The Lonely Hearts Hotel: A Novel by Heather O'NeillThe Lonely Hearts Hotel: A Novel by Heather O'Neillsticker-burst

The Lonely Hearts Hotel: A Novel

byHeather O'Neill

Paperback | October 17, 2017

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Longlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

A Globe and Mail Most Anticipated Book

A NOW Magazine Book You Have to Read

A Toronto Star Book We Can’t Wait to Read

“Heather O’Neill is just getting better and better.” —The Globe and Mail

“It would be hard to overstate here just how the good the writing is in The Lonely Hearts Hotel. For it is stunningly, stunningly good.” —Toronto Star

“By the end I was a gasping, tearful mess.” —Miranda July, author of The First Bad Man and No One Belongs Here More Than You

“O’Neill is an extraordinary writer, and her new novel is exquisite.” —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

Set in Montreal and New York between the wars, a spellbinding story about two orphans whose unusual magnetism and talent allow them to imagine a sensational future, from bestselling, two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Heather O’Neill

The internationally acclaimed author returns with a stunning national bestseller in The Lonely Hearts Hotel. Exquisitely imagined and hypnotically told, it is a love story with the power of legend.

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1914. Before long, their true talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing for the rich, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.

Separated as teenagers, both escape into the city’s underworld, where they must use their uncommon gifts to survive without each other. Ruthless and unforgiving, Montreal in the 1930s is no place for song and dance, depicted by O’Neill as “a voyage across Montreal, from realms of innocence and districts of longing to zones of cruelty” (National Post). When Rose and Pierrot finally reunite they’ll go to extreme lengths to make their childhood dreams come true.


Heather O'Neill is a Canadian novelist, poet, short story writer, screenwriter and journalist. She was born in Montreal, Quebec. O'Neill published her debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, in 2006. The novel was then selected for the 2007 edition of Canada Reads. The book also won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and was sho...
Title:The Lonely Hearts Hotel: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:October 17, 2017Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1443435872

ISBN - 13:9781443435871


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magical I read this book and was completely OBSESSED. Each page was filled with something different. Although, there were some boring parts and the ending was something I WASNT expecting. I don’t know if that makes me love it even more or kind of disappointed. Overall, a great beautifully written book.
Date published: 2018-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lived for it I bought this book on boxing day last and was fully taken aback at how much I loved and felt like I somehow developed with the characters. Read it a couple time after that and still cry at the end.
Date published: 2018-09-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Only Ok I was a bit disappointed by this book - maybe because of the Heather's Pick sticker, I expected a little more. The whole thing felt a little abstract and far-fetched. A lot of the writing seemed unnecessary. Quite sad.
Date published: 2018-08-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from something different! This book was truly very different from any other book I have ever read. I was emotionally involved with the characters. Written beautifully, but it had its moment where I would lose interest in reading.
Date published: 2018-08-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love hate relationship I enjoyed the way the novel was written. I don't find the general idea of it super original, but the storytelling is nonetheless quite good. This book gave me all the feels and definitely left me unsure of whether i loved it or hated it in the end. Worth the read I guess?
Date published: 2018-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Refreshingly different! This was a beautifully written book; twisted, dark, imaginative and honest. Highly recommend!
Date published: 2018-07-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not so sure I was excited to read this, but I felt as though there was a lot of focus on the nonsensical "magic" of it and less on the other crucial aspects of the novel. Perhaps I couldn't understand the characters properly, but I kept questioning why they made the decisions they did. At times it seemed to come out of nowhere to move the plot along. At the end, Rose's love affair with money made sense psychologically, but it also didn't make sense with how she had so far been built up in the story. If she was so transcendent in her thinking, why change that? It was a too sudden of a twist to me. At the same time, I do like the themes in this story. I did like the magical aspect and the writing style. I appreciated the raw truth of assault in religious places. I thought Pierrot's thoughts at the end in how we all remember our true reason for doing certain things. I would recommend if you are interested in reading, but it is not a happy story.
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mixed Feelings By the end of this book I was certain I had never read anything like it. The ending leaves you satisfied, but the rest of the book lacked. Nonetheless, still worth the read if you're interested in a truly unique book.
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not so sure... I didn't love or hate this book. To be honest, it really took me a lot to get into it, however I am happy that I gave it a chance and read to the end. I do not think this would be a good that I would reread.
Date published: 2018-06-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh... I was expecting so much more from this novel. It was likened to The Night Circus which I loved, however this paled in comparison.
Date published: 2018-06-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Undecided but very unique I loved the writing style of this novel. The metaphors in particular I would read over and over again to try and commit them to memory. On the other hand, though, I thought that a lot of the scenes were added for shock value and didn't really add to the plot or characterization. Still, it's very unique so I recommend reading for yourself.
Date published: 2018-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An amazing description of human struggle and success O'Neill keeps the reader interested by both providing amazing details about someone's life as well as shocking us with information that come out of nowhere. A beautiful, yet sad, book about human struggle and success.
Date published: 2018-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written This book was a breath of fresh air with its poetic descriptions and developed characters. One of my most favourite books ever. I would write more but don't want to give too much away.
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful I'm seeing a lot of reviews about how the characters got cheated at the end and I can understand that because when you fall in love with Rose and Pierrot, you want them to be happy at the end. I don't think they were cheated out of a good life but I think O'Neill is demonstrating how blunt life can be, especially in the time period they were in. I actually think both characters stayed true to their personalities. The writing is wonderfully descriptive but straightforward as well, very unique!
Date published: 2018-04-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I don't know how to feel Despite the vibrancy of the time period and the creativity of the scenarios the characters dealt with. The ending was so unsatisfactory and there were moments in which the main characters acted out of established character without rhyme or reason. I liked the beginning and then it just went downhill for me from there.
Date published: 2018-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wow! Was so excited to read this and it definitely did not disappoint! Like others have mentioned, the ending was not completely satisfying, but it made sense for the time period that the novel evoked.
Date published: 2018-04-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Read I have read other works by O'Neill, and although a unique story, I found this one seemed to fall flat towards the end. Initially I was drawn in by the description of both main characters as well as Montreal during this time period, however I found the ending didn't seem to do either justice. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-04-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting.... It's unlike anything I have read before, like a child's dream that get's very, very dark.The initial idea of the book was intriguing to me, and I quickly fell in love with both Rose and Pierrot. The issue for me was the story itself, it kept drawing me in... and letting me down. I've enjoyed other works by O'Neill far more.
Date published: 2018-04-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So so... While beautifully written and vividly descriptive of Montreal during this time period, I had a hard time getting into this novel and appreciating how the story ended for Rose and Pierrot. Perhaps this was the author's intent to demonstrate how one never completely recovers or remains unscarred from parental abandonment, childhood abuse and drug addiction but I felt they were somehow cheated in the end.
Date published: 2018-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ok... wow! This story unfolded beautifully, each character met their fate. I found the story line very compelling. If you are looking for an interesting read, i highly recommend.
Date published: 2018-03-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Honestly, the only reason I finished this book was because I do not give up on novels, ever. I thought the writing was great and detailed but I just could not get into the story itself. Just not my cup of tea.
Date published: 2018-03-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Third Heather O'Neill novel I've read and the overuse of metaphors in her writing is really becoming more and more prominent. I found this novel just okay. It was dark but also had a fairytale aspect to it which, at times, made the story feel rather unrealistic to me. If you are looking to read something from O'Neill, I would recommend her debut over this one.
Date published: 2018-02-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay This was a required reading, and I appreciate it for the light it shines.
Date published: 2018-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good book! I loved the story especially set during the depression. There are parts that were uncomfortable to read however these things did happen during that time! I enjoyed it!
Date published: 2018-01-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for me.. or anyone I really did not enjoy this book..sorryyyyy
Date published: 2018-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magical Loved, loved this book. Some parts were a bit uncomfortable to read, but still a wonderful read. highly, highly recommend.
Date published: 2018-01-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful Book A wonderfully beautiful depiction of the human desire to see wonder in even the most dire of circumstances and the human ability to create joy in the face of despair. A must read for all independent and strong woman who ever felt under valued and overlooked or for any misunderstood gentle and artistic soul who felt pain and happiness more deeply than the rest of us. Fantastic descriptions of Montreal during such an interesting era. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2018-01-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Liked this book The writing style may not be for everyone (myself included) as it was incredibly descriptive to the point your were tempted to skip through. I did like the story and I am glad I read the book but it was more challenging than anticipated.
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good read! an interesting story from an excellent author!!
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Different Thought it was an interesting read, touched on a lot of hardships of life . Love how the children never gave up with everything going on in their life.
Date published: 2018-01-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Read It was an interesting read, it may or maynot be for everyone.
Date published: 2018-01-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Not really what I was expecting but it was still a nice read.
Date published: 2018-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book was wonderful! I absolutely fell in love with Heather O'Neill's writing style. This story was whimsical and beautiful but at the same time very dark. (Some content may be upsetting for people.) Once I opened the book, I could not put it down. O'Neill weaved a gripped story, with captivating main characters, Rose and Pierrot. If you're looking for something at once romantic, quirky, dark and whimsical, this is the book for you.
Date published: 2017-12-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 3/5! Not at all was I was expecting but it was very interesting to read! Wouldn't recommend to anyone that is very conservative
Date published: 2017-12-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not bad It wasn't what I expected, but not bad.
Date published: 2017-12-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from it was ok not my favourite but still okay!
Date published: 2017-12-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful! It was such a descriptive novel, and the writing is poignant and well-written. A great story! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-12-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from okay it was okay...really slow beginning but better as it went on
Date published: 2017-11-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh The story was just.. boring. I couldn't get into this one.
Date published: 2017-11-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I found the writing a bit boastful and dull at the same time.
Date published: 2017-11-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok Such an inspiring and interesting read, simply could not put it down! Great job!
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok Such an inspiring and interesting read, simply could not put it down! Great job!
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Heather O'Neill has an incredible way with words. The reader is immediately immersed into the hearts and minds of the protagonists, not because they are familiar but because they are perfectly brought to life. The humour is clever, creative, dark and sometimes joyful. I've never been so charmed by the seedy underbelly of society.
Date published: 2017-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I thought I would be lost with no idea about what was going on within the story or the characters. Man, I'm happy I was wrong on that account.
Date published: 2017-10-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh Found it hard to get into.
Date published: 2017-10-24

Editorial Reviews

“[These stories are] united by the now-unmistakable O’Neill stamp: compassionately drawn characters from society’s fringes acting out tales of hardship, resilience and sometimes redemption, all told in deceptively simple prose - nobody, but nobody, does simile quite like O’Neill - that at its best attains the level of music.”