First Line Fridays: The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye #firstlinefridays #thenavireview #bookreview #theparagonhotel #lyndsayfaye #janesteele @putnambooks

Happy Friday everyone! I JUST received a GORGEOUS copy of The Paragon Hotel from G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and I can’t WAIT to dig in to this latest book from the author of the famed Jane Steele! The cover art is phenomenal and the premise intriguing! Let’s see how it begins, shall we!


You’re supposing that you hold in your hands a manuscript. A true story I knitted into a fable, tinted with my own brushes, chiseled tappity-tap until its rough edges were erased and nothing but clean, smooth autobiography remained.

You’re entirely wrong, dearest. This isn’t a book at all.

I’m scratching out this first bit last, and you just shuffled past me into the kitchen, yawning, giving me the gimlet-eye routine. You’re ever so good at it, but it doesn’t work on your very truly; and after you’ve pouted yourself some coffee and refilled my chipped brown cup, you’ll ghost your hands over my shoulders and try craftier means of wheedling it out of me. What exactly I’ve been working on all this while.

Well, you may proverbially put up your shoes and kick off your heels and save yourself the botheration–I’m giving this to you tied up with a pretty twine bow later tonight.


Definitely a mysterious start! What in the world is she talking about, is my first question, which, I gather, is a very good question to make a reader turn a page!


Sitting against the pillows of a Pullman sleeper, bones clacking like the pistons of the metal best speeding me westward, I wonder if I’m going to die.

The walls of my vibrating coffin are polished mahogany, windows spotless, reflecting onyx midnight presently. I’ve been watching them for several days. When I wasn’t switching trains, which was its own jostling hell and doesn’t bear repeating.

Does Salt Lake City ever bear repeating, really?

What do you think? Does this sound like a book you’d like to read? Are you up for a little of this:

Book Blurb

The new and exciting historical 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 horribly wrong. Desperate to get as far away as possible from New York City and those who want her dead, she has her sights set on Oregon: a distant frontier that seems the end of the line.

She befriends Max, a black Pullman porter who reminds her achingly of Harlem, who leads Alice to the Paragon Hotel upon arrival in Portland. Her unlikely sanctuary turns out to be the only all-black hotel in the city, and its lodgers seem unduly terrified of a white woman on the premises. But as she meets the churlish Dr. Pendleton, the stately Mavereen, and the unforgettable club chanteuse Blossom Fontaine, she begins to understand the reason for their dread. The Ku Klux Klan has arrived in Portland in fearful numbers–burning crosses, inciting violence, electing officials, and brutalizing blacks. And only Alice, along with her new “family” of Paragon residents, are willing to search for a missing mulatto child who has mysteriously vanished into the Oregon woods.

Why was “Nobody” Alice James forced to escape Harlem? Why do the Paragon’s denizens live in fear–and what other sins are they hiding? Where did the orphaned child who went missing from the hotel, Davy Lee, come from in the first place? And, perhaps most important, why does Blossom Fontaine seem to be at the very center of this tangled web?



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