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love and other consulation prizes by jamie ford

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A powerful novel about an orphan boy who is raffled off at Seattle’s 1909 World Fair, and the friends who teach him what it really means to have a family, from the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Inspired by a true story, this is the unforgettable story of a young boy named Ernest, set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair called the Alaska Yukon Pacific E A powerful novel about an orphan boy who is raffled off at Seattle’s 1909 World Fair, and the friends who teach him what it really means to have a family, from the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Inspired by a true story, this is the unforgettable story of a young boy named Ernest, set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair called the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. It is a time when the magical wonders of technology on display at the expo future seems limitless. But for Ernest, a half-Chinese orphan who found his way to America through a last desperate act of his beloved mother, every door is closed. A charity student at a boarding school, he has never really had a place to call home. Then one day, his wealthy sponsor announces that if a home is what he wants, then that is what he will have: Ernest will be offered as a prize in the daily raffle at the fair, advertised as “Healthy boy to a good home for the winning ticket holder.” The woman who “wins” him is the madam of a notorious brothel who was famous for educating her girls. He becomes a houseboy in her brothel and is befriended by the daughter of the madam, as well as a Japanese girl who works in the kitchen. The friendship and love between these three form the first real family Ernest has ever known.


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A powerful novel about an orphan boy who is raffled off at Seattle’s 1909 World Fair, and the friends who teach him what it really means to have a family, from the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Inspired by a true story, this is the unforgettable story of a young boy named Ernest, set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair called the Alaska Yukon Pacific E A powerful novel about an orphan boy who is raffled off at Seattle’s 1909 World Fair, and the friends who teach him what it really means to have a family, from the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Inspired by a true story, this is the unforgettable story of a young boy named Ernest, set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair called the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. It is a time when the magical wonders of technology on display at the expo future seems limitless. But for Ernest, a half-Chinese orphan who found his way to America through a last desperate act of his beloved mother, every door is closed. A charity student at a boarding school, he has never really had a place to call home. Then one day, his wealthy sponsor announces that if a home is what he wants, then that is what he will have: Ernest will be offered as a prize in the daily raffle at the fair, advertised as “Healthy boy to a good home for the winning ticket holder.” The woman who “wins” him is the madam of a notorious brothel who was famous for educating her girls. He becomes a houseboy in her brothel and is befriended by the daughter of the madam, as well as a Japanese girl who works in the kitchen. The friendship and love between these three form the first real family Ernest has ever known.

30 review for love and other consulation prizes by jamie ford

  1. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    On one level, Jamie Ford's novels can be characterized as sweet, sad, tender love stories, where the main character is Chinese or half Chinese . If you've read anything at all about Ford, you know that his grandfather was Chinese. I love that he honors his heritage with his stories. But his stories are more than sweet love stories and tributes to his background; they are stories of substance. They reflect the history and society of the times of which he writes. Prejudice, the importance of ident On one level, Jamie Ford's novels can be characterized as sweet, sad, tender love stories, where the main character is Chinese or half Chinese . If you've read anything at all about Ford, you know that his grandfather was Chinese. I love that he honors his heritage with his stories. But his stories are more than sweet love stories and tributes to his background; they are stories of substance. They reflect the history and society of the times of which he writes. Prejudice, the importance of identity, fitting in, what family means, no matter how unconventional it may be at times. I wanted to read his latest book because I was so taken with his storytelling in his first two novels. I also remember reading or hearing an interview with Ford who talked about the seed for this story - the image of an orphan up for raffle at the 1909 world's fair in Seattle , the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition . If you check it out, you'll find that an infant named Ernest was indeed on raffle and Ford has imagined what the life of this child would be like after he, the prize is redeemed. Ernest in the novel is not an infant, but a young boy. The novel begins in 1962 as Ernest is dealing with his wife's memory loss. The story moves seamlessly back and forth from the present to his past telling the story of how he and Gracie met. Ford has a way of taking you directly to where his characters are both in the time and place as well as easily connecting the reader with where there are emotionally. I felt as if I stepped inside the bowels of that ship with Yung in 1902 before he became Ernest, tasted the candy apple at the fair, and walked with him inside the parlor of The Temderloin brothel, feeling his grief as his mother gives him away not out of selfishness but out of love, and understanding his dilemma over the two girls he loves. After arriving in the US , Ernest goes from being an orphan, sponsored in a private school to a house boy at a brothel, taken in by the Madame who won him in the raffle. You might not think a brothel is the best place for a young boy to be raised in, but for Ernest it's the best thing that could have happened to him after his harrowing young life when he was Yung and starving in China, before he became Ernest. It's here that he gets the safety and comfort that he hadn't known and here where he meets people who will change your definition of family and where his life changes . A benevolent Madam, the "Gibson Girls" of the house , a scullery maid who was the Japanese girl that Ernest met on the ship , Maisie , the secret daughter of Madame Flora and a cast of likable characters are part of Ernest's early story. Definitely recommended for fans of Jamie Ford's previous novels and to anyone who wants a glimpse of past times depicted by some wonderful characters I came to care about. I received an advanced copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine through NetGalley.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    "'My theory,' Maisie said, 'is that the best, worst, happiest, saddest, scariest, and most memorable moments are all connected. Those are the important times, good and bad. The rest is just filler.'" For Ernest Young, born Yung Kun-ai in China just before the start of the 20th century, some of the worst and saddest moments in his life came at a very young age. At five years old, the illegitimate son of a white missionary and a Chinese woman, he and his mother know abject poverty, which causes his "'My theory,' Maisie said, 'is that the best, worst, happiest, saddest, scariest, and most memorable moments are all connected. Those are the important times, good and bad. The rest is just filler.'" For Ernest Young, born Yung Kun-ai in China just before the start of the 20th century, some of the worst and saddest moments in his life came at a very young age. At five years old, the illegitimate son of a white missionary and a Chinese woman, he and his mother know abject poverty, which causes his mother to make two heartbreaking decisions, one of which is sending him away to America, ostensibly so he can find a better life. While he is lucky to survive the overseas journey, his life when he arrives in America isn't much better, as he is bounced from place to place, with no true companionship and no one to give him affection, and he is ridiculed by his appearance because of his mixed cultural background. At 12 years old, Ernest Young (as he is now called) is a charity student at a boarding school in Seattle, treated with general disregard by a wealthy patron who pays for his education. He longs for more opportunities, to get more out of life. His patron brings him to the 1909 World's Fair, and tells him the next step in his life: he will be the prize in a raffle at the fair, and the winner will take him "to a good home." To the surprise of everyone, including Ernest's moral-crusading patron, the winner of the raffle is Madam Flora, the savvy, flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel. Madam Flora is known for making sure her "girls" are not only beautiful but well-educated and sophisticated; she calls them her "Gibson girls." Flora has had her heart set on a houseboy, and she knows Ernest will fit the bill. Ernest becomes friends with Fahn, an outspoken housemaid with whom he has a previous connection, and Maisie, Flora's headstrong daughter, and little by little, finds himself smitten with both young women. As strange as it may seem given the setting, for the first time, Ernest feels at home, feels part of a family. But when Madam Flora's job-related illness becomes too much to bear, it threatens to ruin the lives of all who live in the brothel, and sets Ernest, Fahn, and Maisie on different courses which might separate them. Fifty years later, as the World's Fair returns to Seattle, Ernest is caught up in the memories of his childhood when his daughter hears the story of him being offered as a raffle prize. For Ernest, these memories are bittersweet, particularly as he tries to help his ailing wife deal with her own memories, and ensure his children are protected from the ultimate truths of their parents' lives. It's funny, but when I'm trying to think of an author to read, I always forget Jamie Ford, yet every time I read one of his books, like the exceptional Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet , I wonder why he slips my mind. Perhaps it's because his writing seems so effortless, and he so easily is able to pull me into his stories and fascinate me with his characters. While I wasn't as emotionally wrecked by Love and Other Consolation Prizes , I still enjoyed it a great deal. Even though you as a reader know more about the plot than the characters do, there were still a few surprises Ford threw in. I did wish the plot was a little more linear, because I found the shift between past and present a little jarring occasionally, and I felt things moved at a slower pace than I would have liked. But these characters and their story is a beautiful, heartfelt one (made all the more emotional when you learn it is based on a true story), and there are some emotional moments worth savoring. This is a book about overcoming struggles, the difficulties in following your heart, and what it feels like to finally belong somewhere, with people you care about who care about you, after never believing that could be true. If you enjoy historical fiction that doesn't feel historical, or you just like well-written stories, pick up Love and Other Consolation Prizes . It's a story you'll keep thinking about. See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    4.5 Stars! Another engrossing and heartfelt story by Jamie Ford!It's 1902 China when we first meet Yung Kun-ai aka Ernest Young who at age five has just witnessed an (OMG!) horrific act by his starving, destitute mother before leaving him with her only possession....a metal hairpin....to meet up with a stranger and be shipped off to America.Aboard ship in the cargo hold, we learn the caring ways of young Ernest, witness his soft-hearted soul and see his smart-as-a-whip brain in action as it save 4.5 Stars! Another engrossing and heartfelt story by Jamie Ford!It's 1902 China when we first meet Yung Kun-ai aka Ernest Young who at age five has just witnessed an (OMG!) horrific act by his starving, destitute mother before leaving him with her only possession....a metal hairpin....to meet up with a stranger and be shipped off to America.Aboard ship in the cargo hold, we learn the caring ways of young Ernest, witness his soft-hearted soul and see his smart-as-a-whip brain in action as it saves his life and gives him a name at Dead Man's Bay....and that's just the beginning of his tumultuous life....before his lonely life in boarding school....before his shocking surprise of being raffled off at the 1909 Seattle World's Fair....and before meeting his unusual new family.As LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES shifts storylines between a young Ernest in the early 1900's and a grown Ernest in the 1960's, we get to meet all the very special....and colorful.... people in his life who make this novel so memorable.Inspired by true events, Jamie Ford once again brings to life the struggles of Chinese-American immigrants in a new world, and gives the reader a chance to experience an atmospheric world's fair of the past.Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for the ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    The year is 1909, Seattle's World Fair, and a young boy, Ernest is being auctioned off to the winning ticket holder. Used to adversity, since being given away by his mother, sent on a ship where he almost dies. Then under the patronage of the wealthy Mrs. Irvin, sent to a boarding school, where he was the but of jokes, and an outcast. Now he finds himself won by Madame Flora and taken to live in the notorious, vice ridden, Tenderloin District. Love can be found in many unusual places, in many dif The year is 1909, Seattle's World Fair, and a young boy, Ernest is being auctioned off to the winning ticket holder. Used to adversity, since being given away by his mother, sent on a ship where he almost dies. Then under the patronage of the wealthy Mrs. Irvin, sent to a boarding school, where he was the but of jokes, and an outcast. Now he finds himself won by Madame Flora and taken to live in the notorious, vice ridden, Tenderloin District. Love can be found in many unusual places, in many different ways. This story is narrated by Ernest, now an elderly man, whose wife Gracie is suffering severe mental lapses. It is through him we enter the hidden world of a high class bordello, and it is where Ernest will meet the to young girls who will have a huge impact on his life. For the longest time we don't know the identity of his Gracie, which if either of the young girls would become his wife. I love how this author puts his stories together, mixing historical happenings with some great characters, and yes even a love story, though far from a typical one. He shows us the good and bad, the ugly and beautiful in human nature. Treats his characters, regardless of their stature in life, with the utmost tenderness. His stories are heartfelt, wonderful, and yes, a little sentimental, but he shows us that as long as there is hope, true feelings can prevail. I adored the end of this book, that in a way comes full circle. ARC from Edelweiss.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dorie

    *Now Available in Paperback* Great book club choice! I just had to read this as soon as I was approved for the ARC. I read “Songs of Willow Frost” and “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” and really enjoyed both of them, I was hoping this book was another winner. It is!! One of the first really good historical fiction reads of 2017, the characters that Mr. Ford creates are so well developed, they are unique and yet relatable and believable. The novel is written between dual timelines. The fi *Now Available in Paperback* Great book club choice! I just had to read this as soon as I was approved for the ARC. I read “Songs of Willow Frost” and “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” and really enjoyed both of them, I was hoping this book was another winner. It is!! One of the first really good historical fiction reads of 2017, the characters that Mr. Ford creates are so well developed, they are unique and yet relatable and believable. The novel is written between dual timelines. The first introduction into the book starts with Ernest’s life in China and how his mother sold him because she couldn’t take care of him. He is boarded on a large ship destined for Seattle with many other boys and girls. Many of them ended up as servants or other unpaid help. The time is 1909 and Ernest ends up being raffled off at the Seattle World’s Fair, hard to believe but the author states this is true. The winning ticket holder is a Madame from the most well known house of ill repute and Ernest is treated very well. He gets to know the downstairs women, those that do the cleaning, cooking, etc. as well as the upstairs girls, those who are selling their sexual favors. He is very young and is very much influenced by this early life. Without giving away the plot I’ll just say that you should pay close attention to all of the characters because they may appear much later in the book. The other viewpoint is once again in Seattle during the 1962 World’s Fair. Ernest is with “Gracie” and they have two daughters. Lately Gracie has been forgetful and somewhat remorseful and suffering bouts of melancholy. Ernest and the girls are trying to find out what they can do to help her through this. Again there is a lot going on here, one of their daughters is writing an article for a paper comparing the two World Fairs and she knows her parents met around that time. What she discovers as she researches and talks with her father is a revelation that neither of the girls saw coming. The story unfolds at a steady pace and I enjoyed all of the details that were included about the World’s Fair which at that time was actually called “The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909”. There was so much new at the fair, incubators for premature babies, wireless phones and electricity used for so many new devices and an entire village with people from the Philippines. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well written historical fiction with some wonderful romance woven into it. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This was a beautiful heartfelt novel based on the true story of a 12 year old boy who was raffled off as the prize at the 1909 Seattle World's Fair. This story starts with the boys beginning, in China, his journey and arrival to America, and his growing up in a brothel where he fell in love with two different young girls. The story takes us back and forth from 1909 to the early 1960's, from him as that young boy to a older man with adult children and how his love for these two young girls from t This was a beautiful heartfelt novel based on the true story of a 12 year old boy who was raffled off as the prize at the 1909 Seattle World's Fair. This story starts with the boys beginning, in China, his journey and arrival to America, and his growing up in a brothel where he fell in love with two different young girls. The story takes us back and forth from 1909 to the early 1960's, from him as that young boy to a older man with adult children and how his love for these two young girls from the brothel had shaped his life. Beautiful ending to this story!! Thank you to NetGalley and Ballentine Books/Random House for the advanced copy!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !! In 1909, Seattle was the time and place for the Alaskan-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. It brought more welcomed exposure of the area, a relatively unpopulated area still, following the 1905 Alaskan gold rush, and the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland. For Seattle, 1909 was a chance to have the attention of the world on their city. “Love and Other Consolation Prizes was inspired by the true story of an infant boy who was raffled off at the 1909 Seattle World’s Fair, as !! NOW AVAILABLE !! In 1909, Seattle was the time and place for the Alaskan-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. It brought more welcomed exposure of the area, a relatively unpopulated area still, following the 1905 Alaskan gold rush, and the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland. For Seattle, 1909 was a chance to have the attention of the world on their city. “Love and Other Consolation Prizes was inspired by the true story of an infant boy who was raffled off at the 1909 Seattle World’s Fair, as a prize, by the “Washington Children’s Home Society.” Surrounded by miracles of modern science such as a wireless telephone; a machine for butchering salmon; incubators holding premature babies – a human child, Ernest, was auctioned off. In Jamie Ford’s story, the boy that is raffled off is a half-Chinese, half-American twelve year-old boy, Ernest is the name given to him on his arrival, but in China he was Yung Kun-ai. He’s been living at the Home for a while, a charity student, and believes that this chance to attend the World’s Fair is a dream come true, until he realizes that he is the child to be given to the one with the winning raffle ticket. Before he has a chance to process this betrayal, he is working at a brothel, one with a madam who believes in educating her girls. He is to be their houseboy. Maisie, the daughter of Madam Flora, befriends him, as does Fahn, a scullery maid. Both vie for his affection, but his heart belongs to both – he can’t choose, will not choose. Or, as someone in my family used to say, he “willn’t” choose. In 1962 Seattle, Ernest’s daughter is trying to capture the eye of her editor with a story about the opening of Seattle’s new World’s Fair, merging the “then” of the 1909 expo and some of the life experiences of those who attended the opening of the expo, against the opening of the new fair. Knowing her father had been there, the questions begin. Judgements, innocence, devotion, love, losing those we love, as well as the loss of memories are at the heart of this novel. I loved the historic details, from the seedy tenderloin district to the hallowed halls of the Library; this was a world I disappeared into, even if it wasn’t all glitter and glam. I loved these characters, from the uppity judgemental Mothers of Virtue to the sassy Fahn, these characters felt so real, it was easy to get swept away into this story, to care about these people, and to read their stories about the cost of real love, and the cost of love bought and sold on the streets. Those roads not taken, not chosen. One small moment in time that completely change the trajectory of one small life, but what a life! Pub Date: 12 Sep 2017 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Ballantine Books / Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine

  8. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    I really enjoyed this book that was inspired by a true story involving an orphaned half-Chinese boy. I've always been drawn to stories involving orphans and their unique perspectives on life. One of the settings is the World's Fair in Seattle and I can't resist anything involving ferris wheels and space needles! Ernest Young clings to his mother's hairpin, the only remnant he has to remind him of his mother who has given him away. He endures a horrific boat ride to America where he finds himself I really enjoyed this book that was inspired by a true story involving an orphaned half-Chinese boy. I've always been drawn to stories involving orphans and their unique perspectives on life. One of the settings is the World's Fair in Seattle and I can't resist anything involving ferris wheels and space needles! Ernest Young clings to his mother's hairpin, the only remnant he has to remind him of his mother who has given him away. He endures a horrific boat ride to America where he finds himself bounced from the poor house to a boarding school and eventually "the prize" in a raffle at the World's Fair. It sounds so sad and it is, but Ernest is someone who makes lemonade out of lemons (and he has plenty of lemons). He only twelve years old, when he realizes that once again his life is in jeopardy as the winning raffle ticket number is called out at the fair. He had lost hope in being adopted long ago and felt he wasn't Chinese or White enough to be wanted by either group. He is told "the raffle winner is taking you home with them." This is a wonderful story involving loss, morality, self-identity and survival. The dual story line follows Ernest from a young boy to an older adult. Thank you to the author and Ballantine books for providing my arc.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    4.5 stars Inspired by a true story, Jamie Ford has written a wonderfully moving historical novel about a boy who is auctioned off during Seattle's 1909 World Fair. Ernest was born in China to a Chinese Mother and Western Missionary Father. His Mother, unable to care for him, sells him to a man who places him on a ship with other sold or unwanted children. Eventually he reaches American and is extremely lucky to be alive - not all children survived the trip. Through a course of events, Ernest is e 4.5 stars Inspired by a true story, Jamie Ford has written a wonderfully moving historical novel about a boy who is auctioned off during Seattle's 1909 World Fair. Ernest was born in China to a Chinese Mother and Western Missionary Father. His Mother, unable to care for him, sells him to a man who places him on a ship with other sold or unwanted children. Eventually he reaches American and is extremely lucky to be alive - not all children survived the trip. Through a course of events, Ernest is enrolled at a charity school and is very excited at the opportunity to attend the World Fair where he will get to see and experience many new and exciting things. Imagine his surprise when he learns that he is to be auctioned off as the main prize. The winning ticket goes to a madam of a high class brothel. He is to be the house boy at the brothel- running errands and basically doing any chores that are needed. In the brothel, he eventually makes friend's with the Madam's daughter Masie and is re-connected with Fahn - a Japanese girl he met on the boat to America. Life in the brothel is not bad for Ernest; in face he is treated quite well. Ernest gets a sense of family for the first time in his life. He is eating real meals, has a purpose and has made friends. This book goes back in forth in time. We see Ernest as a young boy but we also see Ernest 50 years later as an older man with grown daughters and a wife who needs special care. Ernest is content with his life until one day, his daughter who is an investigative reporter begins asking him questions about a boy who was auctioned off at the World Fair so long ago. That her Mother, who is not always coherent, told her about the boy. Ernest's daughter puts two and two together and asks Ernest if he is the boy in question. Ernest then looks back on his life and realizes that he can't keep the family's secrets a secret any longer. But his secrets are not his own. There are also things about his wife that their daughters do not know about. Jamie Ford has written a beautiful historical novel touching on so many subjects: poverty, first love, human trafficking, prostitution, culture, belonging, family, family secrets, loyalty and devotion. I could gush for a long time about this book. Jamie Ford has painted a very vivid (and sometimes heartbreaking) picture of one boy's/man's life. This book oozes with history and atmosphere. There are certain things a reader can depend upon, one of them is that Jamie Ford will write books that cause one to think, feel, and learn. He has a gift for writing characters that readers care about. He transports us to another time and other cultures. Not only does he dazzles us with his writing skills, he educates us on culture and history. Ernest goes on a journey in this book and I felt like I went on that journey with him. I highly recommend this book! I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. See More of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com

  10. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This is another well done historical fiction by Jamie Ford. In 1962, the World's Fair is in Seattle. Earnest, in his mid 60s, is looking back on his life. His wife is suffering from a rare form of dementia. Like Ford’s other books, this one focuses on Americans of Chinese descent and employs a back and forth narrative between two different times. Ford draws you into his story immediately. It's always a bit of a shock what was considered acceptable in the old days. Raffling off a child at the 190 This is another well done historical fiction by Jamie Ford. In 1962, the World's Fair is in Seattle. Earnest, in his mid 60s, is looking back on his life. His wife is suffering from a rare form of dementia. Like Ford’s other books, this one focuses on Americans of Chinese descent and employs a back and forth narrative between two different times. Ford draws you into his story immediately. It's always a bit of a shock what was considered acceptable in the old days. Raffling off a child at the 1909 World’s Fair with the President pulling the winning ticket? No problem. And in case you doubt it could really happen, this episode is based on a true story. Ford definitely has a gift. He manages to combine a winning story with amazing characters. This story describes how a family can be formed anywhere and love does triumph. Ford describes how limited the choices are for those in the Tenderloin and how necessity makes it easy to trump virtue. As Earnest says “he was caught up in the blatant, unrepentant honesty of the Tenderloin- as naked and bare as the girls upstairs”. Ford tugs at your heartstrings. Earnest is determined to keep his wife’s background hidden, even from their prying reporter daughter. This, despite the fact his wife barely knows who he is most days. It's been awhile since I've seen the movie, but a large part of the book put me in mind of Pretty Baby. And I could see this book being turned into a movie as well. My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Leaving your mother at age five, going with a stranger, and living in the bowels of a boat to America was not something anyone would wish for a child but what was done back in 1909. Yung had to leave his mother because they both were starving, and her hope was for a better life for her son. When Yung got to America, his name was changed to Ernest, and he spent his first few years at a school where he was always the underling even though a rich woman, Mrs. Irvine, was paying for his room and board. Leaving your mother at age five, going with a stranger, and living in the bowels of a boat to America was not something anyone would wish for a child but what was done back in 1909. Yung had to leave his mother because they both were starving, and her hope was for a better life for her son. When Yung got to America, his name was changed to Ernest, and he spent his first few years at a school where he was always the underling even though a rich woman, Mrs. Irvine, was paying for his room and board. One day Mrs. Irvine told Ernest she was taking him to the World's Fair. She didn't take him to enjoy it, but to be auctioned off in a raffle as a strong, healthy boy. Ernest ended up being won by the owner of a brothel as a houseboy, and the place he met his wife. Now his childhood and his life before children and marriage were coming to light. His daughter is a reporter and is investigating the World's Fair and stories she heard about those who attended. She knew her father had been there and wants to know everything. Ernest didn't want to tell his daughter his story because then she would find out about her mother's life at that time. It was a life that wasn't anything to be proud of. Gracie was now suffering from dementia, and Ernest was hoping she wouldn't accidentally remember the life she led when she was young and tell her daughter. We follow Ernest from his childhood to present day and learn what life was like for him in both times. We get a well-researched glimpse into everyday living during the early 1900’s as well as the life in a brothel. LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES is another marvelous, stunning, beautifully told story by Jamie Ford with characters that will steal your heart. Mr. Ford knows how to tell a story and keep your interest with his meticulous historical research, his history lesson, and his superb writing style. I thoroughly enjoyed this book - I hope you are able to also read it. 5/5 This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and Net Galley in return for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    4.5 stars Inspired by a true story, Jamie Ford has written a wonderfully moving historical novel about a boy who is auctioned off during Seattle's 1909 World Fair. Ernest was born in China to a Chinese Mother and Western Missionary Father. His Mother, unable to care for him, sells him to a man who places him on a ship with other sold or unwanted children. Eventually he reaches American and is extremely lucky to be alive - not all children survived the trip. Through a course of events, Ernest is e 4.5 stars Inspired by a true story, Jamie Ford has written a wonderfully moving historical novel about a boy who is auctioned off during Seattle's 1909 World Fair. Ernest was born in China to a Chinese Mother and Western Missionary Father. His Mother, unable to care for him, sells him to a man who places him on a ship with other sold or unwanted children. Eventually he reaches American and is extremely lucky to be alive - not all children survived the trip. Through a course of events, Ernest is enrolled at a charity school and is very excited at the opportunity to attend the World Fair where he will get to see and experience many new and exciting things. Imagine his surprise when he learns that he is to be auctioned off as the main prize. The winning ticket goes to a madam of a high class brothel. He is to be the house boy at the brothel- running errands and basically doing any chores that are needed. In the brothel, he eventually makes friend's with the Madam's daughter Masie and is re-connected with Fahn - a Japanese girl he met on the boat to America. Life in the brothel is not bad for Ernest; in face he is treated quite well. Ernest gets a sense of family for the first time in his life. He is eating real meals, has a purpose and has made friends. This book goes back in forth in time. We see Ernest as a young boy but we also see Ernest 50 years later as an older man with grown daughters and a wife who needs special care. Ernest is content with his life until one day, his daughter who is an investigative reporter begins asking him questions about a boy who was auctioned off at the World Fair so long ago. That her Mother, who is not always coherent, told her about the boy. Ernest's daughter puts two and two together and asks Ernest if he is the boy in question. Ernest then looks back on his life and realizes that he can't keep the family's secrets a secret any longer. But his secrets are not his own. There are also things about his wife that their daughters do not know about. Jamie Ford has written a beautiful historical novel touching on so many subjects: poverty, first love, human trafficking, prostitution, culture, belonging, family, family secrets, loyalty and devotion. I could gush for a long time about this book. Jamie Ford has painted a very vivid (and sometimes heartbreaking) picture of one boy's/man's life. This book oozes with history and atmosphere. There are certain things a reader can depend upon, one of them is that Jamie Ford will write books that cause one to think, feel, and learn. He has a gift for writing characters that readers care about. He transports us to another time and other cultures. Not only does he dazzles us with his writing skills, he educates us on culture and history. Ernest goes on a journey in this book and I felt like I went on that journey with him. I highly recommend this book! I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. See More of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This is my favorite of Fords novels to date! I adore stories that allow elderly characters to revisit their pasts. So many amazing events happen during lifetimes that we take it for granted to ask our elders about them. I feel confident that this novel will be a huge success. 5 stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I received this ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. Set in the early 1900's, 12 yr old Ernest is raffled off at the fair and won by a madam. We follow him as he grows up in the infamous madam's house. He is befriended by the daughter of the madam and a Japanese kitchen servant. Their friendship is the first love that Ernest has ever known. I loved the way Ford weaves fact with fiction. I would definitely recommend this book. Must Read. 4☆ ETA: 2nd read was as good as the 1st!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    When I finished reading Jamie Ford’s newest novel Love and Other Consolation Prizes, the first words that came into my mind were “heartbreaking” and “heartwarming.” I felt both emotions strongly throughout the time I was immersed in the story of Ernest Young, an elderly man in his 60s when the story begins in 1962, and his beloved wife Gracie, who is suffering from memory loss and barely remembers who her husband is. As Ernest stands outside the gates of Seattle’s newest world’s fair, the Centur When I finished reading Jamie Ford’s newest novel Love and Other Consolation Prizes, the first words that came into my mind were “heartbreaking” and “heartwarming.” I felt both emotions strongly throughout the time I was immersed in the story of Ernest Young, an elderly man in his 60s when the story begins in 1962, and his beloved wife Gracie, who is suffering from memory loss and barely remembers who her husband is. As Ernest stands outside the gates of Seattle’s newest world’s fair, the Century 21 Expo, his memories flow back to the city’s very first world’s fair, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYP), back in 1909 – a day that changed his life forever. That was the day that, at 12 years old, he was “auctioned off” at the fair, given away as the grand prize in a raffle, technically for the second time. Prior to that, at 5 years old, when he was still a little boy named Yung Kun-ai living in poverty with his mother in China, he was sent away with an “uncle” who would supposedly take him to America so he could live a better life free from starvation. Little Yung does make it to America and eventually becomes a ward of the state of Washington, but not before suffering various hardships and discrimination due to his status as a ‘half-breed’ – the “bastard son of a white missionary and a Chinese girl, he was an outcast in both of their worlds.” Later, he is taken in by Madam Flora, the “winner” of the raffle at the 1909 world’s fair, who also happens to be the owner of a notorious brothel named the Tenderloin, located in the red-light district in the seediest part of town. Ernest becomes a houseboy helping out with various chores at the brothel and it is there that he meets Maisie, the secret daughter of Madam Flora, and Fahn, a young Japanese maid who works in the kitchen -- together with the other women who live and work at the Tenderloin, they become the first real “family” – albeit an unconventional one – that Ernest ever had. By now, I believe most already know that this story was inspired by a real event – the raffle that truly did take place in real-life, at the 1909 AYP World’s Fair where an infant boy, also named Ernest, was put up as the “grand prize”. That raffle did not result in a winner and it is not known what eventually happened to the infant boy, but with the seed of that event, Ford turns it into a story that imagines what might have happened to that boy, with the difference being that the Ernest in Ford’s story is a 12-year-old boy rather than an infant. Ford also incorporates some of his own heritage into his stories, as anyone who is familiar with Ford’s background will probably know that he is also of mixed-race, with a Chinese father and an “adopted” American last name (Ford) that came about when his 100% Chinese great-grandfather decided to adopt the name William Ford when he immigrated to America back in the late 1800s. I love the personal touch that Ford incorporates into his stories and the fact that he pays tribute to his heritage, all done in a way that is seamless yet meaningful. There was so much to love about this book, as it truly combined the best of everything I normally look for in historical fiction: a well-written, captivating story that pulled me in from the start; a good dose of historical content that was obviously thoroughly researched yet did not take away from the flow of the fictional part of the story; a non-typical love story that tugged at the heartstrings without diving into “overly saccharine” territory; endearing characters who, despite being deeply flawed, you can’t help but care about personally and eventually grow to love; wonderful writing that transported me to the time and place that the characters lived in and made the experience feel like a personal one. Ford is known for crafting tender, moving stories that incorporate aspects of hope and redemption and this was definitely the case here with Ernest’s story and the love he had for both Maisie and Fahn. The ending to their story moved me to tears yet it was not sad or depressing but rather a scene filled with hope that made me feel good inside – I love the way the story came full circle, bookended by the two world’s fairs that also played such important roles in Ernest’s story. I also liked the fact that this wasn’t a typical love story, but rather a story with substance that also dealt with important societal issues – questions of right and wrong, moral versus immoral and who has the right to judge. Also topics such as equality, social justice, class issues, women’s rights, slavery, etc. – all heavy subjects that were dealt with in a way that didn’t make light of their existence but at the same time did not weigh down the story with gloom or despair and also did not try to “preach” or attempt to provide any answers, instead letting the reader go with the story and see where it leads. This is my first time reading Jamie Ford and it certainly won’t be my last! While I wait patiently to get my hands on whatever Ford decides to write next, for sure I will be moving up the two previous novels he wrote (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Songs of Willow Frost) from my TBR so I can get to both of them before the end of the year. If you haven’t read Love and Other Consolation Prizes yet, all I can say is – READ IT! Wonderful book, highly recommended! Received advance reader’s copy from Ballantine Books via NetGalley.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bam

    What an unusual premise for a story: an orphan boy is raffled off as the prize in a lottery at a world's fair! Good grief! And believe it or not, that actually happened at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, WA in 1909. In real life, the child was a one-month-old baby boy named Ernest. The winning ticket was drawn but no one ever claimed the prize and it is not known what happened to the infant. Jamie Ford uses this amazing true occurrence as the idea for his new book. His protagonis What an unusual premise for a story: an orphan boy is raffled off as the prize in a lottery at a world's fair! Good grief! And believe it or not, that actually happened at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, WA in 1909. In real life, the child was a one-month-old baby boy named Ernest. The winning ticket was drawn but no one ever claimed the prize and it is not known what happened to the infant. Jamie Ford uses this amazing true occurrence as the idea for his new book. His protagonist is Yung Kun-ai, a 5-year-old boy, part Chinese boy/part Caucasian, who is given away by his starving mother to a man who promises to bring him to America in the hopes of finding a better life. He is just one of several abandoned or orphaned children aboard ship. After arriving at a holding center in Seattle, he is made a ward of the state and goes on to live in a series of boarding schools and reformatories. Now the boy is about to turn twelve and is known as Ernest Young. His sponsor, Mrs Ida Irvine, a wealthy do-gooder social reformer, is disappointed to learn that he wishes to leave his current school, the Holy Word Academy, and she is the one who comes up with the brilliant idea to make him the prize in a raffle at the upcoming world's fair, to aid a civic organization to which she belongs. And so the big day arrives and Ernest doesn't know what to expect. When the winning number is drawn, it seems at first that no one will claim their prize, but then a beautiful woman comes forward. She is the infamous Madame Florence who runs the Tenderloin, a high-end Seattle brothel, and she is pleased to meet her new houseboy. Mrs Irvine, of course, is appalled--the rules say that he is to go 'to a good home' after all--but Florence Nettleton wins the argument and takes her 'raffle prize' home with her. There Ernest will meet the two young girls who will be the loves of his life: Maisie and Fahn. But the story is bookended by another World's Fair in Seattle, The Century 21 Exposition that takes place in 1962. Ernest has made a life for himself with one of those two girls who stole his heart as a young boy and they have two grown daughters. But the woman he calls Gracie is now losing her memory, a consequence of the life they led as children in the Tenderloin. And now the past must be revealed to their daughters as Ernest tries to help Gracie remember their life together. Jamie Ford has such an engaging writing style! It's so delightful to return to Seattle to see it in another era and experience a little known lifestyle. If you've enjoyed Jamie Ford's other books, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one just as much. Many thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read an arc of this new book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    This is the love story you have been looking for. Sweet, simple and enduring, this is a tale of love in all of its forms as we follow one small boy on an amazing journey through life, from his innocent beginnings in China across an ocean in the belly of a ship to his new life in the United States, where he found love, friends and family that would endure throughout the decades of his life. Set in Seattle, and spanning over 60 years, history will come alive as Ernest and his quiet gift of love and This is the love story you have been looking for. Sweet, simple and enduring, this is a tale of love in all of its forms as we follow one small boy on an amazing journey through life, from his innocent beginnings in China across an ocean in the belly of a ship to his new life in the United States, where he found love, friends and family that would endure throughout the decades of his life. Set in Seattle, and spanning over 60 years, history will come alive as Ernest and his quiet gift of love and caring becomes the true measure of humanity at its finest, a rare and precious gift. LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES by Jamie Ford is a tale of life accepted and lived with inner peace, quiet deeds because they were right, not the current popular fad and of giving of oneself to the very fullest, reaping inner rewards and inner peace. Beautiful story-telling from the heart for everyone, because we are all human beings, and can all use an example of fine humanity. I received an ARC edition from Random House Group/Ballantine in exchange for my honest review. Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 12, 2017) Publication Date: September 12, 2017 Genre: Historical Fiction - Asian American Print Length: 321 pages Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    4.5 I really liked Ford’s previous novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet so when I saw he had a new novel, I was very excited to read it. Plus, with the Seattle setting I couldn’t go wrong. What I like about Ford’s writing is that historical details come to life. Ernest is sent to the United States from China for a better life. He is adopted to a well-off family, but he never really fits in. He attends the 1909 World’s Fair in Seattle. It seems impossible that a young boy could be raffle 4.5 I really liked Ford’s previous novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet so when I saw he had a new novel, I was very excited to read it. Plus, with the Seattle setting I couldn’t go wrong. What I like about Ford’s writing is that historical details come to life. Ernest is sent to the United States from China for a better life. He is adopted to a well-off family, but he never really fits in. He attends the 1909 World’s Fair in Seattle. It seems impossible that a young boy could be raffled off as a prize at a fair, but that’s what happened to Ernest. The winner of the raffle is the owner of a brothel that boasts of high class girls. She wants Ernest to be her house boy. Over time, he settles in his surroundings and has formed a new family at the brothel. The story is told from early 1900’s and 1962. It’s hard to say which I liked more, the young Ernest or the elder. The young because it’s a coming of age under dire circumstances and the elder because of his reflections on his youth, his daughters as they press him for details of his past, and the love he has for his wife who is suffering from dementia. There are many revelations throughout. The biggest theme I came away with, is what it means to be a family and its many forms. A vividly imagined tale based on a true event was a delight to read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dorie

    I just had to read this as soon as I was approved for the ARC. I read “Songs of Willow Frost” and “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” and really enjoyed both of them, I was hoping this book was another winner. It is!! One of the first really good historical fiction reads of 2017, the characters that Mr. Ford creates are so well developed, they are unique and yet relatable and believable. The novel is written between dual timelines. The first introduction into the book starts with Ernest’s l I just had to read this as soon as I was approved for the ARC. I read “Songs of Willow Frost” and “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” and really enjoyed both of them, I was hoping this book was another winner. It is!! One of the first really good historical fiction reads of 2017, the characters that Mr. Ford creates are so well developed, they are unique and yet relatable and believable. The novel is written between dual timelines. The first introduction into the book starts with Ernest’s life in China and how his mother sold him because she couldn’t take care of him. He is boarded on a large ship destined for Seattle with many other boys and girls. Many of them ended up as servants or other unpaid help. The time is 1909 and Ernest ends up being raffled off at the Seattle World’s Fair, hard to believe but the author states this is true. The winning ticket holder is a Madame from the most well known house of ill repute and Ernest is treated very well. He gets to know the downstairs women, those that do the cleaning, cooking, etc. as well as the upstairs girls, those who are selling their sexual favors. He is very young and is very much influenced by this early life. Without giving away the plot I’ll just say that you should pay close attention to all of the characters because they may appear much later in the book. The other viewpoint is once again in Seattle during the 1962 World’s Fair. Ernest is with “Gracie” and they have two daughters. Lately Gracie has been forgetful and somewhat remorseful and suffering bouts of melancholy. Ernest and the girls are trying to find out what they can do to help her through this. Again there is a lot going on here, one of their daughters is writing an article for a paper comparing the two World Fairs and she knows her parents met around that time. What she discovers as she researches and talks with her father is a revelation that neither of the girls saw coming. The story unfolds at a steady pace and I enjoyed all of the details that were included about the World’s Fair which at that time was actually called “The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909”. There was so much new at the fair, incubators for premature babies, wireless phones and electricity used for so many new devices and an entire village with people from the Philippines. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well written historical fiction with some wonderful romance woven into it. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss.

  20. 5 out of 5

    ☮Karen

    The story starts with Ernest Young as a small boy after his Chinese mother has sent him sailing for a better life in America, where he is auctioned off at the 1909 Seattle Exposition.* That piece of history, that such a thing really happened, is a troubling one to be sure and was one of the more interesting aspects. But this is one of those times when I felt that the concept of a story was lost in the execution of it. The pace was uneven, slow to start, better in the middle, and an ending that s The story starts with Ernest Young as a small boy after his Chinese mother has sent him sailing for a better life in America, where he is auctioned off at the 1909 Seattle Exposition.* That piece of history, that such a thing really happened, is a troubling one to be sure and was one of the more interesting aspects. But this is one of those times when I felt that the concept of a story was lost in the execution of it. The pace was uneven, slow to start, better in the middle, and an ending that seemed to drag out over several chapters. Ernest as a boy falls in love with two girls, and is as an adult recounting their adventures growing up in a brothel, while anticipating the 1962 Seattle World's Fair with his wife, Gracie. Early on we know that one of those young girls is Gracie, although that's not either of their names. So you keep reading to figure out this odd puzzle. I really had high hopes for this one. Ford's first book is one of my favorites, but the next and this one were lacking that certain something that puts you on edge and makes you excited to pick it back up again where you left off. Ernest was such a sweet character but I think he deserved a better story with more interesting players on his team. I saw many similarities with Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, but this one didn't match up. I still liked it and I do appreciate receiving an advanced copy from NetGalley and the publisher. *(I just had to go to Wikipedia to learn more about the auction, and maybe the finished book includes this in the author's note, I don't know: "A month-old orphaned boy named Ernest was raffled away as a prize. Although a winning ticket was drawn, nobody claimed the prize. The ultimate destiny of the child was still being investigated in 2009." I do hope that little Ernest had a great life, and not in a brothel.)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    4.5 stars Thanks to NetGallery and Ballantine Books for the advanced copy of this book for an unbiased review. Life takes you in many different directions and it is often how you take to its direction that determines the path you will follow. In Jamie Ford's new novel Love and Other Consolation Prizes, this is so evident. In it we follow the life of a young Chinese boy Ernest Young, who is transported to America, on board a ship destined to land in Seattle. Aboard the ship are other children being 4.5 stars Thanks to NetGallery and Ballantine Books for the advanced copy of this book for an unbiased review. Life takes you in many different directions and it is often how you take to its direction that determines the path you will follow. In Jamie Ford's new novel Love and Other Consolation Prizes, this is so evident. In it we follow the life of a young Chinese boy Ernest Young, who is transported to America, on board a ship destined to land in Seattle. Aboard the ship are other children being brought here to work as indentured servants or for other various occupations many of which are nefarious. There Ernest meets Fahn, the lovely Japanese girl who eventually becomes a major part of his life. Life takes a definite turn when Ernest is raffled off at the Seattle's World's Fair and the winning ticket is held by a madam. Ernest winds up in a house of ill repute where he meets Maisie, the lovely young daughter of the madam. Ironically Fahn winds up there as well and the three young people embark on a journey of learning, loving, and binding themselves together. Ernest falls in love with both of the girls as he finds within that brothel the family he never had. Fifty years later, there is a new World's Fair and we find Ernest grappling with his life experiences and a wife who is ill and losing her mind. He endeavors to keep secrets from his grown daughters but as is often the case the truth wells out. This was a wonderful story told through the backdrop of two World's Fairs during the time of the post Victorian era, a time of budding sexuality and suffrage. This was definitely a story of love and compassion, one that showed that life in the many avenues it often travels gives us all that opportunity to find goodness and devotion and most importantly love. Living in a world where everything was for sale, Ernest was able to find that his value was the one thing that wasn't.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Another beautifully written story by Jamie Ford. I was drawn into Ernest Young’s world immediately. After Ernest’s mother abandons him, the 12-year old is raffled off at the World’s Fair. His life takes quite a turn when the woman who ‘wins’ him, a renowned madam of a high class brothel in the redlight district, puts him to work as her brothel’s houseboy. Oh, what that boy sees, hears and learns along the way - such a great ride! As time goes by, Ernest’s affections grow for not one, but two girl Another beautifully written story by Jamie Ford. I was drawn into Ernest Young’s world immediately. After Ernest’s mother abandons him, the 12-year old is raffled off at the World’s Fair. His life takes quite a turn when the woman who ‘wins’ him, a renowned madam of a high class brothel in the redlight district, puts him to work as her brothel’s houseboy. Oh, what that boy sees, hears and learns along the way - such a great ride! As time goes by, Ernest’s affections grow for not one, but two girls in the house; Maisie, the madam’s daughter and Fahn, a scullery maid. The three unforgettable characters become fast friends, their interrelationships complex and fascinating. I was completely consumed and felt like I was breathing the same air. As the story cuts back and forth between the past and present when Ernest is a man in his later years, I could only speculate who the woman was that he had chosen to spend the rest of his life with but who is sadly moving into senility. Is it Maisie? Is it Fahn? I was sad to see the book end, my time with Ford’s characters flew by too fast.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    Ford's debut novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was one of my absolute favorite reads, not only of the year I read it but one I still think about and consider in my top reads of all time, so it was no wonder how crazy excited I got when I saw he had another release coming out and in the same vein as his first. I don't think I've ever hit a request button so quickly as I did for it. In fact I stalked Netgalley until it was available because I just couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I Ford's debut novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was one of my absolute favorite reads, not only of the year I read it but one I still think about and consider in my top reads of all time, so it was no wonder how crazy excited I got when I saw he had another release coming out and in the same vein as his first. I don't think I've ever hit a request button so quickly as I did for it. In fact I stalked Netgalley until it was available because I just couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I knew it was going to be something special, something emotional and something so worth my time and all the feels I would go through while experiencing it. Ford knows how to weave a tale riddled with history and heartbreak, hope, and love unlike any other author out there. He truly is a master at what he does. It isn't often that one can make you crave history, romance, and a happily ever after, along with struggling and feeling right along with the characters. To be both sad and happy at once, along with heartbroken and angry for everything we put one another through as a people and as a country and as a nation. His words are powerful in every way imaginable and it is so incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the story and the characters themselves until you are completely consumed by them and want nothing more than to see how it will all come together and wishing like crazy that there will be a happily ever after when all is said and done. This story moved me. It touched my heart and rocked my world. The characters, the setting, the circumstances. I couldn't have asked for a more heart felt, emotional read. I loved every single minute of it and I didn't want it to end but at the same time, was eager to see how it would. Once again Ford has exceeded all my expectations and once again touched my heart and soul with his beautifully written stories and unforgettable characters. This story will forever live on min my thoughts and memories. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Anze

    "Healthy Boy to good home for the winning ticket holder." Ernest Young has had a tough life. He may just be twelve years old but already has suffered after being sent from China to America in the cargo zone of a ship as an infant (along with other children), then becoming a ward of the state in Washington and not have any place to call home. But in a cruel twist of fate, Ernest's life is about to take a hard hit as he learns that he is the "prize" for the raffle to take place in the 1909 Alaska Y "Healthy Boy to good home for the winning ticket holder." Ernest Young has had a tough life. He may just be twelve years old but already has suffered after being sent from China to America in the cargo zone of a ship as an infant (along with other children), then becoming a ward of the state in Washington and not have any place to call home. But in a cruel twist of fate, Ernest's life is about to take a hard hit as he learns that he is the "prize" for the raffle to take place in the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. Ernest is "won" by a madam of a high end brothel and becomes the houseboy of "The Tenderloin". Though an unsual place to find himself in, this is his first real home and his first real shot at having a family. Having read 'Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet', I was instantly drawn to Ford's most recent release. Ernest was given away (or maybe sold) by his mother when he was a small boy. Traveling in the cargo zone of a ship for a month from China to the States, his life was far from easy upon arrival. Ernest is happy to be able to go to the AYP fair unaware that he is the "prize" of the day. By day's end, he is the houseboy of the Tenderloin, one of Seattle's high end brothels. Surprisingly, Ernest finds that he is quite at ease at his new home and even makes meaningful connections with some of its residents. Jamie Ford has a great talent for integrating historical details into his work. At the same time, he knows how to deliver a heartfelt and memorable story. Dealing with family, belonging, devotion and ultimately love this book was not exactly what I expected but I did greatly enjoy it. The setting was as intriguing as the character progression and plenty times Ford had me questioning who was right and who wrong. Would definitely recommend. I just find the background of this narrative so fascinating. The prompt, that of a baby boy named Ernest being raffled off at the 1909 AYP Seattle Fair is true. While the fair showcased some of the most recent technology available at the time it was also quite controversial. Along with the raffle of a child, there also were babies on display in incubators and displays of people from specific regions/countries designed in a way that made vistors rudely gawk at them. The social norms were also significantly different. The most notorious one being that age of consent was 10 years old. In part to this, the Red District of Seattle was a booming market. The madam from the narrative is based on madam Lou Graham. She ran one of the most lucrative brothels and was known for exposing her girls to culture, education and treating them in a most kind manner. Juxtaposed with this was the morality crusades and the suffragete movement. As for baby Ernest, no one claimed him and his whereabouts remain unknown.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Jamie Ford has done it again. I remember after finishing Hotel on the Corner or Bitter and Sweet how it lingered in my mind long after I finished it. Love and Other Consolation Prizes has had the same effect on me. Ford finds interesting points in history to weave into his fiction in such a way that I am glued to the pages. His “then and now” method of storytelling only reels me in even further. Beautiful writing and memorable read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tina Woodbury

    For all of my reviews: www.readingbetweenthepagesblog.wordpr... This book is sad at times, but also very heartfelt and inspirational. It is based on a true story, which is one of my favorite types of books to read. Juju finds a newspaper clipping from The Kennewick Courier. Seattle – A boy, the charge of the Washington Children’s Home Society, was one of the prizes offered at the exposition. His name is Ernest and maybe he will have a surname if the winner, holding the proper ticket, comes to claim For all of my reviews: www.readingbetweenthepagesblog.wordpr... This book is sad at times, but also very heartfelt and inspirational. It is based on a true story, which is one of my favorite types of books to read. Juju finds a newspaper clipping from The Kennewick Courier. Seattle – A boy, the charge of the Washington Children’s Home Society, was one of the prizes offered at the exposition. His name is Ernest and maybe he will have a surname if the winner, holding the proper ticket, comes to claim him.  Juju is Ernest Young’s daughter and a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Upon finding the newspaper clipping she confronts her dad and wants to know if he is the Ernest in the article. “It says Ernest. Was this you? I mean – you once told me how you ended up at the Washington Children’s Home after you came here from China. And you said you were given a job as a houseboy after the world’s fair. You told me that’s where you met mom.”  Ernest is hesitant, but eventually opens up about his past as well as Juju’s mom Gracie’s past. Ernest sighed. He didn’t know how to explain that his childhood was also Gracie’s childhood. And that whatever indignities he’d suffered through, hers were a thousand times worse – especially in the eyes of their friends and neighbors.   This story is told in alternating time periods, the early 1900’s and 1962. The early 1900’s spans several years from the time Ernest was very young in China, through his travels to America, and how he ends up at the Tenderloin. This is a beautifully written love story, but it’s really so much more. It’s a touching story of survival and perseverance. Ernest did not lead an easy life, but he always made the best of what he did have. It isn’t until he arrives at the Tenderloin, albeit a gentlemen’s club, that he finally finds a place to call home. It’s there that he meets two girls his age, Maisie and Fahn. The three of them become best friends and he finds himself falling for both of them. Who does Ernest decide to love forever and have a family with? You’ll have to read the story to find out. I read and loved The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and I’m very happy to say that Jamie Ford has written another wonderful book. Those who love historical fiction won’t want to miss out on this sweet story. *Thank you NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Jamie Ford for the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest opinion.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Reilly

    Historical Fiction at Its Absolute Best Some authors are great storytellers. Some can skillfully transport you to a time and place in history. Jamie Ford does both in Love and Other Consolation Prizes. His research is impeccable. The backdrop of his tale is the 1909 World's Fair in Seattle, Washington. He describes many specific attractions at the fair - hot air balloon rides, babies in incubators, and the controversial queen of the fair who was (gasp!) of Inuit descent. He draws a picture of 190 Historical Fiction at Its Absolute Best Some authors are great storytellers. Some can skillfully transport you to a time and place in history. Jamie Ford does both in Love and Other Consolation Prizes. His research is impeccable. The backdrop of his tale is the 1909 World's Fair in Seattle, Washington. He describes many specific attractions at the fair - hot air balloon rides, babies in incubators, and the controversial queen of the fair who was (gasp!) of Inuit descent. He draws a picture of 1909 Seattle making it seem you can walk down every street, see every building. He even uses language of the time like "bumbershoot" and "octoroon." Characters in the story were often reading the newspaper or discussing the latest news. I kept my phone handy so I could find the meaning of these old-time words or verify that a news story mentioned was authentic. I learned so much! (Who knew 11 year old boys were allowed to drive automobiles in the early 1900's?!) The story involves Asian immigrants and is one of belonging, friendship, and love. The writing is beautiful and the journey into the past is fascinating.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    The book begins at the 1962 World's Fair, as Ernest (now in his 60s) is looking back on what brought him to America and his marriage to Gracie who has developed dementia. Ernest's impoverished and dying mother sent him to America in 1902 when he was 5 years old. As a half caste child he didn't completely fit in in either China or America. He wound up in a children's home in Seattle, Washington where he was educated until 1909. After he expressed a desire for a real home, his patron arranged for The book begins at the 1962 World's Fair, as Ernest (now in his 60s) is looking back on what brought him to America and his marriage to Gracie who has developed dementia. Ernest's impoverished and dying mother sent him to America in 1902 when he was 5 years old. As a half caste child he didn't completely fit in in either China or America. He wound up in a children's home in Seattle, Washington where he was educated until 1909. After he expressed a desire for a real home, his patron arranged for him to be the prize in a raffle at the 1909 World's Fair where he was won by Madam Flora (who suffered from fits of madness) and taken to her brothel the Tenderloin. At the brothel he developed friendships, and a love triangle, with Fahn and Maisie. The book alternates between 1909 and 1962. I preferred the story from 1909 and wished that the book hadn't alternated between the two periods. Life in the Tenderloin seemed a little sanitized, but maybe brothels were all sweetness and light and all prostitutes had hearts of gold. This book has an interesting premise but it's execution dragged for me. There was a bland sweetness to the love story but no conflict or tension to make me want to keep reading so I wound up skimming a lot. The author withholds 2 bits of information, maybe to try to hold our interest: who is Gracie and what is the mysterious illness afflicting Flora and Gracie? Unfortunately, the answers are all too obvious. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  29. 4 out of 5

    MaryannC.Book Fiend

    An achingly sad tale based on a true story. Ernest Young, now in his 60's recounts to his daughter Juju his tragic, impoverished young life as a half Chinese orphan who was once sold to the highest bidder at The Seattle World's Fair 1909. His mother dying of starvation one day gives Ernest away to a man who bounds him on a ship to America where he finds himself auctioned off to Madame Flora. Once settled at Madame's house of ill repute Ernest finally begins to experience the safety that a family An achingly sad tale based on a true story. Ernest Young, now in his 60's recounts to his daughter Juju his tragic, impoverished young life as a half Chinese orphan who was once sold to the highest bidder at The Seattle World's Fair 1909. His mother dying of starvation one day gives Ernest away to a man who bounds him on a ship to America where he finds himself auctioned off to Madame Flora. Once settled at Madame's house of ill repute Ernest finally begins to experience the safety that a family can bring and also begins to feel the first stirrings of love as he falls for Fahn and Maisie, Madame Flora's daughter. As he recounts his life Ernest also copes with the loss of his wife Gracie, though still alive she suffers the cruelty of Dementia and harbors secrets of her own that have been kept from their children. Touching, moving. Recommended. Thank you to Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This is fascinating tale of what could have happened to a child raffled off at Seattle's World Fair in 1909. The story centers around a young Chinese boy sent from southern China and the struggles and challenges throughout his life. He ends up living and working in a brothel and falls in love with two young women whose choices in life are extremely limited in a society where the poor, ethnic, women, and children have no value. The book is rich with the history of the 1900's, the racism, the suff This is fascinating tale of what could have happened to a child raffled off at Seattle's World Fair in 1909. The story centers around a young Chinese boy sent from southern China and the struggles and challenges throughout his life. He ends up living and working in a brothel and falls in love with two young women whose choices in life are extremely limited in a society where the poor, ethnic, women, and children have no value. The book is rich with the history of the 1900's, the racism, the suffrage campaigns, and the moral of the political system. I would highly recommend it anyone who enjoys historical fiction, Asian fiction, romance, Ford fans, and book club members. It is not a book to gobble up, rather, it is to be savored and pondered, discussed and enjoyed.

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