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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Hugh Lewis on 10-04-17
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!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Mari W on 02-22-18
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.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful