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Love and Other Consolation Prizes

byJamie Ford(Goodreads Author)
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.(less)

“Love and Other Consolation Prizes” by Jamie Ford is an informative Historical Fiction novel, that I highly enjoyed. The time line is in the past  around 1909 and more in the present around fifty years later.
Can you believe that it is possible for a person to be raffled off as a prize? During the World’s Fair in Seattle in 1909, that is exactly what happened to Ernest, a half Chinese Orphan. In China and other countries where there was poverty, it was not unusual for parents to either sell or giveaway their children in hopes for a better life. Many of these children did not survive the trip. Others were “raffled” off as slave labor of one sort or another. Surviving was very difficult.
I appreciate the historical research that Jamie Ford has done in preparation for this novel. I also am impressed with the important issues that Jamie Ford discusses.
The author describes the Immigrant children and adults, as victims, innocent and easily manipulated. Other characters are discussed as complicated and complex There is the evidence of good and evil.
During the time of the 1909 World Fair, there were brothels, the fight for women’s rights, religious factions that wanted to clean up the city. Almost everything is for sale.  
In the present part of the story, one can see how the secrets and history of the past effect relationships.
I like that the author brings up cultural expectations and differences, friendship, family, love and hope. I would recommend this highly for those who enjoy Historical Fiction. I received this ARC for my honest review.

1 comments on “My Review of “LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES”by Jamie Ford”

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