The Lonely Hearts Hotel

The Lonely Hearts Hotel

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Set in Montreal and New York between the wars, a spellbinding story about two orphans whose unusual magnetism and talent allow them to imagine a sensational future, from the bestselling, two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted author.

Exquisitely imagined and hypnotically told, The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with the power of legend. Set in the early part of the 20th Century, it is an unparalleled tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose fortune hinges on the price of a kiss. In a landscape like this, it takes great creative gifts to escape one's origins. It might also take true love.

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1914. Before long, their true talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing for the rich, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.

Separated as teenagers, both escape into the city's underworld, where they must use their uncommon gifts to survive without each other. Ruthless and unforgiving, Montreal in the 1930's is no place for song and dance. But when Rose and Pierrot finally reunite beneath the snowflakes, the possibilities of their childhood dreams are renewed, and they'll go to extreme lengths to make those dream come true. After Rose, Pierrot and their troupe of clowns and chorus girls hit the stage and the alleys, the underworld will never look the same.

With extraordinary storytelling, musical language, and an extravagantly realized world, acclaimed author Heather O'Neill enchants us with her best novel yet -- one so magical there is no escaping its spell.

Publisher: Toronto :, HarperCollinsPublishersLtd.,, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781443435864
Branch Call Number: FICTION ONE
Characteristics: 389 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

List - Canada Book Week
Liesel_C Mar 27, 2018

Heather O'Neill tells the tale of Pierrot and Rose, two orphans abandoned at a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1910, in love with each other since they can remember. They dream up a plan for the most extraordinary circus show the world has ever seen; and go to extreme lengths to make their d... Read More »

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Apr 25, 2019

The "author" seems to have put together bits from other books and then her own sexually fantasies to come up with a book that I'm surprised anyone would publish. Poorly written nonsense. Didn't even get half way through it, and I'm someone who usually just has to finish a book no matter how bad it is, because I keep thinking it's got to get better if someone published it. Would not recommend to anyone!!

Avid Reader

Dec 19, 2018

A very enjoyable read. Fast paced. Interesting characters.

Oct 05, 2018

Descriptive and magical.

Pierrot and Rose grew up in the same orphanage in Montreal, both abandoned there as newborn babies. A love develops between the two despite many obstacles: poverty, jealousy, crime, addiction.

Their lives are lived separately until the stars align and cause their paths to cross - this is where the real magic begins.

Pros: Beautifully descriptive language flows through the entire novel, quite delightful to read.

Cons: Many sexual situations are featured in this novel - I was not expecting that...and unfortunately I think much of the symbolism from the rest of the book went right over my head.

Very well written and a nice change of pace - definitely an original piece of work.

4 stars

endora Sep 26, 2018

I really loved this book, period. A love story, but not in the conventional sense. It is a wild and often crazy story, written by an author who has more imagination than any other author I can think of right now! I kept saying to myself "how on earth did she think that line up?!!!"

Jul 04, 2018

I am someone who will typically finish reading a book this length in 2-4 days, depending on how interested I am in the plot. It took me the entire 3 weeks of my library borrowing period to force myself to get through this one. It's not that it's badly written, as much as I just did not care about the characters, at all, nor did I find the story itself compelling. I'd give it a great big 'skip it'.

Jan 20, 2018

Stupid Book.
Bizarre. Quit half way through.
Might be burnable.
Don't recommend it to a friend.

Jul 01, 2017

Drugs, prostitution, abusive relationships and someone's strong will to get out of that nightmare.This is Heather O'Neill's second book based on these topics. I have no idea how she's able to be so descriptive and precise in providing all those amusing details pertaining to those very, very sad matters. But she's quite amazing in doing that. Her writing style is exquisite and full of light erotica. I did skip a part in the middle of the book where two characters were trying to find each other - it was a bit longer than it should be, and I also found the end a bit messy - to organize a circus to transport drugs and then to dissolve it? If you're okay to do some mental work while reading a book, give it a try. Ms. O'Neill's books are quite unusual. You'll remember them.

X4052010709 Jun 28, 2017

I loved this book and have just finished Lullabies for Little Criminals. I find her writing style almost lyrical and enjoyed both books immensely. I have never read anything like The Lonely Hearts Hotel, and I believe it will be at the top of my list of favourites for a very long time to come. Cannot recommend this book highly enough. 5 stars from me!

Jun 10, 2017

I quit when I was three quarters of the way through the book. I just never cared what happened to the two protagonists and there didn't seem to be any plot development. If you haven't read a book by this woman, read 'Lullabies for Little Criminals' instead.

Mar 31, 2017

Quite imaginative, the characters as well as the story.Two little orphans growing up and apart yet always intertwined. The book is quirky, sad, creative, and naughty. Great read.

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