May 28, 2009

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

I received this book from Pump Up the Book Promotion blog tours, and it was one of those books that I was glad I'd agreed to review.

As the inside jacket says, "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."

I don't love history. And I like historical books even less. But this book was not a historical book. This was a love story between a man a girl he fell in love with during his childhood who was taken away with her family during WWII. The story flashes back and forth between Henry's childhood life and his current life as a retired father and widower.

The book was written very well. Though there aren't a lot of character descriptions within the writing, you feel like you know the characters by the end of the book. And just like in Romeo and Juliet, you're rooting for the unlikely couple of a Japanese girl and Chinese boy to beat the odds. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone that enjoys a good love story, historical fiction, and/or Asian fiction. 4 stars.


  1. What a great blog. I enjoyed Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet as well.

  2. I have this book on my nightstand and MUST carve out time to read it soon! Just came over from J. Kaye's book blog. Great blog!


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