Suite Scarlett, by Maureen Johnson
Scarlett Martin’s family lives in the Jazz-age historic hotel they run in New York City, complete with vintage furnishings and a bootlegger’s laundry drop. Like all of her siblings, Scarlett becomes responsible for a suite on her 15th birthday.
Family finances being what they are—scraping rock bottom—the last of the staff have been let go and everyone has to pull together for the future of the Hopewell, even if catering to hotel guests isn’t every Martin sibling’s dream for the future. Older brother Spencer, for instance, wants to be an actor, and spends his off hours practicing pratfalls and performing off-off-off Broadway: ok, it’s Shakespeare in a parking garage.
Scarlett’s first guest in the Empire Suite is Mrs. Amberson, a wealthy, eccentric older woman with a flair for drama (framing Scarlett for shoplifting and then talking their way out of an arrest is her idea of a good time). She hires Scarlett to aid in writing her memoirs, but the memoir-writing soon takes a back seat to time spent eavesdropping, lurking, and otherwise meddling in the Martin family life. Between catering to her personal diva, covering for her rehearsing brother, and finding time to spend with her own actor boyfriend, Scarlett’s looking at a summer of hard work for no paycheck, but at least it’s going to be interesting.
This first book in a series has a picturesque setting and the feel of an old-time screwball comedy. Let’s put on a show! In a hotel! The sibling alliances and the undercurrents of all the family relationships are nicely done, especially Scarlett’s close rapport with Spencer, whose talent for physical comedy literally steals the show.
Check the WRL catalog for Suite Scarlett