As I’ve said before, I have a soft spot for historical fiction – especially history that has happened in the past hundred years or so. It’s still new – it hasn’t been picked apart by history books, told over and over to school children, or eulogized in movies. There’s still an air of mystery, still time to stake your claim in the land of fiction and inform people about an event they may not know of.
Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, has successfully done so. He has created a magical, heart-wrenching story full of skilled storytelling and smart writing, set during the little-known time of 1940′s Seattle.
The POV switches throughout the book from young Henry Lee to old Henry Lee. Young Henry Lee is a young Chinese American boy who falls in love with a Japanese American girl during Seattle’s Japanese round-up, World War II. Old Henry Lee still lives in Seattle, still walks by the same neighborhood in which he grew up, still looks back on what might have been. A little older, a little wiser, more realistic, but still the same dreamy Henry Lee.
At times humorous, at times despairing, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a well constructed story that you won’t want to put down. Each character is masterfully developed, with personalities and quirks all their own. In all, a very realistic piece of fiction. Not to mention the title – I would have personally bought the book just for that.
Pick up this book, reader. Historical fiction with a twist – you won’t be disappointed.