she ended up simply falling in love with a younger man (with a fictional tragic childhood) and looking a bit foolish in the end. When confronted with her future with her husband, she decided to return to him in a move that seemed somehow too facile. It was almost as if she felt she had leveled the playing field by having an affair of her own. I didn’t feel as though she had a plan for making their future life together substantially different than their past. Ultimately, this novel was based on excellent premise that just lost steam about a third of the way through.
  swelldame | May 14, 2007 |
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For Phillipa Brewster
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Charlotte Heath was in such a hurry to get to her husband, it took her awhile to notice the absence of her bells.
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Book description
A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies is an irresistible tale of a woman's search for self- a journey that takes her to the most surprising places. The book takes place in February 1900 in a small Massachusetts town blanketed with snow. Red-haired Charlotte is married to an heir of the powerful Heath family. Upon spying her husband embracing another woman, she flees both him and the luxurious, stifling life of the Heath household for "The Beechmont: A Private Hotel for Gentle Laidies," a unique Boston establishment whose handsome porters make discreet, late-night visits to its female clientele. Charlotte is quickly swept up in a sexual awakening that in turn leads her on a journey to understand her own marriage and ultimately to discover where, if anywhere, she truly belongs.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375423400, Hardcover)

It is 1900 in a small, prosperous Massachusetts town. Charlotte Heath, a lively, independent redhead of humble beginnings, is married to the scion of the powerful Heath family. When, on her first outing after a long illness, she spies her husband, Hays, bending to kiss another woman in the village square, impulsive Charlotte heads her horses straight out of town. Unsure where to go but certain that she wants to leave both Hays and the stifling, if luxurious, life of the Heath household behind, Charlotte makes her way to Boston and checks in at “The Beechmont: A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies,” where she makes another startling discovery: the classy Beechmont is a rather unique institution, where handsome porters make discreet, late-night visits to its all-female clientele. Charlotte finds herself surrounded by a cast of characters that will delight the reader as she settles into life at this reverse brothel: Harry Alcorn, the hotel’s dashing and prescient proprietor; Miss Berenice Singleton, the bohemian painter who holds a kind of salon in her rooms; the scowling cook, Mrs. Petty, who once worked for the Heaths and is determined that Charlotte not stay on at the Beechmont; the charming and handsome “porter” Arthur, who both gives pleasure and makes trouble; and the venerable lady doctor Lily Heath, her husband’s aunt, whom Charlotte is amazed to find among the hotel’s regulars.

In the midst of a dizzying sexual enlightenment, Charlotte must puzzle out why she really left Hays and why he seems to have left her first. Her task is to determine whether she can forgive him and to discover where, if anywhere, she truly belongs–an adventure that takes her farther afield than she could ever have imagined.

Ellen Cooney has given us a remarkable portrait of a historical moment and an irresistible protagonist. Fresh, high-spirited, and wonderfully seductive in the telling, A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies carries the reader along on a woman’s unforgettable journey to self-enlightenment.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After a convalescence Charlotte Heath, leaves her husband's family mansion to find him kissing another woman. Shocked she leaves for the city and goes to her friend, former cook for the family, who works at the Beechmont. She discovers that the Beechmont is a male brothel where she masters her illness, becomes comfortable with her desires, and learns to deal with her patronizing husband.… (more)

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