Love and Other Consolation Prizes

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

A Novel

Book - 2017
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A half-Chinese orphan whose mother sacrificed everything to give him a better chance is raffled off as a prize at Seattle's 1909 World's Fair, only to land in the ownership of the madam of a notorious brothel where he finds friendship and opportunities, in a story based on true events.
Half-Chinese Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, is astounded to learn he will be raffled off-- a healthy boy 'to a good home' -- at Seattle's 1909 World's Fair. The winning ticket belongs to the madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam's daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. They form the first real family Ernest has ever known. Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle's second World's Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.
Publisher: New York :, Ballantine Books,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: 2017
ISBN: 9780804176750
Characteristics: 307 pages ; 25 cm


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Jun 16, 2018

Sad but sweet story. The Seattle connection adds a lot of interest to it. Very well written. I thought it was more enjoyable than his second book which was just sort of depressing.

May 22, 2018

Extremely well written and loved the Seattle history. I will admit I found the story quite sad and somewhat depressing without any hints of humour to help lighten the difficult but accurate depiction of history.

rthomson1954 Apr 24, 2018

This story is sweet in so many ways. The characters are kind and likeable especially Ernest Young who early on is raffled away at the 1909 Yukon World Exposition and becomes the property of Madam Flora. This might seem like a harsh fate for a boy just reaching adolescence, but the "ladies" at the bordello are kind and nurturing, and he finds encounters loving and caring women as he grows into manhood. The historical depiction of Seattle is interesting and well portrayed, and the movement back and forth between 1909 and 1964 plays out smoothly and tenderly.

Apr 18, 2018

Another wonderful book by Jamie Ford, this time set in Seattle against the backdrops of two World's Fairs, the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and the 1962 Century 21 World's Fair. Although fictional, the novel is based on something that really happened: at the AYP, a baby was given away. In Love & Other Consolation Prizes, it's a 12-yr old who's given away, Ernest, a young man who is half Chinese and whose Chinese mother could not afford to keep him. Ernest ends up working as a houseboy in the swankiest brothel in Pioneer Square. The book alternates between his story back in the early part of the 20th Century versus his story in 1962. Is this story too much like Hotel at the Corner of Bitter & Sweet? I didn't care, loved the book!

brookse0518 Dec 31, 2017

This title was interesting enough that I also read Ford's earlier book. I like the way he switches from past to present with good character development.

Dec 30, 2017

An orphan boy called Ernest Young is raffled as a prize at the 1909 Seattle world’s fair. That catches your attention. His new home is the Tenderloin, a classy brothel in the red light district. Years later when the next world’s fair opens there, his journalist daughter wants to mine his memories.

Love Jamie Ford’s writing and his storytelling. Wonderful historical fiction.

Dec 20, 2017

If you loved The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you’ll enjoy Jamie Ford’s new book. The storyline moves between the Seattle Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909 and the 1962 World’s Fair. It’s the story of Ernest a Chinese boy who was sold by his mother and brought to the US. Ending up as the houseboy in a Seattle brothel, he later marries and has two daughters. If you love Seattle history and the part Asians have played in its growth, this book is for you.

Nov 21, 2017

As usual with Jamie Ford, I was most fascinated by the carefully incorporated Seattle history. This seems to be his passion, and I often wonder what would happen if he tried his hand at non-fiction. (Disclaimer: I received access to an Advance Reader’s Copy of this book)

Nov 16, 2017

This book is distasteful! I read only half of it. I don't recommend this book.
What a disappointment, doesn't compare to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, the author's first book.
I, too, noticed the mistake about middle school. That term was not used in 1909 or 1962.

Oct 19, 2017

Most of the main characters are well rounded and interesting. The beginning is touching, as famine and poverty in China's Pearl River Delta lead Yung's mother to sell him to a "man who is not your uncle," who takes him illegally to America in 1902. He ends up in a string of orphanages in early Seattle, where, as the only Asian child, he is bullied and his brilliance isn't noticed. At the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909, Yung, now known as Ernest Young, 12, is raffled off, becoming a houseboy at Seattle's best brothel. There he falls in love with two girls a bit older than he, and finds friendship for the first time. This is the best part of the book. Interleaved with this is Seattle's 1962 World's Fair. Ernest has been living alone, his wife descending into dementia and living with one of their two daughters. The 1962 World's Fair begins to bring back some of her memories of their early days together. These sections of the book, and the ending, are too rushed, and a bit maudlin. A native Seattleite, I noticed a few errors, some of time--Ernest at 12 is said to be in middle school, which was still called junior high in 1962. Others are minor errors of fact that Ford, also a native Seattleite, shouldn't be making. Still, an enjoyable book if not quite up to ""Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet."


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Nov 21, 2017

This is Ford’s third historical novel, this time set in Seattle during the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. Ford opens on the better remembered 1962 fair, and uses it to echo and reflect the main action of 1909. The plot was inspired by a fascinating newspaper clipping from the AYP Expo, advertising the fact that an orphan boy was one of the raffle prizes at the fair. The fate of the real boy is unknown, but in his novel, Ford imagines what might have become of a young half-Chinese boy named Ernest, whose winning ticket is sold to the madam of an infamous brothel. Raised in a Catholic orphanage, Ernest comes to the red light district as the temperance movement is surging in the city, and finds himself caught between the Japanese house girl, Fahn, and Madam Flora’s stubborn daughter, Maisie.


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