A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies

In this wintry novel about self-discovery and men in tight britches, we meet Charlotte Heath, a vivacious redhead living in 1900 Massachusetts. Betrayed by her wealthy husband, she flees to Boston's Beechmont Hotel (for “gentle ladies” only) and takes up both soul-searching and sexual experimentation. The cast of characters includes a debonair hotel owner, a grumpy ex-soldier, and, of course, handsome porters. But for all its Harlequin trappings, Cooney's novel is an upbeat, even old-fashioned, story about personal growth, telling us we can't know where we're going until we remember where we've been.