ORIENTAL HOTEL by Janet Tanner


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A sateen WW II romance set in still-grand hotels, from Cairo to Singapore, with lacy erotic languors taking place upon the sub-filled waters en route to Hong Kong. Elise Sanderson, wife of a moderately successful H.K. businessman, thinks she's perfectly happy with considerate hubby Gordon--until she's stranded in 1941 Cairo, after coming to Egypt to be with her dying mother. How, with the Japanese all over the map, will Elise get home? Well, she finds a reluctant knight in Gerald ""Brit"" Brittain, wounded RAF vet and scion of a ruthless business family: now on a top-secret Intelligence mission, Brit grudgingly agrees to see to Elise's transport back to Hong Kong. And what a voyage it is! There are two boat trips and a torpedoing; a cabin-sized caste war between Elise and two humble (and tough) Wrens. Above all there's tremendous sex with Brit once their mutual hostilities cease: Elise is left with ""every nerve ending exposed and yearning."" Still, between moments of grand passion, Elise worries and wonders about Gordon and son Alex. After stops at Bombay (the Taj Mahal hotel) and Penang (the Eastern and Oriental) and dangerous passages, Elise meets Gordon at Raffles in Singapore; by yacht they'll return to Hong Kong. But idiotic Gordon--who finds out the adulterous truth--refuses to allow Elise (pregnant) to take Alex to safety in Australia, pooh-poohing rumors of an invasion. So it all ends with a cliffhanger rescue before invasion and tragedy. (A 1980 epilogue fills in the aftermath and family history.) Despite all the war tremors: a fairly mindless, silky romance offering--distinctive only in its glossy reminders of the glory days of some spectacular, exotic hostelries.

Pub Date: May 2nd, 1985
Publisher: St. Martin's