02 April 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel, Book Review

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is one of the titles I spotted in a magazine whose review just hooked me! I have a penchant for choosing books based on actual events, people or facts and I will admit I feel just the same when it comes to movies as well.

Jaimie Ford is a name I had never heard of prior to the article. Our obliging local library provided a copy of his book within a few days thus I was able to satisfy my curiosity. I started reading the first few chapters and decided not to look him up on the Net perhaps so as not to be influenced by his background should it be involved somehow.

As I read the very last line and closed the book, I felt a warm and peaceful feeling for Henry and Keiko's story. Intelligently written, this is a perfectly flowing book about a bitter sweet time for two young people living in a time of war often riddled with incomprehensible rules and cruel regulations.
It is also a story certain to be enjoyed by anyone willing to believe hardship can be followed by a rainbow if you look hard enough for it!
I will always remain a daydreamer...

This is a book about filial duties, honour and innocent love, enduring friendship, prejudice and courage. I am constantly amazed by the sheer tenacity humans displays in the face of adversity!

The story starts in 1986 in Seattle Washington when a Chinese American widower named Henry Lee sees a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, originally the gateway to Nipponmachi. Boarded up for decades, the hotel is purchased and soon to be reopened. Its basement reveals a cache of belongings of Japanese American families, those often forgotten who were rounded up and sent to interment camps at the onset of WWII.
As Henry looks on, a small parasol is being opened and a world of sweet and bitter memories rushes back, taking him and readers to wartime Seattle and the story of two young people who find love despite their prejudiced surroundings.

I appreciated the description of a beautiful city and its International district, my imagination trying to see it as Henri and his friend Keiko would have experienced it. I particularly like Jaimie Ford's honest and clear views of the feelings of all parties involved.
This is a story you will immerse yourself into and walk with Henry along 40 years of longing.
The most welcomed aspect of Jaimie Ford's book is that you should not give up dreaming and with faithful friends and family at your side, life can be a wonderful journey!

Reading the acknowledgements I finally discovered some of the author's background, along with the thoughts of a caring family man whom we hope will continue to suprise us!

Thank you Jaimie Ford for introducing us to the world of Henry and Keiko, Sheldon and Mrs. Beatty, the Okabes, the Lees and innocent love in a time of war!

I give it 5 stars!

Please note as always, this review reflects only my opinion and I was not asked to review this book by any publisher.

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