Love and Other Consolation Prizes

A Novel
Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (441 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel, inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.

For 12-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World's Fair feels like a gift. But only once he's there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off - a healthy boy "to a good home".

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam's precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known - and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he's always desired.

But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle's second World's Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.

Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolation Prizes is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion - in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.

©2017 Jamie Ford (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Ford is a master at shining light into dark, forgotten corners of history and revealing the most unexpected and relatable human threads.... A beautiful and enthralling story of resilience and the many permutations of love." (Jessica Shattuck, author of The Women in the Castle)
"An evocative, heartfelt, beautifully crafted story that shines a light on a fascinating, tragic bit of forgotten history." (Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible listen

Not only was the story so fantastic I found myself wondering what the characters were doing when we were apart, but the performance was equally fantastic. Sometimes a reader can distract me from the story if the performance is off but that was not the case, at all! Zeller brought each character out of Ford’s perfectly written tale and kissed life into them! I couldn’t believe how quickly I had listened to it! So, I listened to it again. I didn’t want the book to end! I became so invested in each character I wanted to be privy to the next chapter of their lives.... and the next and the next.
Ford has the ability to pluck a moment in history and weave an entire life out of it for his characters and for you! Lucky us!

7 people found this helpful

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lovely.....simply lovely and poignant

Not only does the author draw beautiful landscapes and characters with his words, but he gently leads you onto a winding path of history, culture and fiction where you don't know what is fact or fiction. You won't be disappointed.

4 people found this helpful

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Sweet read

loved it!! every once in a while you need to read a sweet book about true love at first sight. this is it.

3 people found this helpful

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Intriguing. Hard to put down.

It opened my eyes to another lifestyle and the good and bad aspects of life. I found myself wanting to listen at every opportunity.

3 people found this helpful

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A Touching Story

Inspired by a true story of an orphan boy who was raffled off at Seattle’s 1909 World Fair.

SUMMARY
Ernest Young was given away by his dying Chinese mother at five and sent on a harrowing trip to America in the deep dark hold of a ship. Upon arrival in Seattle he becomes a ward of the state and eventually attracts a wealthy sponsor who sends him to an exclusive boarding school, where he suffers racism and discrimination. When he has the tenacity to tell her he would rather go to another school she has him raffled off at the 1909 Worlds Fair. The winning ticket belongs to Madame Flora, a flamboyant madame in a high class brothel, famous for educating her “Gibson Girls.” Ernest become the new houseboy, and falls in love with Maise, Madame Flora’s young daughter, and the bold Japanese scullery maid name Fahn. Their friendship forms the first real home and family Ernest has known. But as Madame Flora succumbs to occupational illness, Ernest’s home begins to crumble.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle’s second Worlds Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was, with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep past secrets hidden from their two grown daughters.

There are people in our lives whom we love, and lose, and forever long for. They orbit our hearts like Halley’s Comet, crossing into our universe only once, or if we are lucky twice in a lifetime. And when the do, they affect our gravity.


REVIEW
A touching book about Chinese and Japanese orphans brought to America for servitude rather than opportunity. The story alternates between Ernest’s past in 1909 and his present day in 1962. It’s focus is on his abiding love for Maisie and Fahn. My favorite part was Ernest’s compassion and sensitivity he shows throughout the book despite his upbringing. The book is slow in parts but you are easily drawn in at the beginning of the story when Ernest is locked in the dingy hold of the ship with other children. It’s a memorable story, one that will remain with you for awhile. Love and Other Consolation Prizes was inspired by the true story featured in the September 1909 issue of the Seattle Times stating there was a raffle at the Worlds Fair for a number of prizes, including a month-old orphan boy, “property of the Washington Children’s Home Society.” Research is currently on-going as to what really happened to baby Ernest. Author JAMIE FORD’s writing is compelling. His debut novel was Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet which spent two years on the NYT bestseller list. His second novel was Songs of Willow Frost, and this historical fiction gem is his third. I listened to the Audible version of this book and found the narration smart and soulful.

“My theory,” Maisie sad, “is that the best, worst, happiest, saddest, scariest, and most memorable moments are all connected. Those are the important times, good and bad. The rest is just filler.”

Publisher Penguin Random House
Published September 12, 2017
Narrated Emily Woo Zeller




1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Love and Other Prizes

What a great read! Historical perspective was very iformative and author made characters so real. Great job, Jamie!

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Loved it. Slow start but it picks up fast!

Fghb v fh uh fh. Gb f cj xg vj cj ch fh b ch b vfb vhbc

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A lot of heart

The book has so much heart and charm. It's sad and heartbreaking and beautiful and funny. Jamie Ford is a treasure. Emily Woo Zeller dose a marvelous job, just about perfect narration.

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Loved it

What a great book. I loved this story and the performance by Emily Woo was incredible. Well done. 💕

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Such a good story...

but what a terrible execution ! The lack of character development and the flat dialogue diluted the impact of the story. Thehistorical background was the best part of the story. Seriously, this author needs a good editor, and maybe some instruction on credible plot construction - this had huge credibility problems.