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The Lonely Hearts Hotel

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  14,577 ratings  ·  2,282 reviews
With echoes of The Night Circus, a spellbinding story about two gifted orphans in love with each other since they can remember whose childhood talents allow them to rewrite their future.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with the power of legend. An unparalleled tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, b
Hardcover, 391 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Riverhead Books
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Beth Anne This book has nothing to do with The Night Circus. Its not even the same author.
Nicole The book is very much for adult, and maybe mature teens (16+). It features a lot of sexually explicit content!

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  14,577 ratings  ·  2,282 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats and prepare to be awed! Witness the story of two babies born of tragic circumstances and abandoned in an orphanage in Montreal, circa 1914. Behold the boy, Pierrot, who entertains his fellow orphans with theatrics and proves to be a prodigy pianist. Feast your eyes on the girl with blushing cheeks, Rose, whose dancing is a physical manifestation of Pierrot's music, s
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book will not be for everyone. It's dark, it's gritty, it's disturbing and it's unflinching. It's also incredible. It's like a modern twisted fairytale about what love is and means. But I'll just say this. I started it at 1pm. I stayed up till 1am to finish it even though I didn't want it to end. ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've read over a thousand books. None of them were like this one.

And that, perhaps, is the biggest compliment that I can give a book at this point.

Set in Montreal during the depression, this book is...hard to describe. It's not one of those that I would rush out and recommend to everyone, because it's not really an easy read. First off, it opens with the incestuous rape of a minor. It's mentioned almost offhand, in just a sentence or two, which could be offensive to most, but in this book it ac
Elyse  Walters
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Library... ebook:

My eyes were opened wide with my chest constricted —
The abuse - physical- emotional - and sexual - that takes place in a Montreal orphanage - during the 1930’s, makes life for the orphan children in the musical “Annie” look like Disneyland in comparison.

NO HOLDS BACK from author Heather O’Neill.....
.... BE WARNED: There is graphic sexual abuse between a young female nun and a pre-teen boy.
BUT....besides the ‘in-your-face’ details of sexual- forbidden - lust behind closed do
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
The first page of this book opens with the rape of a child. From there it leads to more abuse, sexual assault, rape and just pretty much all manner of horrors that any child or children could ever endure. But despite all this our two main characters, Rose and Pierrot, feel a connection to each other. They know that their lives will be forever interlinked and young love blossoms. The story then leads on into adulthood with the effects that this horrific childhood had on the two main characters.

Olive Fellows (abookolive)
This is a MUCH grittier version of everything I had hoped The Starless Sea would be. I LOVED it.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Helene Jeppesen
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is so dark and twisted, and it will leave you with a feeling of hopelessness and despair. But for some reason that's exactly why I loved it: Finally we get a story in which there is no happy ending in sight, and where you live in the darkness and cruelty of life and still manage to see glimpses of beauty.
"The Lonely Hearts Hotel" is about Pierrot and Rose who are two orphans placed in the same orphanage. They are both very gifted artistically and they are both naturally drawn to each
Dec 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
A sumptuous cover for an irredeemably brutal book.

I'm always leery when a marketing team compares the book they're promoting to books I love. It's kind of interesting to try to figure out what inspired the comparison. In some cases, it's spot on and I'm happy to add another book to the family ("A Thousand Nights meet Girls at the Kingfisher Club - you guys have a lot to talk about). In other cases, I sort of feel like they've missed the forest for the trees.*

You can probably tell by my rating w
I'm trying to get more into Canadian Literature. I don't really think enough of it exists honestly, and I want to buy and read and support Canadian authors so I can send the message to publishers that this is the kind of stuff I want published. So October+November was "buy Canadian Literature" time. I've had my eye on this since the day it was released and I finally picked it up and started it and boy do I have some stuff to say.

Firstly, please Heather O'Neill teach me how to write like you do.
Book Riot Community
O’Neill has created a fantastical feeling in The Lonely Hearts Hotel that combined with the imaginative writing–and Whelan’s narration—made me feel as if a vintage movie was playing in my brain. It was all so vivid I wanted to reach my hand out and run away with Rose–or join the circus. It was so beautifully written it cushioned the heartbreak of Rose and Pierrot’s lives: two children–who are quirky and gifted and creative and in love– growing up in a Montreal Orphanage in early 1900s and their ...more
I was talking to a friend about this novel a few days ago, and following this conversation, I have to change my rating from 4 to 5 stars. Because I keep recommending it to everyone. Because I still think about it all the time over a year after I read it, because Pierrot and Rose and the way their story ended haunts me. So to Hell with the few editing lapses that annoyed me: when a book gets under your skin the way this one did, it deserves a full five stars and a spot on the “favorites” shelf.

Erin Clemence
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sex, drugs and………clowns?
“The Lonely Hearts Hotel” is the newest novel by Scotiabank Giller Prize winner and bestselling author, Heather O’Neill. “Hotel” follows on the heels of one of my favourite novels of O’Neill’s, “Lullabies for Little Criminals”.
In “The Lonely Hearts Hotel”, we are introduced to Rose and Pierrot- two orphans who grow up together in a Montreal orphanage during the Great Depression. Rose and Pierrot quickly bond over their love of performing- Pierrot is a piano prodigy with
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jar of Death Pick #26

I don't even know how to begin to describe The Lonely Hearts Hotel.

What was this?

I should probably say that if you have a trigger than its very likely in this book. Rape, child abuse, abortion, miscarriage, mental illness, poverty, drug abuse, EVERYTHING! This book was so much darker than I thought. I went into this book expecting a light whimsical read but what I got was dark and gritty.

This book just hit me on so many levels. It was dark, violent, sad but hopeful.

I fee
Heather O'Neill writes literary fiction. Each of her books has had a style unique unto itself, a thematic presentation that is idiosyncratic and not one which is cozily familiar representing "that next book" which a fan might be eagerly awaiting. That said, all of her stories represent one BIG idea: Disenfranchised, poor, neglected, abused, demeaned women must trust in themselves and find their purpose as individuals, free to build lives not enslaved by the men who trap them. The women she write ...more
Trang Tran (Bookidote)
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
(4.3)I don't understand why this book has so many 1 star because it talks about child abuse and rape? Why would you condemn a book to such a grade just because it doesn't talk about happy fairytales.
The character development in this one is one of the best I've read so far! I love books that have made an impact on me. This one surely did.

This book was a wonderful psychological thriller road. Nothing like The Night Circus AT ALL. IT IS DARK AND TWISTED. Wonderfully plotted.

Full review to come!
Ashley Daviau
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know how I’m ever going to come close to accurately describing how utterly fantastic this book is but here goes! This book knocks it out of the park and is by far THE best book I’ve read this year. It’s magical and raw and just absolutely spell binding! I can’t believe I’m going to say this but it’s like The Night Circus, only BETTER. I know that’s a very bold statement but I stand behind it 100%. I especially loved the fact that it was set mostly in Montreal, it made it all that much mo ...more
May 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
* DNF at 120 pages *

I was saddened when I decide to cast this book aside as I feel it reflects badly on my ability to select books I will like as well as my patience as a reader. However, this book was always going to be a risky proposition. I didn't take well to all the circusy antics of The Night Circus a book the The LHH is suppose to be similar too, (its not, its whimsy with a side order of grim abuse and absurdism). Also, I should have stayed clear of books referencing hotels given my r
What an incredible story!
“All children are really orphans. At heart, a child has nothing to do with its parents, its background, its last name, its gender, its family trade. It is a brand-new person, and it is born with the only legacy that all individuals inherit when they open their eyes in this world: the inalienable right to be free.”

I was aware of the comparison to The Night Circus going in: sure, there are orphans, some clowns, and a show along the line, but this is not the story of a
Steph VanderMeulen
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've tried numerous times to find the right words to describe this book. But it's hard when the overwhelming feeling is always, I can't even—!

I wanted to photograph every sentence. I wanted to stuff it in my mouth or shoot it up directly into my bloodstream. It is marvellous, magical, wondrously imaginative. It makes me want to make love to Heather O'Neill's genius mind.

The writing is nothing short of stellar. The story, which you can read about for yourself on the book jacket, is by turns swee
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, can-con
All children are really orphans. At heart, a child has nothing to do with its parents, its background, its last name, its gender, its family trade. It is a brand-new person, and it is born with the only legacy that all individuals inherit when they open their eyes in this world: the inalienable right to be free.

I think that the publishers of The Lonely Hearts Hotel has done it a disservice by marketing it as having “echoes of The Night Circus”, because these two books would have decidedly di
Rebecca Carter
The Lonely Hearts Club is written in a gorgeous whimsical style, and I've no doubt comparisons will be made to the Night Circus, with how at times the writing can be so enchantingly beautiful and the imagery this evokes. The big difference being this is definitely not a ya book. This book tackles plenty of difficult subjects - child abuse, rape, pedophilia, sexual assault, prostitution, drug abuse, theft, crime and the underworld of Montreal and New York. It's grim and gritty and can be depressi ...more
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've never read anything like 'The Lonely Hearts Hotel' by Heather O'Neill. It's irreverent, perverse, and absolutely delicious. O'Neill's prose is so spontaneously gorgeous that it's like little fireworks of prose bursting on every page. What a wonderful way to start my reading New Year of 2018, although it is setting a very high bar. How can I be satisfied with less?

This book includes scenes of rape and child abuse, so if this is a trigger for you, do not read this book.

Rose and Pierrot both
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
Is this story a comedy or tragedy? This is a question alluded to within the novel and ultimately what the reader wants to know. Will Pierrot and Rose find their happy ending? I've heard this book compared to The Night Circus, but no, I just can't agree on that. It has a magical tone, but Heather O'Neill's story is much more raw, with a lot of drugs and sex, which she seems to write about often. ...more
One of my goals this year is to read more books by Canadian authors. I am SO happy I picked this book up. It was sitting on my Kindle since 2017 when it was long listed for the Women's Prize. It blows my mind that it was not short listed (and that it did not win!). This is a beautiful, dark and gritty book about love, childhood innocence, missed opportunities, imagination, art and so much more. I was completely enraptured throughout the whole narrative. This is a book that I will definitely be r ...more
Jessica Reads & Rambles
Update: Just googled the name 'Pierrot' to see if I was saying it correctly and oh my god, another dimension is added to the book. This will make no sense unless you have also read the book and then googled the origins of the name, but bloody hell. I love Heather O'Neill.


If A Series of Unfortunate Events and Geek Love had a baby, then raised it on a combination of smack and La La Land, this book is the result.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel introduces us to two curious orphans, Rose and Pierrot, who m
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Pierrot and Rose sank a little bit into the carpet, which was covered in a pattern of pink and blue flowers. They stood there looking at their feet, wondering if the ground would continue to swallow them up. It did not.

4 stars, maybe even 5 in the future. We'll see. Normally I wait a few days between finishing a book and writing a review, but with this one, which I finished yesterday, I think I want to gush a bit.

First off: before reading my review, please check out Hannah's , which is the one t
Dayle (the literary llama)
IRATING: ★★★☆☆ / 3.5 stars...a little up and down, but there is some gorgeous writing that probably deserve an even higher rating.

FAVORITE QUOTE(S): Sometimes I include a favorite quote or passage in these reviews. In this case there were several truly memorable ones and I decided to share a few...

"All I want, Pierrot, is for you to be happy. I can't make myself happy. Nobody can really make themselves happy. But they can make other people happy."

"Most of us hide away when we are sad, Rose thoug
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
This book completely enchanted me. I don't think the cover or the title give you a good idea of what this is going to be like - whimsical, blunt, both polished and untidy - and most of all, wondrous. It's a tale of orphans, clowns, gangsters, and prostitutes that has the feel both of gritty, Depression-era Montreal and of a timeless fairy tale. Emphatically recommended! ...more
Karima chermiti
Full review posted : 30/08/2018

Trigger warning: (view spoiler)

Perhaps the most dangerous people in the world are the ones who believe in right and wrong but what they ascribe to as “right” and “wrong” is completely insane. They are bad with the conviction that they are good. T
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Heather O'Neill was born in Montreal and attended McGill University.

She published her debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, in 2006. The novel won the Canada Reads competition (2007) and was awarded the Hugh Maclennan Award (2007). It was nominated for eight other awards included the Orange Prize, the Governor General's Award and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize. It was an international bes

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