The Paragon Hotel: Book summary and reviews of The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye

The Paragon Hotel

by Lyndsay Faye

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye X
The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2019
    432 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

The new and exciting historical thriller by Lyndsay Faye, which follows Alice "Nobody" from Prohibition-era Harlem to Portland's the Paragon Hotel.

The year is 1921, and "Nobody" Alice James is on a cross-country train, carrying a bullet wound and fleeing for her life following an illicit drug and liquor deal gone horribly wrong. Desperate to get as far away as possible from New York City and those who want her dead, she has her sights set on Oregon: a distant frontier that seems the end of the line.

She befriends Max, a black Pullman porter who reminds her achingly of Harlem, who leads Alice to the Paragon Hotel upon arrival in Portland. Her unlikely sanctuary turns out to be the only all-black hotel in the city, and its lodgers seem unduly terrified of a white woman on the premises. But as she meets the churlish Dr. Pendleton, the stately Mavereen, and the unforgettable club chanteuse Blossom Fontaine, she begins to understand the reason for their dread. The Ku Klux Klan has arrived in Portland in fearful numbers - burning crosses, inciting violence, electing officials, and brutalizing blacks. And only Alice, along with her new "family" of Paragon residents, are willing to search for a missing mulatto child who has mysteriously vanished into the Oregon woods.

Why was "Nobody" Alice James forced to escape Harlem? Why do the Paragon's denizens live in fear - and what other sins are they hiding? Where did the orphaned child who went missing from the hotel, Davy Lee, come from in the first place? And, perhaps most important, why does Blossom Fontaine seem to be at the very center of this tangled web?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Faye once again vividly illuminates history with her fiction. ... remarkably fluid fiction, framed as a love letter and based in fact." - Booklist

"Starred Review. A riveting multilevel thriller of race, sex, and mob violence that throbs with menace as it hums with wit." - Kirkus

"What starts as a bit of a Prohibition-era crime romp becomes increasingly relevant as issues of mental illness, race, and gender identity take on greater significance. In addition to illuminating Portland’s unsavory history of racism, Faye’s novel vividly illustrates how high the stakes could - and can still - be for those claiming and defending their own identities." - Publishers Weekly

"From the opening scene, this novel had me in its grip. Faye delivers a riveting story filled with unforgettable characters and stunning prose, while never flinching from the painful truths surrounding America's legacy of racial injustice. A remarkable, significant novel." - Fiona Davis, bestselling author of The Masterpiece

"Full of wry wit, dark humor and magnificent period details, The Paragon Hotel is a wickedly poetic tour de force." - Laura Lane McNeal, national bestselling author of Dollbaby

"Lyndsay Faye drops us right in the middle of the tumult of the Prohibition Era, bringing to life one of the darker times in our nation's history with wit and heart." - Lauren Willig, New York Times-bestselling author of The English Wife

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Author Information

Lyndsay Faye Author Biography

Photo: Gabriel Lehner

Lyndsay Faye is the author of the critically acclaimed Dust and Shadow, and is featured in Best American Mystery Stories 2010. Faye has been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Dilys Winn Award, and is honored to have been selected by the American Library Association's RUSA Reader's List for Best Historical. She is an international bestseller. Her Timothy Wilde Trilogy has been translated into 14 languages.

Faye, a true New Yorker in the sense that she was born elsewhere, lives in Manhattan with her husband, Gabriel.

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