The Paragon Hotel

Finished The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“The new and exciting historial thriller by Lyndsay Faye, author of Edgar-nominated Jane Steele and Gods of Gotham, which follows Alice “Nobody” from Prohibition-era Harlem to Portland’s the Paragon Hotel.

The year is 1921, and “Nobody” Alice James is on a cross-country train, carrying a bullet wound and fleeing for her life following an illicit drug and liquor deal gone horribly wrong. Desperate to get as far away as possible from New York City and those who want her dead, she has her sights set on Oregon: a distant frontier that seems the end of the line.

She befriends Max, a black Pullman porter who reminds her achingly of Harlem, who leads Alice to the Paragon Hotel upon arrival in Portland. Her unlikely sanctuary turns out to be the only all-black hotel in the city, and its lodgers seem unduly terrified of a white woman on the premises. But as she meets the churlish Dr. Pendleton, the stately Mavereen, and the unforgettable club chanteuse Blossom Fontaine, she begins to understand the reason for their dread. The Ku Klux Klan has arrived in Portland in fearful numbers–burning crosses, inciting violence, electing officials, and brutalizing blacks. And only Alice, along with her new “family” of Paragon residents, are willing to search for a missing mulatto child who has mysteriously vanished into the Oregon woods.

Why was “Nobody” Alice James forced to escape Harlem? Why do the Paragon’s denizens live in fear–and what other sins are they hiding? Where did the orphaned child who went missing from the hotel, Davy Lee, come from in the first place? And, perhaps most important, why does Blossom DuBois seem to be at the very center of this tangled web?”

I think most people I know have loved Lyndsay Faye since her first book (The Gods of Gotham). I was late to the party and I still haven’t read Jane Steele (probably her most popular book—at least until this one), but you guys, THIS BOOK.

There’s so much going on. Prohibition and speakeasies, the mob, the Klan…and all the amazing 20s lingo I wish would make a comeback.

I loved Alice (who sometimes goes by “Nobody”) and most of the residents of the Paragon. They’re smart, good people who are managing to survive in a world that wants them dead or vanished and doesn’t particularly care which one it is. But Alice is the center of this, and she’s amazing. She manages to flee cross-country with a major injury (shot and barely, BARELY patched up) and she’s got no one to help her stay alive. She quickly befriends Max, who gets her to the hotel and to a doctor’s care, but that in no way makes her safe. And it seems like the hotel is one of the least safe places to be even before Davy goes missing.

This is a fun and tense story and I hope you read and love it, too. Highly recommended.


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