Knight, Geoffrey. “Hotel Pens”, Wilde City Press, 2014.
Relearning to Love
Joe Jordan is a travel writer who has not been to New York to his home ever since he and his boyfriend split. He has just kept traveling staying in hotels and collecting pens. He gets a new assignment that takes him to New York. He is to write an article entitled “5 Ways to Rediscover New York” and he finds that being back is quite difficult. But then he meets Claude Desjardins, a gay romance translator staying in his hotel and with whom he shared an evening of sexual pleasure. He takes Joe on a treasure hunt allover Manhattan and writes clues on Joe’s skin with pens from hotels. who, after a night of near passion, leads Joe on a treasure hunt through Manhattan, writing clues on Joe’s skin using hotel pens. Does this sound silly?—well hold on and I promise you will be glad you did.
The two men actually met at the hotel’s front desk and both men take a hotel pen. Then they meet in the elevator. After Claude wrote a message on Joe’s stomach, everything begins to move quickly. As Claude writes messages on Joe, he sets out to not only explore the city but also to explore Claude. Both Joe and Claude are dealing with the loss of relationships.
I must admit that I have never read a m/m romance novel about pens before but I am certainly glad that I read this one. Everything about the book is near perfect. It is beautifully written , has an excellent plot and the characters are well drawn. We sense Joe’s loneliness at the beginning of the novel and we also feel that he will not have an easy time writing this assignment.
Claude is a romantic Frenchman and in him Joe finds what he thought he might never have again. When Joe learns that Claude is waiting for a guy named Henri to arrive, he is convinced that Claude has a lover. At this point I have to stop telling anything about the plot because I would give too much away. Geoff Knight goes in a different direction with this story. He writes this story as if it is a melodrama and I truly enjoyed every word.
We also get something of a tour of NYC. Claude helps Joe find the places that he needs to write about for his article and we even get to some of the romantic places there. There is also something erotic about writing on the body with stolen pens.
Claude teaches Joe about love and about himself while New York City functions as a backdrop. I would even go as far as to say that the city is actually one of the characters in the story. It is Claude who helps Joe to both rediscover who he is and what New York is.