Thursday, January 1, 2015

Book Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Partial synopsis from Good Reads:  In the opening pages of Jamie Ford's stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry's world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American.  Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

My Thoughts:  What a wonderful book!  The author is writing with two time lines.  One is Henry's current, adult life showcasing his struggles of communicating with his son and recently losing his wife to cancer.  The other thread of time Henry is 12 years old.  His circumstances are filled with prejudice and segregation during WWII Seattle, as he is the only Asian child attending an exclusive all white school.

Amid these struggles, Henry finds friendship, kindness and, yes, even love.  Sometimes these are found in the harshest and most surprising place.

My favorite line from the book:  “He'd learned long ago: perfection isn't what families are all about."

What are you reading?

;-)  -Marci


  1. I am so glad you posted this review. I have have wanted to read this, but wasn't sure. I am definitely adding it to my list. :)
    I am currently reading "Promises to Keep" by Ann Tatlock. I am only on page 87, but so far it's good.
    Happy 2015! <3

  2. Hey Marci! Thank you for the book review! I will definitely have to look into it. And thanks for sharing the line from the book - wow, what a great and true thought!

    Right now I am reading 'Like a Flower in Bloom' by Siri Mitchell and it's very good. Happy weekend!

  3. I love this story! Great quote, too! I’m reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry ..... it’s been languishing on my TBR shelf.


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