Chrissy’s Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
written by Jamie Ford
published by Random House, 2009

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, KoboBook Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book? I read it because it was my book group selection for the month of November. It had been on my “to read someday” list, but I never got around to it. So, I was glad that my book group chose this book–another one off that list.

Did I enjoy this book? It was all right. It wasn’t a book that I couldn’t put down or a book that I had to read every free chance I could get. It took a bit longer than I wanted to finish it. (Of course, moving may have had something to do with that!)

The underlying story was sweet, if not a bit predictable–well, really predictable. But sometimes predictable is okay. Although it jumped between 1942 and 1986, it wasn’t hard to follow. The main characters, Henry and Keiko, were likable as were some of the secondary characters, especially Mrs. Beatty, Henry’s cafeteria boss, and Sheldon, the street corner jazz saxophonist trying to make it big.

The ending left me wanting more resolution. I wanted to hear the dialogue that was sure to have occurred at that moment. I won’t say anymore so as not to spoil the end for those who haven’t read this book. However, for those who have read this book, do you agree with me? Did you want that conversation on the page?

Would I recommend it? Yes, I would recommend it to those who like historical fiction books.

Will I read it again? Probably not. It was a good book–well written for what it was about–but not one that I could read over and over again.


About the book – from Goodreads: In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese American girl from his childhood in the 1940s–Keiko Okabe, with whom he forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors. After Keiko and her family were evacuated to the internment camps, she and Henry could only hope that their promise to each other would be kept. Now, forty years later, Henry explores the hotel’s basement for the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even begin to measure. His search will take him on a journey to revisit the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, for country.


Happy 2



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** This post first appeared on Every Free Chance Books ( on October 30, 2011.