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Publisher's Summary

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 best-selling, two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize-short-listed 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 abandoned children, 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, dabbling in sex, drugs, and theft in order to survive. Ruthless and unforgiving, Montreal in the 1930s 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 dreams 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.

©2017 Heather O'Neill (P)2017 Penguin Random House LLC

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A powerfully written and narrated story

Review

This beautifully written story follows two exceptionally talented children, growing up and making there way through the great depression, amongst powers that want to destroy them. The narrative is about the exploration of innocence: its power, its attraction, and its repulsion. The characters, although a metaphor, are themselves extraordinary and relatable and lovable. From the very beginning I want to be them. I want to be around them. The author uses language so poetically you'll want to rip pieces of this book out and frame them around your house. Or have passages tattooed on your body.

Heather O'Neill has made this world a little more beautiful. And has made me want to cherish and fear the innocence I see in myself and in others. The narrator makes the book come alive. Both people should be showered with awards immediately. There are not enough stars on all of Audible to appropriately rate this book.