BookBrowse Reviews Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

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Love and Other Consolation Prizes

A Novel

by Jamie Ford

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford X
Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2017, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2018, 336 pages

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Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet returns with a Seattle-based epic inspired by a true story.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First Impressions, 21 of whom gave it four or five stars, resulting in an impressive overall rating of 4.7.

What it's about:
Jamie Ford's new novel, Love and Other Consolation Prizes, is a wonderful blend of historical fiction, coming of age and romance - with a smidgeon of mystery thrown in as well (Barbara Z). Based on real-life events, the plot centers on Ernest, the illegitimate son of a white missionary and a Chinese woman, as he tells his story to his adult daughter - a reporter who has uncovered that as a young boy her father was auctioned off at a raffle held at the 1909 World's Fair. Ernest's tale revolves around the madam who won him in the raffle and his life among the ladies of the night during a time when the women's suffrage movement was campaigning to shut down such houses of ill-repute (Arden A). The chapters alternate between the 1909 and 1962 World's Fairs, both of which were held in Seattle (Judi R). The author vividly describes the despair of a young orphan sold into slavery, the sights and sounds of the wondrous World's Fairs five decades apart, and the tender love that can exist between friends and family – as well as the fragile threads that connect them (Amy P).

The author's character development and writing is a highlight:
Ford provides deeply moving descriptions of each character, as well as their emotions and motives (Amy P). The cast of characters is actually very small, but we get to know them well (Sande O). I fell in love with the Young family and their search for true love both romantically and as part of a family (Lynn B). Love and Other Consolation Prizes is a well-written, moving book (Jean N). As always, Ford has crafted a heartfelt story (Carol S); this is a poignant and subtle novel (Deanna W).

Many also remark on how seamlessly the author incorporated the historical elements:
I really enjoyed the bits and pieces of historical events throughout the book; they grounded the story for me (Jean N). Ford takes stories he has read from old newspapers and documents and weaves a fantastically beautiful story with shreds of truth running throughout (Carm D). The book provides a colorful look at the "Old Seattle," and the two World's Fairs figure prominently throughout the novel (Susan R).

The book explores a great many themes:
The novel is a wonderful account of undying love and respect, heartbreak and unimaginable fear (Carm D). It deals with themes of family, prejudice, identity, and fitting in (Deanna W). Ford explores the racial and economic discrimination of the times as well (Lynne B). Additionally, it covers topics such as medical treatments, immigration and the Suffragette movement (Amy P).

A few feel it did not live up to the author's previous work:
The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was one of my favorite novels. Naturally I had high expectations for this novel. Unfortunately, Love and other Consolation Prizes did not move me in the same way (Vicki O). I hardly felt any connection. I couldn't feel empathy with some of the characters. I sometimes found myself very bored, skimming paragraphs, and would easily put the book down and not want to go back to it. I really craved more action (Lillian T). If I have a quibble with Ford it is with the pace of his narrative. A quickening might have enlivened several sections (Sande O).

Most, though, think Love and Other Consolation Prizes is sure to be a hit:
Jamie Ford has written another winner. I was a fan after Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and he does not disappoint with his latest (Roe P). There is nothing I didn't like about this book: the setting, the eras, the depth of the descriptions of both the times and the characters, the entertaining story, the history lesson... all meshed together to make an excellent read. I wish it had lasted another 100 pages (Arden A). This is a story not to be missed! (Lynne B). I found this engrossing book difficult to put down (Amber B). Readers are certainly going to be happy that Jamie Ford has given us another beautifully written novel (Judi R).

Recommended for a wide audience:
Everyone should do themselves a favor and read this book; it's also a great choice for book club discussions (Carm D). It will be a title that I will keep on my list to highly recommend to friends and family (Jean N). The book is appropriate for younger and older readers (Sande O). Historical fiction lovers will enjoy this novel (Shawna L).

This review was originally published in October 2017, and has been updated for the June 2018 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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