Exeter's branch of Blackwell’s is preparing a "19th-century love inn" with the city's Southernhay House Hotel.
The partnership will bring Blackwell’s books to guests' hotel rooms so they can discover literature that relates to both the hotel's "mercantile past" and its "wider place in the Exeter scene".
According to Blackwell's, the selection of books on offer to guests will range from "rakish romps" to real-life dramas, as inspired by shared 19th century origins and "the romance of the age and its attitude of derring-do", with examples including Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist (Picador) and Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha (Penguin).
Blackwell's has provided the books free of charge, but if a customer wants to take one they have started reading home with them, they will be charged for it.
The first Blackwell’s bookshop opened in Oxford in 1846, not long after Southernhay House's first owner, East India Company’s captain General William Kirkpatrick, set up home there. Southernhay House's rooms today evoke its 19th-century past, named after trades such as Silk, Cotton, Ivory, Spice and Opium.
"So, if you stay in Tulip or Sugar at SH, both 'luxury double' rooms, you might find The Minaturist by Jessie Burton, a story of trade, scandal and scale in 17th century Amsterdam. Or if you land in Silk, a 'comfortable double' you could be introduced to Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden, a tale of Chiyo and her life as a geisha in Kyoto in the mid 20th century," said a spokesperson for Southernhay House Hotel.
Jointly the companies commented: “We think that the erudite and rather bohemian Kirkpatrick would have loved the idea of two like-minded Exeter brands getting together under his roof."