Books Books: Domestic Fiction

Hotel 21

Read on for a deleted scene from the book! Welcome to the HOTEL 21 by Senta Rich Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours.

Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway! 

About the Book

hotel 21 book cover

Title: HOTEL 21

Author: Senta Rich

Pub. Date: May 16, 2023

Publisher: Union Square & Co.

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 336

Buy it Here: Amazon (blog books)

Find it: Goodreads or Here 

A sharp and warm-hearted debut novel with an unforgettable protagonist you can’t help but root for.
Noelle is an efficient, friendly hotel cleaner—a model employee. Or so she’d have you think . . . trouble is, she can’t help but take little “souvenirs” from the rooms she cleans. Nothing of value—a lipstick, a hair clip, some tweezers. By the time the guest has noticed, she’s long gone. As Noelle begins work at her twenty-first hotel, she’s determined to last longer than her record of one month in the job. But then she meets her new colleagues. These women are real: they live lives full of happiness and worry, pain and joy. They make her wonder what it might be like to have true friends, people to stick round for—and someone to love. . . . Will they give her the courage to claim the life she deserves, or will her old habits come back to haunt her?


“Those who enjoyed Nita Prose’s The Maid will enjoy the setting and draw comparisons between Noelle and that novel’s protagonist.” —Booklist, starred review

“Senta Rich’s debut novel Hotel 21 tackles some big themes, from self-discovery, sexuality, and mental health to the complex bonds of female friendship.” —Paste Magazine

Once the book got rolling, I loved the camaraderie between the Hotel 21 seventh-floor housekeepers and how they accepted Noelle. The details of our main character’s abusive childhood were pathetically sad but well-placed. Though it was the focus of the book, I could have done without the incessant kleptomania – or at least a believable cure for the condition. 

About the Author

Senta Rich began her career as an advertising copywriter. During this time, she also wrote radio plays and magazine articles, before moving into the world of screenwriting. She now writes regularly for film and TV. Rich lives in Dublin with her husband and son.

Goodreads | Amazon 

Giveaway for Hotel 21

1 winner will receive a finished copy of HOTEL 21, US Only.

Ends May 23rd, midnight EST.

Enter Here – Good Luck!

hotel 21 blog tour

Hotel 21 Tour Schedule

5/9/2023The Book Review Crew
5/12/2023Country Mamas With Kids
5/15/2023Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
5/16/2023Not In Jersey
5/18/2023One More Exclamation 

Deleted Scene from Hotel 21

This deleted section was taken from the original opening of chapter 18. During the editing process, as I added extra scenes, I also needed to take away and this section was an easy decision for me. While I like the heavy, claustrophobic atmosphere of the taxi and Noelle’s panic about what kind of person the taxi driver is, as well as Noelle’s continuing confusion about how to behave around Phil, it’s not essential for moving the story forward, so I cut it.

Instead, we pick up directly outside the Magnolia service entrance as they get out of the taxi. And I probably would have cut it regardless of needing to. Sometimes when I’m writing, I’m finding the emotion, the tone, the next beat in the story. This was one of those times. So while it was necessary for me to write, it was not necessary to include in the final manuscript. 

It’s pouring rain and dense, dark clouds hang low and heavy overhead as we run and jump into a taxi outside my flat. The inside of the taxi smells of pine trees. I see the little green tree hanging from the rearview mirror. 

“You alright, girls? It’s biblical out there,” says the driver. He has thick curly hair and wears a black T-shirt and has a tattoo on his left lower arm of a majestic lion’s head. We tell him we’re fine and that we’re going to the Magnolia, service entrance, but we’re stopping by Phil’s apartment on the way. 

Like it? Read More

Phil’s makeup is smudged under her eyes and her hair is unruly. It’s not the way she normally looks, but I like it. I like any way Phil looks. 

The taxi driver pulls up to the top of the road where the traffic is bumper to bumper. I squint out of the rainy window at people stuck in their cars, wiping the inside of their windscreens trying to see where they’re going. 

“Shit,” says Phil. 

“Don’t panic,” says the driver. “I’ll get you there.” He takes a quick left and then swings right, plunging us into the labyrinth of back streets, one-way streets, and narrow residential roads with cars parked on both sides. Phil and I face front. I glance at her. She’s staring ahead, eyes on the road and her hand on the seat beside me. I want to reach out and touch her hand, but I’m not sure how she’d react. What if she took her hand away? I bet she holds hands with Freddy. Freddy’s face flashes into my mind. 

This is Good Stuff

We’re soul mates, his voice echoes in my head. Bile rises in the back of my throat. I swallow and wish I could open the window a little for fresh air but the rain is still torrential.

The taxi wheels grind over the gravel as we pull into the car park outside Phil’s apartment building. I’ll only be a minute, she says, and climbs out, key at the ready and dashes inside. I stay in the taxi. 

Phil was right, in the grey light of day, her apartment complex does look like a hospital with its smooth white facades and small windows. It feels clinical and sterile. 

The taxi driver’s phone rings and he pops his earphones in to take the call. I guess straight away he’s on the phone to his wife or girlfriend. I can just about hear a female voice through the speakers. They’re discussing tiles for their bathroom. She wants black but he wants to stick with the dark blue ones they already agreed on. 

“We don’t want it to look like a funeral home,” he says. She must have disagreed because he has to qualify his statement. 

“I just mean it’s too black.” She’s supposed to be buying the tiles they agreed on but now that she’s actually in the shop, she prefers the black. He wants to know what the sales guy thinks. The taxi driver shakes his head. The sales guy obviously thinks black are better too. He drums his fingers on the steering wheel and tries again to persuade her to stick with the blue tiles. 

Why Was it Deleted?

He’s aware of me sitting in the back, so he’s controlling himself. I shift in my seat, feeling hot. I’m worried things might kick off between them. What if he’s a violent man? If he threatens her on the phone? What will I do?  Maybe she’ll hang up on him. Maybe it’s him that’ll get it later from her. 

He goes quiet and stops drumming his fingers. He takes a deep breath. I take one too. “You know what, babe? Get the black, yeah?” Now she’s worried he won’t like them but from the intonation in his voice I know he’s being genuine. 

“I mean it. Let’s go for it. You like them, which means I probably will. I’ll see you later. Love ya too.” He hangs up, looks at me in the rear view mirror and smiles. 

“Sorry ‘bout that. Bathroom tiles. Can’t let something like that ruin your marriage.” I return the smile, relieved to have been wrong about him. 

The rain has eased in the last few minutes and the sky is brightening up a little. Phil gets back in the taxi, holding her bag and jacket in one hand and a piece of buttered bread in the other. 

“Thanks for waiting.” 

“No worries, love,” says the driver. “It’s clearing up now.” 

There’s More!

We pull out of the car park and onto the road. Phil was gone no more than seven minutes but the transformation is spectacular. She’s changed into a crisp white shirt and a tight black skirt. Her inky, silky hair is twisted into a messy roll at the back of her head and two strands fall either side of her face, caressing her smooth cheeks. She has black button earrings in her delicate lobes and a thick, dark pink gloss on her lips. 

“You look beautiful,” I whisper, in awe of her effortless elegance. She offers me a bite of her bread and butter. I shake my head and remove a loose hair from her shoulder as she puts the last bit of crust in her mouth.  She throws me a cheeky grin. It’s enough to keep me going for now.  

Thank You

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