The sole surprise in this novel is that veteran romance writer Stern has produced such a relentlessly dull story. When Karl-Gustav Becker of Baden-Baden's swank Waldhotel Becker dies, the family business is left to Tilla, his daughter. She hires an unscrupulous manager who runs off with both the funds and Eva-Maria, her bitchy daughter. Tilla's other daughter, angelic Kati, stays to pick up the pieces: her beloved father's suicide, her mother's depression and affair with another swindler, the loss of the hotel, and other tribulations. Before Kati's final triumph, Stern monotonously retreads the same ground: the first torrid sex scene is followed by others less inventive, and the whole is padded too generously with lessons in hotel management so that, while the story contains many elements of a conventional romance, it lacks the genre's elan vital. BOMC alternate. (Mar.)
Weak characterization, wooden dialog, and a too-tame story line weigh down this formulaic romance novel. Stock heroine Kati Meier seems destined to take over the world-class Baden-Baden hotel that has been her family's for generations. Tragedy befalls her after her grandfather and father die, however, and her forlorn mother sells the landmark to an unscrupulous seducer who is the father of Kati's boyfriend, Christophe. A series of unlikely events follow that take Kati, feeling betrayed, to Paris, the Riviera, and then back to her beloved hotel, albeit as a kitchen helper unrecognized by Christophe. They are reunited in time for the inevitable passionate and happy ending, of course. BOMC alternate.-- Will Hepfer, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.