Book Reviews

The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

The Lady in ResidenceTitle: The Lady in Residence
Author: Allison Pittman
Rating: ★★★★★

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

I received this novel from NetGalley and Barbour Fiction in exchange for an honest review.

The Lady in Residencec is the start to collaboration of the present and the past in The Doors to the Past series. I don’t know if it was divine intervention or just perfect time, but I started reading this while watching Alias Grace on Netflix. The story follows two women over a century apart: Hedda Krause, a young widow staying at the Menger Hotel, and Dini Blackstone, a magician who gives ghost tours. The stories collide when Quinn Carmichael, a descendent of the detective in charge of the case of Hedda Krause’s robbed room, embarks on one of Dini’s ghost tours.

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story?! Or an unsolved case?! Pittman seamlessly intertwines the lives of Hedda (1915) and Dini (2017), while walking readers through the solving of the mystery. The chapters alternate between Hedda and Dini. As the story advances, the reader starts to see similarities between Hedda and Dini. Both girls are slowly falling in love…and with men who happen to be related! While the case was never solved, Dini and Quinn believe with her knowledge of Hedda’s novel and his family heirlooms, they can solve the case of who Sallie, the ghost, really is, and why she stole Hedda’s jewelry from her late husband.

The Lady in Residence is a story of two women who find themselves finding more than they ever wished and coming to terms with the truth of Sallie. Pittman expertly weaves together the past and the present in a story of love, mystery, and the paranormal.

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