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The Paragon Hotel

The Paragon Hotel, January 2019
by Lyndsay Faye

G.P. Putnam's Sons
432 pages
ISBN: 0735210756
EAN: 9780735210752
Kindle: B07CLBXMSG
Hardcover / e-Book
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"The Paragon Hotel offers her refuge, but for how long?"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Paragon Hotel
Lyndsay Faye

Reviewed by Magdalena Johansson
Posted January 8, 2019

Thriller Historical

After reading the great JANE STEELE and THE WHOLE ART OF DETECTION was I looking forward to THE PARAGON HOTEL, the new Lyndsay Faye novel.

Set in 1921, Alice "Nobody" James arrives in Portland after a harrowing train ride. Not only has she fled New York, but she's also been shot and now needs a place to hide. Thanks to Max, a black Pullman porter, she finds refuge at the Paragon Hotel. The only problem? This is the only all-black hotel in the city and they are not very keen to have a white woman staying there. But with Max as well as the wonderful club singer, Blossom Fontaine, on her side, Alice stays in the hotel. However, she quickly realizes that not everything is peachy in Portland. The Ku Klux Klan has arrived in the city and a child disappears from Paragon Hotel not long after Alice has arrived...

For some reason, I found THE PARAGON HOTEL a bit hard to both get into and get through. Don't take me wrong, the story is good and kept my interest. But, I found this novel harder to read than Faye's previous titles. Nonetheless, I did find the Paragon Hotel to be an interesting place with all the different people staying there. I felt that Alice and I didn't click and the flashbacks to her life in New York didn't help much. Thankfully, Max and Blossom both intrigued me, along with the rest of the enjoyable characters who inhabited the Paragon Hotel, and they made this a worthwhile reading experience. Additionally, the ending had a fabulous twist that took me completely by surprise! Recommended to historical fiction fans.

Learn more about The Paragon Hotel


The new and exciting historical 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 Fontaine seem to be at the very center of this tangled web?

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