Love and Other Consolation Prizes

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

A Novel

Large Print - 2017 | Large print edition.
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From the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel, inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.

"An evocative, heartfelt, beautifully crafted story that shines a light on a fascinating, tragic bit of forgotten history."--Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale

For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World's Fair feels like a gift. But only once he's there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off--a healthy boy "to a good home."

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam's precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known--and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he's always desired.

But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle's second World's Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.

Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion--in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.

Praise for Love and Other Consolation Prizes

"Exciting . . . [Jamie] Ford captures the thrill of first kisses and the shock of revealing long-hidden affairs." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Strong . . . A laudable effort that shines light on little known histories."-- Library Journal

"Poignant . . . Vibrantly rendered." -- Booklist

"Combining rich narrative and literary qualities, the book achieves a multi-faceted emotional resonance. It is by turns heart-rending, tragic, disturbing, sanguine, warm, and life-affirming. Perceptive themes that run throughout culminate at the end. A true story from the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition inspired this very absorbing and moving novel. Highly recommended." -- Historical Novel Society (Editors' choice)

"Ford is a master at shining light into dark, forgotten corners of history and revealing the most unexpected and relatable human threads. . . . A beautiful and enthralling story of resilience and the many permutations of love." --Jessica Shattuck, author of The Women in the Castle

"All the charm and heartbreak of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet . . . Based on a true story, Love and Other Consolation Prizes will warm your soul." --Martha Hall Kelly, author of Lilac Girls
Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, [2017]
Edition: Large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780525501237
Branch Call Number: FIC Ford
Characteristics: 463 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
large print.

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DorisWaggoner
Oct 19, 2017

Most of the main characters are well rounded and interesting. The beginning is touching, as famine and poverty in China's Pearl River Delta lead Yung's mother to sell him to a "man who is not your uncle," who takes him illegally to America in 1902. He ends up in a string of orphanages in early Seattle, where, as the only Asian child, he is bullied and his brilliance isn't noticed. At the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909, Yung, now known as Ernest Young, 12, is raffled off, becoming a houseboy at Seattle's best brothel. There he falls in love with two girls a bit older than he, and finds friendship for the first time. This is the best part of the book. Interleaved with this is Seattle's 1962 World's Fair. Ernest has been living alone, his wife descending into dementia and living with one of their two daughters. The 1962 World's Fair begins to bring back some of her memories of their early days together. These sections of the book, and the ending, are too rushed, and a bit maudlin. A native Seattleite, I noticed a few errors, some of time--Ernest at 12 is said to be in middle school, which was still called junior high in 1962. Others are minor errors of fact that Ford, also a native Seattleite, shouldn't be making. Still, an enjoyable book if not quite up to ""Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet."

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