The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

Song Pairings: For The First Time by The Script
I’ll Be Seeing You by Billie Holiday
Dream a Little Dream of Me by Ella Fitzgerald

I should not have loved this book.

I should not have loved this book nearly as much as I did.

I should not have loved this book nearly as much as I did because it broke my heart into a million tiny pieces.

“A spellbinding story about two gifted orphans in love with each other since before 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, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss. In a landscape like this, it takes great creative gifts to thwart one’s origins. It might also take true love.

With her musical language and extravagantly realized world, Heather O’Neill enchants us with a novel so magical there is no escaping its spell.”

I opted for the audiobook version of The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill and at first I thought I had made a poor decision. I originally found myself annoyed with the storybook way Julia Whelan read this book but soon it became my favorite part. Her methodical voice carries a melody that will pull you to the deepest parts of the ocean while, all along, having the power to throw you to the moon.

“She certainly seemed crazy. But she simultaneously made them think that there was nothing in the world wrong with being a crazy girl. And that maybe the world needed a couple more crazy girls.”



Heather O’Neill, The Lonely Hearts Hotel

This book is beautifully poetic and haunting in every sense of the word. I will be thinking about the majesty of this book for months and probably years to come. Each chapter has its own lyrical prose that keeps you hoping for the characters and lets you into their private world.

The romance sewn between Pierrot and Rose is one of fairy tales. It’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. These star crossed lovers are the stuff of legends and you’ll quickly fall for every aspect of the worlds they create together.

“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.”


Heather O’Neill, The Lonely Hearts Hotel

I have no complaints about this book except one. Sometimes less is more. There is some truly horrendously graphic child sexual abuse and physical child abuse described in this book as well as some miscarriages. Other parts, later on, when the characters are older, border on almost pornographic adult romance novels. Which is fine, but really took me out of the book sometimes.

While this books is scary and heart wrenching in a lot of horrible ways, it is also romantic, heartfelt, and wonderfully tasteful in others. It quickly became one of my favorite books of all time and it has definitely become the most beautiful book I’ve ever listened to.

“Many of them, like him, would never grow old enough to understand that you only go from one hardship to another. And that the best we can hope from life is that it is a wonderful depression.”


Heather O’Neill, The Lonely Hearts Hotel

The pain and anguish that O’Neill was able to express through her characters was truly mesmerizing. Her story is expertly woven and honorably executed. Not a single thread was left untied in the end. Reader beware that this book will horrify you, enchant you, break you and heal you, suspend you from the highest rooftop and bring you safely to your bed.

“If there was one thing responsible for ruining lives, it was love.”


Heather O’Neill, The Lonely Hearts Hotel

O’Neill’s actions are flawless and effortless in The Lonely Hearts Hotel and trust me… you’ll be left addicted and wanting nothing more.

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