The Paragon Hotel / Lyndsay Faye.
Booklist Reviews 2018 November #1
*Starred Review* Faye once again vividly illuminates history with her fiction. Here the focus is on the Mafia in New York City and the blatant racism in Portland, Oregon, during Prohibition. Half-Italian and half-Welsh Alice James, 25, known as Nobody for her ability to blend into any background, tells her story in chapters labeled Now and Then, the latter detailing her youth as the daughter of a prostitute and best friend of Nicolo Benenati, who loves but accidentally shoots Alice, wounding but not killing her. Still suffering from the wound, Alice flees on a train headed west in 1921. The Now chapters take up her arrival in Portland, where a black porter, seeing her condition, takes her to the all-black Paragon Hotel. Here, waking from anesthetic after being treated by a black doctor, she meets stunning ebony-skinned cabaret singer Blossom Fontaine, whose friendship warms her while others worry about a white woman recovering in a black hotel. The disappearance of Blossom's six-year-old mixed-race foundling fuels the Now chapters and soon activates the KKK, thriving in Portland, to deadly action, as Alice pieces together the puzzle of Blossom's past. While the violence of Mafia rule is nothing new, Oregon's deeply racist past is lesser known, and both are brought to life in this remarkably fluid fiction, framed as a love letter and based in fact. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2018 August #1
It's 1921, and "Nobody" Alice James is racing by rail as far from New York as possible, finally landing at the only all-black hotel in Portland, OR. Residents are understandably suspicious of this white woman—the Ku Klux Klan is in town. From the two-time Edgar nominee.Copyright 2018 Library Journal.
LJ Reviews 2019 January #1
In 1921, Alice "Nobody" James, who is white, escapes her life as a New York Mafia gun moll with a bullet-shaped souvenir in her side. Hopping a train to anywhere, she meets African American train porter Max, who notes her condition and guides her to the Paragon Hotel, the only all-black hotel in Portland, OR. The owner, Dr. Pendleton, treats Alice even though it's dangerous for black men to associate with white women. So begins Alice's stay at the Paragon, where the residents have their own problems, with the Ku Klux Klan gaining popularity and dead animals left at their door. Alice uses her former skills to aid in the most heart-wrenching problem of all: finding the missing mixed-race boy Davy Lee before the Klan does. Faye ("Timothy Wilde" series;
PW Reviews 2018 November #1