White Birch, by Paul Edmund Lessard
A darkly humorous novel about the trappings of generational wealth and the human cost of ambition
The White Birch Hotel in the city of Tuffty Town teems with poorly kept secrets: exiled governments negotiating banished royals and messy revolutions; detectives tapping phones and trailing spies; paramours leaving tell-tale signs of furtive assignations in unlocked suites; captains of finance hatching plans in the grey haze of the smoking bar.
We find among this clamour Henry Huvvy: bon vivant, boulevardier, and mainstay of milieus both refined and ragtag. But when the lure of unattainable love drives him to build, with questionable tactics, a new empire of opulence, the fate of an erstwhile princess is set against his own.
White Birch introduces a vividly rendered cast of characters into a world at once familiar and delightfully uncanny.