Given an opportunity to join CLP Blog Tours for THE LOBBY by Randi M. Sherman I said yes without a delay. Having a hotel as a backdrop is ripe for all kinds of possibilities but the lobby even better. In this case I was more than surprised by the clever way in which Sherman organized this novel. She chose to use the hour of the day to kick things off we start with 4:00 AM.
At 4:00 AM Hall, the florist, and his son are making a delivery to the Shipley Hotel. That is just the start of a busy day for this San Francisco hotel, it’s staff and guests. There are two functions a business conference for the Master Flash company and a 30th high school reunion too. Guests abound with different stories some end quicker than others but it is fitting for twenty-four hours in a hotel. There are permanent guests like Oscar Pasternak a former actor that was aged out of rolls but is a fixture in the lobby so he comes and goes in any number of chapters. We are even invited to an impromptu wedding and Sherman makes you feel you are a welcomed guest.
So many parties, so many stories…some overlapping and others just stand alone. It was a light and enjoyable read from start to finish. I know I am for sure game to return to the Shipley Hotel’s lobby anytime Sherman would like to return. I whole heartedly recommend this light read for the summer, a simple click away.
Thanks to CLP Blog Tours and Randi here is a excerpt to enjoy:
Slump-shouldered and dizzy from exhaustion, Peggy stretched her neck, took a deep breath and rubbed her eyes, willing herself to be awake and perky. Dressed for the day in her high-rise, poly-blend walking shorts, a muted-colored Madras blouse, and an oversized pastel pink Jazzercise visor, she stood in the hotel lobby. It was only 6:00 a.m. Looking out through the front windows of the hotel, she could see the streets were still practically empty, and even the sun was having second thoughts about starting the day. Waking up before six o’clock in the morning was just too early, especially on a vacation.
“Hank, dear,” she said sweetly, holding a Mylar-wrapped breakfast bar. “Have one of these energy grain bars. It has fiber.”
He snatched it from her, peeled back the wrapper, then shoved it into his mouth and ate it in just two bites. Crumbs flying, he said, “Damned right. I’m not going to wait in line at some overpriced coffee shop for a plate of twelve-dollar eggs. We can have an early lunch.” He spotted a basket of shiny red apples on the registration desk. “Mary Margaret, go get a few of those too. They will tide us over.”
Peggy’s movements are hindered by the beige naugahyde pocket-for-everything purse that was slung over her head and shoulder, crossing her chest. The purse strap was too short for it to be worn this way. It cut tightly between her breasts and rested at her side, just below her armpit, causing her arm to hang at a forty-five degree angle from her body.
“You can never be too careful, Mary Margaret.” Hank checked the positioning of her bag. “I hear there is a lot of purse snatching going on in this city.” He stood back to take a look at her. “Maybe you should put on your sweater—you look like a tourist. You’re just inviting trouble.”
It was big talk from Hank, who was dressed in brighter than-white walking shoes with Velcro closures for efficiency, an AARP fanny pack, and his new short-sleeved sport shirt which was tucked tightly into his underwear beneath his sans-a-belt, high-water polyester dress slacks, replete with a bulging back pocket due to an overstuffed wallet. Clutching his cartoonish city map like it was the map to the Holy Grail, Hank marched toward the morning clerk who was standing behind the front desk. He pointed at Peggy’s feet. “Pick ‘em up and lay ‘em down. We have a lot to do today, and it’s already after six.” With purpose, Hank asked the desk clerk Candice, “Is the conger . . . conseer here?”
Another typical tourist, Candice thought. Ready to go at the crack of dawn. Should I tell him that with the exception of a Starbucks, nothing in this city is open before nine? “Good morning, sir,” Candice smiled. “I see you are up early. I’m sorry sir, but Philippe, the concierge, does not get in until nine o’clock. Perhaps I can help you with something?”
“Yes, you can. We have a heavy day of sightseeing ahead of us, and I want to be efficient about it.” Hank slapped the map down on the counter.
“Okay, I’ll see what I can do. What would you like to do today?” Candice smiled again, as she was trained to do.
“Well,” Hank began, “today we want to walk across theGolden Gate Bridge, ride on a cable car, go to the Cable Car Museum, Fisherman’s Wharf, that curvy Lombardo Street, Golden Gate Park, the Legion of Honor, the Cannery, and Alcatraz.”
Peggy tapped Hank on the shoulder. “And don’t forget Union Square, Hank.”
“You can shop at home,” He called over his shoulder. Turning back to Candice, “What’s the best route? I’d like to work from furthest to closest.” Hank was all about efficiency. “It’s all about organization,” he explained. If a household task could be wrapped up in five minutes he found a way to do it in four. “In the military . . .” Hank would say and then fill in the blank with the most Hank-a-fied, time-efficient way to do something. He meant well, but Peggy knew that he usually made it up as he went along.
Peggy had always hated being called Mary Margaret, Hun, or Marge, but Hank insisted. She endured Hank’s bossy, blow-hard-headedness all for the sake of keeping him calm. They had been married for thirty-five years, and she figured it was probably her fault that he was the way he was. After all, she had been raised to be agreeable. But she secretly wanted to break free of the middle of the row, middle class, very average, superefficient life she was leading and do something wild, something unplanned. Thursday night Bingo just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Anything new or different would be welcome. Dining out somewhere other than the two places in town where Hank was comfortable and where he didn’t spend twenty minutes raving about the “cost of things”— that would be good. Sex with the lights on or for longer than two minutes would be a welcome change. But neither would be enough. Peggy craved the life that she saw on the morning and afternoon talk shows. The life where people were frivolous and chatty, who drank champagne any day, for any occasion, not just at 11:55 PM on December 31st. Wearing a piece of clothing that wasn’t labeled “wash-n-wear” or blended with some fabric that’s name ended in -ester or -oline would be heaven after years in flammable synthetic clothing.