Hotel du Lac, by British novelist Anita Brookner, was published in 1984. Brookner's fourth novel, it won the Booker Prize, Britain's most prestigious literary award. As a result of her first three novels, Brookner had won a reputation for writing about the difficulties faced by middle-aged, single, lonely women, and Hotel du Lac follows this pattern. It also owes something to the genre of popular romance novels; its heroine, Edith Hope, is a successful writer of such novels. She has been dispatched by her friends in London to a hotel in Switzerland because of an unfortunate lapse on her part, although the reader is not initially informed about what the lapse was. Edith intends to use her temporary stay to finish her latest romance novel, but instead she spends much of her time observing and interacting with the other hotel guests, who include a rich and glamorous but self-centered elderly widow and her daughter; an upper-class young woman who suffers from an eating disorder; a lonely, old and deaf countess; and an enigmatic man named Mr. Neville. The self-effacing, quiet Edith, a romantic soul whose relationships with men are less than satisfactory, spends much time thinking about how a woman ought to behave in order to satisfy her longings for love, as well as recalling in painful detail the reasons for her banishment. In the end, Edith receives a proposition from Mr. Neville that forces her to think deeply about what she really wants in life and whether she is prepared to compromise her ideals.