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  • Writer's pictureSharon Michalove

A Little Late: A Philadelphia Love Story, But First...

I will be at Love's Sweet Arrow bookstore in Tinley Park on Saturday, November 20, 2021 from 2-4 pm. If you are in the area, I hope you will stop by. I'd love to see you.

17024 S OakPark Ave, Tinley Park, IL (708)620-8365

And now on to this week's story.

When I saw this display in the lobby of the Notary Hotel in Center City, Philadelphia, my imagination went to work overtime. My first thought, since I was in town for Indies Invade Philly, was that this, and the accompanying photo were a temporary display to go with the event.

To me, the young lady looked like an Agatha Christie character—Tuppence Cowley or Bundle Brent. The young man somehow didn’t remind me of Tommy Beresford. Perhaps John Cavendish from The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Or Philo Vance, the dapper American detective, penned by S. S. Van Dine. But of course, if the display had been put together for a romance book signing, these mystery references would make no sense.

These portraits are tied to the history of The Notary Hotel, one of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, Called Mr. and Mrs. Notary by the staff, the story goes that when the building was still the annex to the Philadelphia courthouse, these two worked in the building, he as a notary, she as a secretary. One day they were both in the elevator when her pearl necklace broke. He helped her retrieve the pearls, the couple fell in love, and they eventually married--presumably producing a slew of little Notarys.

True? Perhaps, perhaps not. But they are the face of this member of the Marriott Autograph Collection hotels. The hotels are usually historic buildings that either were or have been converted into distinctive hotel properties. The Notary is particularly charming, and the story went so well with the reason for our visit, a chance for romance readers to meet some of their favorite authors and audiobook narrators, and get a few books signed.

I didn't sign at the event, but I loved having the chance to visit with my friend Jill Bengtsson, the author of the Cake series and her family as well as, Kim Lorraine, Sarina Bowen, Amy Daws, Toni Aleo, and Melanie Harlow among others. Narrators included Erin Mallon, Andi Arndt, Teddy Hamilton, Jason Clarke, Emma Wilder, and Shane East. What a fabulous weekend, which was topped off by Sunday Brunch at Bud and Marilyn's with my friend Michele. We then went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Jasper Johns exhibit.

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