The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

MY RATING : ★★ (4.4)

Since Lullaby for Little Criminals, I loved Heather O’Neill’s writing. And the fact that the author is from Montreal made me even more proud 😀

The marketing campaign compared it to The Night Circus. Alright. Let’s get this straight. I’m sorry but this has NOTHING to do with The Night Circus. Yes I’ve read it and you can read my review for that book here.


I’d say this novel is more like The Series of Unfortunate Events – Adult Version. Rose and Pierrot are two orphans from the most unfortunate circumstances. The first part of the book is how they live in the orphanage, the raw difficulty and hard times from that period: child abuse and violence. It’s not an easy read, that’s for sure.


Since the 1st page, the author set the mood straight. She’s telling the readers how horrible humans can be towards children. I read a lot of reviewers who gave this book a low rating for the child abuse theme expecting it to be a Young Adult fantasy. Once again, due to the marketing’s mistake people already built their expectations for the book and once they read about something that’s not supposed to go with their expectations they find it bad.


I think there’s nothing bad about mentioning child abuse and violence, it’s how the author delivers her message that counts. In my opinion, you don’t get to decide if it’s not right or to not talk about it. Au contraire, I think people should talk a lot more about the inhuman things out there, so readers can know about the real world. Back to the novel,  the author had a goal with the book and everything she wrote made sense in the end. So I’m going to just leave you on this : this book is not a cute little young adult fantasy, this can be considered a psychological thriller. You have to trust the author. Because the journey she’s going to take you to will be a memorable one.


The character development with the two protagonists is exquisite. We have Rose, the fierce and fearless girl and Pierrot the sensitive and lighthearted piano prodigy. They make such a unique duo. Life will throw at them every difficulty that there is and seeing them grow separately will make for an exceptional reunion. The side characters are also an interesting set. They will shape and influence the protagonist’s behavior in the most twisted and unexpected ways. Imagine living in 90s in Montreal, prostitution and drugs roam the streets. Our duo has to make a living out of that filthy life and society as much as they can.



It’s a shame that I can’t spoil anything else but I think this is one of the novels whose ending is the most satisfying to me. Not in terms of Mind-blowing plot twists, but in terms of plot device and development. The author shows us you don’t need fireworks and suspense to end a book. You need a witty and clever direction.

YES. I would recommend it with all of my hearts. Although keep in mind it’s not for the lighthearted people 😉 Do not expect real magic. Do not be fooled by the reverie appearance of the book. Expect boldness. Expect badass women. Expect  subversion and wonder. It’s a bittersweet journey about lunatic nuns, two orphans with extraordinary minds and a most-anticipated- reunion.




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