Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

{no spoilers here!}

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet opens in 1986 with Henry Lee being jolted from the reality of his wife's recent death with the discovery of hundreds of items in the basement of Seattle's Panama Hotel.  These items were personal belongings hastily placed in the hotel's basement some 40 years earlier by Japanese Americans just hours before their "evacuation" to internment camps.  For Henry, the discovery awakens memories he too had hidden deep within and begins a journey between 1986 and the early 1940s when Henry was a young Chinese American who had fallen in love with a Japanese American school mate. 

Exploring themes surrounding World War II, the Japanese internment, and life as a Chinese (or Japanese) American during that time, author Jamie Ford offers a compelling look at history through the stories of Henry's life. 

My book club is currently reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and I finished it in about 4 days.  This is one of those books that grabbed me at the very beginning and just didn't let go.  Historical fiction is particularly interesting to me as it helps me learn about real events through stories (I knew next to nothing about the topics Ford covers).  The author deeply develops each of the characters and although there were a few instances that seemed a bit unrealistic, this helped to move the story along. Ford also successfully balances the emotions of the stories without over-dramatizing the events.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet now resides at the top of my list of "favorite book club reads". Maybe one of these days I'll actually write out that list for you :)


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Thanks for reading Irene Design! I try to reply to every comment, and if you have a specific question please be sure you include your email or have it enabled on your Blogger profile. Happy Sewing!