The Lonely Hearts Hotel, Heather O’Neill

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The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with a difference. Set throughout the roaring twenties, it is a wicked fairytale of circus tricks and child prodigies, radical chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians and brooding clowns, set in an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss.

It is the tale of two dreamers, abandoned in an orphanage where they were fated to meet. Here, in the face of cold, hunger and unpredictable beatings, Rose and Pierrot create a world of their own, shielding the spark of their curiosity from those whose jealousy will eventually tear them apart.

When they meet again, each will have changed, having struggled through the Depression, through what they have done to fill the absence of the other. But their childhood vision remains – a dream to storm the world, a spectacle, an extravaganza that will lift them out of the gutter and onto a glittering stage.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a novel unlike anything I have read before; It is a dark, gritty, mysterious story but it is also a story of love and overcoming your past. It is a modern, twisted fairy tale about what love is and what love means and it is poetically beautiful to read. This novel is a novel that has to be experienced and it is so wonderful to do that seeing as it is set in the 1920’s which so happens to be my favorite second era – after the 1950’s of course! It truly is a stunning novel that transports the reader to an era that is so very different to our own and I cannot help right now but express how much I loved it! Here is a little bit more about this spellbinding novel.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel tells the story of two young orphans who grew up together in a run down, cruel orphanage in Montreal, Circa in 1914. Their names are Rose and Pierrot. They are two souls that quickly bond over their love of performing. Pierrot is a piano prodigy with an undying love for music and its beauty and Rose is a young woman who loves the art of performing and she will do so for anyone at any place at any time. Together they dream of creating the most enticing, spellbinding circus in the world, however, the two are sadly separated as they age and so this novel becomes a story of their individual journeys and eventually their journey back to each other and their exciting futures as performers.

This novel is quite simply stunning, it is a novel that features heavily on the art of performing, the mafia, drugs, prostitution and finding yourself. All of these themes combined make it an unforgettable story, unlike anything the reading world has ever seen. It is a novel that can be very hard hitting at times but I think as a reader it is important to read these kinds of novels, it is important to read about themes that happen in our world today so that we can learn what happens and what to do about it. My point is that I really did adore how this was a gritty, hard-hitting novel all whilst being a stunning novel set in the roaring 1920’s and I have to say now… if you adore that era then you will adore this novel! It is a spectacle and its novels words play out in your mind like a movie so you can’t help but feel as a reader that you are in Montreal in the 1920’s, it is quite simply breathtaking!

Whilst I was reading this novel I was truly shocked by our author’s incredible vision for this story. It reads beautifully and the writing was very poetic and beautifully descriptive. Our author O’Neill immediately made me fall in love with every aspect of this story – the setting, the characters, the story… I was instantly sold and reveled in its beauty.

To conclude my thoughts on this beautiful, charming, elegant story I would say if you love the art of performing, historical fiction, the 1920’s, or reading about the great depression then you will love this story! It is a novel full of heart ache, love and hopes all at the same time and it quite simply is stunning.  This enchanting novel gets Five Stars from me!

Thank you so much as ever for reading book lovers I appreciate it so much! Please do let me know your wonderful thoughts below; I would love to know! Could you see yourself reading this novel? Do you love historical fiction? Do you adore the 1920’s just like me?! Let me know below! Thank you so much again for reading!

Goodbye for now book lovers,

P.S. Here is a preview of the book for all of you lovely readers to enjoy! If you have loved what you have read and want to buy the wonderful novel then you can click the buy on Amazon button and it will take you straight to Amazon U.K.! If you are international then click the Book Depository link underneath it! Thank you so much again for reading!

Book Depository

Publisher; Quercus – Riverrun

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169 thoughts on “The Lonely Hearts Hotel, Heather O’Neill

      1. Bit of both really! It was shortlisted for the Baileys prize for women fiction and also for man Booker. It’s a hard book to summarise but I’ll give it a go once I finally finish it for the review!

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  1. This book looks like my kind of novel. I love the 1920s, and individual journeys of protagonists that make their way back to each other. Yet another book to add to my reading list. Thanks for the great review and recommendation!

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    1. Yes! The 1920’s time period in this novel is amazing. I really felt that the author transported me there. Plus, the book cover design is gorgeous and the book actually has a 1920’s circus theme to it. It’s so pretty!

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      1. I have never actually heard that before because usually everybody has that one era they love don’t they? But I adore this about you! Be unique always I love that. I love all eras to be honest, I just hate the modern times lol.

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      1. Aww I hope it does! Do you read much historical fiction? I adore that genre because it gives a reader great insight into a different time and a place. Books are honestly like portals to a different world lol.

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      2. I love historical fiction, it’s one of my favourite genres! I think it’s so incredible how you can step into someone else’s life or view a time and place that doesn’t exist anymore. I believe strongly that remembering things is how they continue to exist once they’re gone, so it’s almost a treasure to be able to read books from or set in the past

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      3. This is so beautiful! You just described this perfectly. I agree, historical fiction books are like treasure. I love being able to feel that I am in a different time and a different place!

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      4. Two that I really loved are called The Dovekeepers and The Red Tent and both are set in biblical times but they surround women in that time period and they’re really interesting! And my favourites from the world war 2 era are The Book Thief, All the Light We Cannot See, and The Nightingale! 😊 do you have any recommendations?

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      5. Well idk how much you know about the bible but basically Jacob is an important figure in it and he has 12 sons and a daughter and the daughters story is briefly touched on in the bible about a tragedy that happened to her but this author gives light to that event and to the daughters whole life through her own perspective rather than the men who wrote the bible, so the daughter tells us her mothers story and then her own and it’s written beautifully! I’m not even very religious and I loved it

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      6. I too have read All the Light we Cannot See and I adored it! I have not read The Book Theif though. I am just scared that it won’t be as great as everybody says it is! Is it great or not? (:

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      7. You should read it, it’s one of my favourites! I think the writing style is part of what makes it so great, it’s narrated by death in a really unique way! It’s definitely worth the read and I think it will live up to the hype!

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      8. Well I’ve heard that for the death narration parts they show the clouds moving … so I don’t know lol … it might not be bad but I haven’t heard anyone say they loved it either so!

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      9. I know me too! You should check out this book called H(A)PPY. Please have a look, that book is full of weird and wonderful notes, transcripts and drawings and all great things. It’s a dystopian novel and it’s great!

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      10. It sounds really good!! Just from the synopsis it sounds like it’s written beautifully! And it’s a really intriguing concept! But on Goodreads it had no reviews or even ratings? Is it new?

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      1. Aww well this book would tell you loads about it! Do you adore unique, historical fiction stories? They are one of my favourite genres to be honest. But even if this isn’t your typical read I think you would really enjoy it (:

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      1. I used to devour them along with thrillers but now I’ve just got SO many books to get to they tend to get forgotten about at the back of my shelves which is a shame! ☹️

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