Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Review

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

The next reading challenge that I decided to conquer was a Book with hotel in the title. Now I have wanted to read this book for very long time since it was published but I never got around to it. I was going simply based off of the cover and never read any blurbs or reviews and suspected it was probably a romance novel of some sort given the popularity, but I was wrong.

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I found this book on Overdrive – My Library’s Online Database, though I do also have it in paperback form. It was just easier to listen to then to read as a paper pack and I finished it on July 20th.

It was not what I was expecting. As I mentioned before, I did not read the back cover or any reviews before I got started, and I read this right on the tail of the Lunar Chronicles, so it was a pretty stark paradigm shift. I was expecting a romance mystery crossover. What I got was a historical fiction based around the American Concentration Camps during WW2 post Pearl Harbor. The book covers young love, arranged marriages, racism in America, Jazz and its cultural cloud, death, grief, family structural conflicts and many other topics. It definitely pulled at my heartstrings and opened my mind to life styles I’ve never had to deal with. While I griped about reading it (I’m not one to leave a book unfinished) I actually really enjoyed it once I got over my unmet expectations (there’s that word again).

I would give its a 3.5 out of 5 stars, and I’m probably being a little bit biased. It’s a little dry through the beginning, but by the end you’re invested in the relationship and the problems. It discusses some really great topics and opened my mind to perspectives I never would have had the opportunity to experience. This book is way out of my comfort zone both from a reading and a comprehension level but the author does a good job of bringing the characters to life both in their youth and in their current age which is impressive. Considering my own background with persecution being Jewish it was an interesting comparison to what I already know of that time period. This is definitely a very emotional story and I can see the conclusion bringing tears to the eyes of many readers. It’s not violent person or sexual and anyway so it would make a great read for students in high school trying to understand the complexities of the American impact on Asian Americans during World War II or great book club read considering the current political climate.

If you liked this book you should read The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin which delves into Nazism in America during World War II as well as feminist themes.

If you were intrigued by the aspects of asian culture, you may like Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.

If you want a good love story like I was expecting try The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes.



Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What other books would you recommend if someone enjoyed The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet? I would love to hear your thoughts below or you can email me at

Happy Reading!