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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet & a Giveaway

May 13, 2009

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A NovelI was excited to receive a copy of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet  by Jamie Ford after readng so many favorable reviews on various blogs. Luckily, I was not at all disappointed.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is the story of Henry, a Chinese American, who is in his fifties, recently widowed and retired and living in Seattle. The discovery of an old Japanese parasol in the basement of the long boarded up Panama hotel brings back long buried memories of Henry’s childhood in Seattle’s Chinatown during the early 1940’s.

Trying to integrate their son into Western society, Henry was enrolled in an all white school. Forced to wear an “I am Chinese” button so he is not mistaken as a Japanese boy after the Pearl Harbor attack, Henry is lonely and is taunted relentlessly by his peers. His only friend is a black musician who plays his sax on a local street corner. So when Keiko, who is also twelve, begins attending the school, she and Henry become quick friends. Henry walks Keiko to Japantown each afternoon after school and love soon begins to blossom. 

Henry’s father is very traditional and doesn’t feel a close connection with his son. Henry knows he cannot bring his new friend to his home, since father is a Chinese nationalist who has a deep hatred of the  Japanese, who have been bombing cities in China for years.  But when the US government  begins rounding up Japanese citizens to be “relocated” to various camps, Henry does everything a boy can possibly do to save Keiko and her family and begins to learn more about the culture divide between the Chinese Americans and the Japanese Americans.

Forty years later, when the parasol and other items are discovered in the Panama Hotel, Henry enlists the help on his only son Marty (with whom he has a strained relationship) to search through the items. But what exactly is he looking for?

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a story about families steeped in honor and tradition and a young boy and girl trying to find their place during this tumultuous time. Ford writes about many issues in this multi-layered tale. The book is not only about young love, but also about various forms of racial issues, with the isolation of being a minority at an all-white school to the differences of being Chinese and Japanese during this time in America.       

In Lesley’s review, she says “The writing is occasionally simplistic and I finished reading the novel without a singly lyrical passage to share. And yet, I couldn’t put this book down!” I agree that there wasn’t a particular passage that I felt I needed to share, but just like Lesley I was really engaged in the story. It is expertly paced and a book I will gladly share with my friends. The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a great book. Don’t miss it.

If Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet sounds like a book you would like to read, I have one hardcover copy to give away! For a chance to win, please leave a comment on this post. To double your chances, either write about this giveaway on your own blog or tweet about it on twitter (Stop by @SWrittenWord to win copy of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet This giveaway will be open until 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 20th. Good luck!

49 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2009 7:11 am

    I’ve read a lot of good reviews of this book too. Glad you were not dissapointed.

    please do enter me (if international)

  2. May 13, 2009 7:19 am

    I haven’t read it yet, either. I’m looking forward to it because there are so many great reviews! Please enter my name in the giveaway.

    meah56 AT gmail DOT com


  3. May 13, 2009 8:17 am

    Don’t enter me – I have the book. I’m really looking forward to reading it!

  4. May 13, 2009 8:32 am

    Don’t enter me. I received an ARC of this book and read it right away. I loved it!

  5. May 13, 2009 9:00 am

    I finished this last week just haven’t reviewed it yet but yours was perfect!! I totally loved this book!! Don’t enter me either!!

  6. May 13, 2009 9:32 am

    I’d love to win this one. I’m tweeting about it too! (lulu_bella)

  7. May 13, 2009 9:42 am

    I’ve read The Rape of Nanking and so I am really interested in this book. Please enter me!

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

  8. May 13, 2009 11:06 am

    This one does sound good. There seems to be a lot of books that center around a “found” personal item these days and it must be because readers love them. I know that I do.


  9. Anwar permalink
    May 13, 2009 1:10 pm

    This sounds like an interesting read. Please enter me, and thank you for this giveaway.

  10. bridget3420 permalink
    May 13, 2009 1:44 pm

    Count me in:)

  11. bridget3420 permalink
    May 13, 2009 1:45 pm

    Posted contest link on my sidebar:

  12. May 13, 2009 1:50 pm

    I’m one of the few haven’t read it yet, so please do enter me. I’ll tweet about it right now.

  13. May 13, 2009 1:51 pm

    Here’s the tweet link:


  14. May 13, 2009 2:14 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful book, and what a great title!

  15. May 13, 2009 2:30 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it! Sounds like a good one.

  16. May 13, 2009 3:50 pm

    Read many great reviews as well – would love to win!

  17. May 13, 2009 4:08 pm

    I would love a chance to win this book. I have heard really great things about it! My email address is Thanks!

  18. May 13, 2009 4:30 pm

    I’d love to win this book! PLEASE enter me!

    A Novel Menagerie

    P.S. I am a subscriber to your blog via RSS

  19. May 13, 2009 5:39 pm

    Please enter me. This book is now on my wishlist 🙂

  20. May 13, 2009 7:39 pm

    I got this from my library and absolutely loved it. It was wonderful. Great review. I don’t think I’ve seen a negative review yet.

  21. May 14, 2009 9:11 am

    Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed this one, too. I’ll be interested to see what his next book is like.

    No need to throw my name in the hat. Thanks for the shout-out with my review.

  22. May 14, 2009 1:08 pm

    I’d love to win this book.

  23. May 15, 2009 7:21 am

    I would love to win a copy of this! I’ve seen some great reviews.

    I posted this contest on my blog’s sidebar!

  24. May 15, 2009 8:07 am

    I have heard a lot of good about this book too. Haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet but now i really want to. Even though I am not a particular fan of any literature written about that period of time but I guess this book would be perfect for stepping outside my comfort zone.

  25. May 15, 2009 10:03 am

    Just tweeted this.

  26. May 15, 2009 10:20 am

    i have read so many great reviews of this book, i just have to get if from my library! i don’t have twitter, so i can’t tweet! sorry. 🙂

  27. May 15, 2009 11:51 am

    Great review! I’ve been wanting to read this. Thanks!

  28. Liyana permalink
    May 15, 2009 12:46 pm

    Count me in please! 😀

  29. Shanna permalink
    May 15, 2009 5:40 pm

    I’d love to win this book (if you will send it to Canada)! Thanks.

  30. Ann permalink
    May 15, 2009 10:01 pm

    Count me in!

  31. Carlene permalink
    May 16, 2009 9:00 am

    Please inlcude me in your giveaway.

  32. May 16, 2009 10:37 am


  33. Lee permalink
    May 16, 2009 5:55 pm

    Well written reveiw, I would very much like to read this book.

  34. May 17, 2009 9:02 pm

    I’m new to your blog…I would love to be included in your giveaway — I have this book on my list!! I’d be happy to mention it on my blog! I’m new to blogging, so not sure who will read it, but I’ll certainly mention it!

  35. May 17, 2009 11:52 pm

    Great review, Stephanie!
    *No need to enter me as I had finished reading this book over the weekend!* 😉

  36. Kellie permalink
    May 18, 2009 7:33 am

    Always looking for a good book…and the time to read!

  37. Jen permalink
    May 18, 2009 10:56 am

    I would love a copy of this book. It’s on my list of must reads.

  38. May 18, 2009 1:54 pm

    I’d love to win!

  39. May 20, 2009 9:54 am

    yet, another book I heard about through twitter..fantastic…I would love to be entered and I will tweet about this giveaway…thanks.

  40. May 20, 2009 10:10 am

    Heard so many good things about this book! Please enter me –

  41. May 20, 2009 10:18 am

    I’ve also heard wonderful things about this book. Our book club mentioned it but since it isn’t available in paperback, we aren’t reading it…at least not yet. Please enter me and I also will tweet it. Thanks!!

  42. May 20, 2009 10:27 am

    I didn’t notice if you mentioned shipping restrictions, but if it’s open internationally I’d love to throw my name in the hat. I’ve been trying to get a copy of this but so far to no avail. Thanks!

  43. Liyana permalink
    May 20, 2009 10:33 am

    COunt me in please!

  44. May 20, 2009 1:39 pm

    I’d love to win this book. I’ve never heard of it before today.

  45. May 20, 2009 2:36 pm

    Oooo. I’d love to win this one. Please enter me! And I’m off to tweet about it right now (I’m @booknaround).

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