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The Paragon Hotel

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  4,697 ratings  ·  952 reviews
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 hor
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
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Greg Anne, during the time period in which the book was set, Portland was one of the 'whitest' cities in America. Given there was only ONE single hotel, th…moreAnne, during the time period in which the book was set, Portland was one of the 'whitest' cities in America. Given there was only ONE single hotel, the one in the title, that allowed blacks, there was probably no need for a "Green Book" in the Pacific NW. (There was, however, a large number of vampires and werewolves.)(less)

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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,697 ratings  ·  952 reviews

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Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edelweiss
Superbly written historical novel exploring racism, violence, and extremist groups in America in the 1920's. While this novel takes place in the past, its subject matter resonates in the current moment.

Alice James has a knack for blending in. She can become part of the background, enabling her to go unnoticed and listen in on very important conversations. She also can stand out, if need be. She can be anyone or no one. Her nickname, Nobody, suits her perfectly. In the early 1900’s in Harlem, she
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye is a 2019 G.P. Putnam’s Sons publication.

Immersive, multi-layered historical thriller!

It’s 1921 and Alice James leaves Harlem, running from a drug and alcohol deal that left her seriously wounded. She’s on a cross-country train and fading fast, when Max, a kindly black Pullman Porter, rescues her, taking her to the Paragon Hotel in Portland, which probably saved her life.

Alice awakens to find herself ensconced in an all-black hotel, where the staff and other
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

You know what comment I hear a lot from strangers? “You should use more .gifs in your reviews. They are awesome and definitely show what an intelligent person you are.” Okay, y’all know that’s totally untrue, but I’m still pretty much going to only use .gifs to explain this book because I’m wording even less well than usual today.

I had never even heard of The Paragon Hotel until my friend SUSAN used the GR recommend feature to tell me
Martie Nees Record
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
My Ratings: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery
Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Putmam
Pub. Date: January 8, 2019

In a nutshell, this novel is about racism and the American underworld in the early twentieth century. The novel begins in 1921, during the time of America’s Prohibition. A young white female protagonist is on a train out of Harlem running to escape her Mafia boss who is displeased with her. She is suffering from an untreated bullet wound. A black male Pullman porter takes pity
‘The Paragon Hotel’ by Lyndsay Faye is wonderful storytelling, showcased by a unique writing style. Faye’s luminescent prose and memorable characters along with a poignant plot and atmospheric setting create an indelible reading experience. Alice James is born on March 23, 1896, on the very same day that the Raines Law is passed. That law states that no liquor can be sold on Sunday, except in hotels. Alice James, also known as ‘Nobody’ was born and raised in Raines Hotels in New York. Gunshot, A ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
The Paragon Hotel is a fictionalized account of the one hotel in Portland that allowed customers of color through the 1930s, and the surrounding racism of the times.

(I grew up in Oregon with 4th and 8th grade focused on Oregon history but we never learned about this, however it explains a lot... Even today Portland is 72% white!)

I enjoyed the part of the novel set in Portland, but the parallel story set in Harlem seemed less realistic and maybe unnecessary, somewhat clogging the storyline. This
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNF. Everyone else seems to love this book, so I don't know, maybe I just wasn't in the right mood. But I gave up--the writing style was a bit overdone for me, the dialogue didn't feel real, and I just couldn't work up any interest in the main character or what happened to her.

*I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Who is Alice James? Why does she reference herself as "Nobody"? What are the circumstances that led to her being on a train bound for Oregon?
So begins the tale of Alice James, aka "Nobody", fleeing NYC with a bullet wound festering, on the run from the Mafia. It's 1921, Prohibition has been initiated, Mob violence in Little Italy is rampant and Oregon seems to be a safe distance from those who wish Alice dead.
Befriended on the train by Max Burton, the Pullman porter in charge of her cabin, Alic
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's the 1920s, and Alice James, or Nobody, is escaping to Portland when we first meet her, suffering from a bullet wound. She's taken by a porter to the Paragon Hotel, the only hotel in the town that allows African Americans to frequent. She meets a variety of fascinating people who live and work at the hotel. They view her with some suspicion, as she's white and a stranger, and the situation in Portland is somewhat tense, what with the Ku Klux Klan arriving there to cause trouble. With the dis ...more
4+ Stars

Whip-smart writing and dialogue. Strong female characters. Though this takes place in the early 1900's, the story is as relevant as ever. Highly recommended.
The Paragon Hotel is a taut, well told historical mystery that will captivate you from its startling beginning to its breathtaking conclusion.

There are few things that I enjoy more than a great mystery and when it is set in a historical context, it is like icing on a cake. That is exactly what Lyndsay Faye has created with The Paragon Hotel.

It is the era of prohibition and Alice “Nobody” James is mysteriously wounded and fleeing from the mobs of Harlem, New York where she was raised by her prost
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a dizzying,dazzling book. The author's style takes a little getting used to but then SO delivers. What incredible richness of language. I was completely riveted by the story of a young "Nobody" who is raised among the violence of the mafias in Harlem but then escapes to new horrors in prejudiced Oregon. This is not only a riveting read but a beautifully crafted story of race and identity. Highly recommend!
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
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 qu ...more
Alice James was born in Harlem and eventually runs for her life. Taken off the train in Oregon, the conductor brings her, injured by a bullet, to Portland's Paragon Hotel. Once there her story gets complicated and surprising. We learn why she was shot and why she ran.

It is the 1920's and Prohibition is in full swing; racism is prevalent in Portland. Alice is welcomed to the Paragon Hotel to recuperate, even though she is white and the other guests black. She becomes close to Blossom Fontaine, a
Elaine - Small Farm Big Life
I just couldn't like this book. I really tried. I made it about halfway through and then questioned why I was still reading. The Paragon Hotel has a high rating on Goodreads, so I kept thinking I was missing something or that the book had to get better.

The narrators voice just wasn't working for me. I understand that she is a con artist and changes into who she needs to be to suit the situation, but I found her voice hard to read. I typically love historical fiction, but this book wasn't for me
Karen Kay
I received this from in exchange for a review.

"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."

And boy-oh-boy, the complicated story goes on from there. Really great book, good writing, fantastic characters. Must read.

Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)
You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

Sometimes we read stories to escape the gruesome reality that is perpetually mediatized and sometimes we visit these stories to remind us of the lessons learned—or not—during the darker days of the past. While the events in themselves are tragic, it is the similarities that we are able to draw between an era that seems so long ago that is the most appalling. Whether it is only a decade or a century ago, mankind loves to revisit those mistakes an
The Lit Bitch
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first thing I said when I saw this book was—-finally a cool interesting book set in Portland!

Living in Oregon, there isn’t an abundance of cool books set here. Sure we have a number of writers from Oregon that have made it into the ‘big time’, but for the most part Oregon isn’t exactly the hippest place to set your novel in.

In recent years though I have seen a lot of writers—both from Oregon or the PacNW and not—set their books here in my lovely state but it’s still not as popular as say New
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a story this is. It's a gangster/mafia story. It's a story about racism, including the KKK. It's a story about intolerance and bias. It's a story about friendship and relationships. It's a love story. It's a sad story, but yet a hopeful one. It's a story about resilience in the face of adversity. It choked me up more than once but had me amused or smiling at times also, thankfully, or I would have been an emotional mess as I finished reading.

The tale begins in 1921, during the time of Prohi
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historical fiction, mystery lovers
Recommended to Margie by: Llyr (thanks!)
Historical fiction like The Paragon Hotel constantly amazes me with incredible facts that I never learned (or were never taught) in high school. The Ku Klux Klan was given only cursory mention in our high school history books and mainly concentrated on the 1950s. I had no idea that it had infiltrated numerous cities across the entire United States (not just the South) in the 1920s, heavily influencing local politics and terrorizing communities like Portland where much of this book takes place
Sarah Swann
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This one was different. I love historical fiction, so I was excited for this book. I did love the characters and their dynamics together. I can usually follow duel timelines pretty well, but these timelines seemed almost too close together and it was harder for me to keep them straight. I also had a bit of a hard time getting used to the language used and they way the characters talked. The storyline was strong, but I was expecting a bit more from it.
Mar 22, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnf
My second DNF of the year. Did people actually ever speak like this, or did the author just watch old time-y movies and toss in every slang and cliché she heard? This very long book probably could have been MUCH shorter without the insufferable dialogue. I couldn’t stand it—like nails on a chalkboard.
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers and fighters
Recommended to Alan by: Lata, via Peter T.
From the multicultural paradise of racial harmony that is Portland, Oregon, in the enlightened year 2019 (and if your sarcasm detector isn't going off by now, it may need to be recalibrated...), one might find it challenging to imagine the segregated Portland of 100 years ago. Fortunately, Lyndsay Faye has imagined it for us. The Paragon Hotel succeeds in bringing Portland's past back to life, warts and all, and I can say—with no sarcasm at all now—that it's fascinating, even charming, and full ...more
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oh, Portland. No wonder we’re the whitest major city in the US. This well-researched historical novel, set in the early 1920s, lays bare Oregon’s foundation as a whites-only state, and shows through a lively cast of characters how blacks were treated and how whites rationalized their racism. Interesting, readable, and still relevant in many ways nearly a century later. There’s also a plot line that deals with our heroine’s coming of age in the shadow of the Mafia in Prohibition-era New York City ...more
Sue Em
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well-written and immaculately researched historical novel/mystery. Little known facts detailing the pervasive mafia influence in Harlem alternate with the entrenched racism from Oregon's early days. Despite the serious themes underlying the book, it is just a delight to read.

With a bullet wound in her side, Alice James, "Nobody," flees NYC traveling by railroad to Portland. Once there, the Pullman porter, Max, takes her in hand to the Paragon Hotel and to a doctor who won't ask any inconvenient
Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
I've been a fan of Faye since Jane Steele and she come back to us again with another stunner in The Paragon Hotel. I'm not much on historical fiction usually but I've ben surprised lately.. however, I already knew going in that Faye has a talent of bringing history to life. She brings Nobody and everybody into The Paragon Hotel.

We switch back and forth from NYC Harlem and how Nobody, "just call me Alice", came to Oregon, The Paragon Hotel and her reasonings behind what she does. Introducing char
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The writing was really good, quirky. It felt like the times it was set in, like Lyndsay Faye nailed the vernacular. I often wonder if there is a limit to how much historical fiction can teach you about history but as this book shows, there is always more to learn. This book opened a new chapter in history that I didn't know about and the story was definitely intriguing. Well-done. I'm a fan of the author and have read many of her books. This one ranks right up there with the others. Looking forw ...more
Charles Finch
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a charmer. Review tk
4.5 stars.

What historical fiction should be. See full review on my blog:
Scott  Hitchcock
A really good historical fiction peace exploring racism and gender roles in 1930's Oregon. With actual newspaper quotes of the time this has a very authentic feel and a few good twists one of which totally took me by surprise and made the ending for me.

I'll definitely check out more of Ms Faye's books.
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