Sarah Morgan's charming Christmas novel, The Book Club Hotel, is an ode to the power of friendship and sure to appeal to anyone who loves the novels of Elin Hilderbrand or Jenny Colgan. Erica, Claudia, and Anna have been friends since they met in college 20 years ago. They convene their "Hotel Book Club" once a year: they stay in a hotel, talk about books, and enjoy spending time together, in spite of their many differences. But this year, as all three women face down their 40th birthdays, they find the year more fraught. Reserved businesswoman Erica is wondering if she's ready for a relationship for the first time ever; stay-at-home mom Anna is dreading empty-nest syndrome after her twins leave for college; and chef Claudia has been blindsided by her partner of 10 years leaving her. This year the three women have decided to stay at Vermont's Maple Sugar Inn, not knowing that their lives are about to be upended by meeting Hattie, the inn's unhappy young owner.
The Book Club Hotel is a perfect holiday read for those who love heartwarming stories. With themes of friendship and found family, Morgan (The Island Villa; The Summer Seekers; The Christmas Sisters) beautifully describes the midlife crises of these remarkably different women as they navigate the holiday season together. Readers will be rooting for Erica, Anna, Claudia, and Hattie each to get their Christmas wish. --Jessica Howard, freelance book reviewer