In this novel, a young boy named Earnest Young is raffled off at the fair. The lucky winner turns out to be the Madame of a local house of ill repute. Prior to being raffled off, Earnest was born in China to a starving Asian mother who sells him with the belief that it will save his life. Earnest never knew his American father. He is loaded onto a boat and transported across the ocean to Seattle where he is unwanted and unloved. The World’s Fair changes his young life in unimaginable ways – some good, some bad.
The novel shifts back and forth between the 1909 fair and another over 50 years later when Earnest is an elderly man.
Even though the story is a sad one, I enjoyed it. The writing is good and the characters vividly memorable. The author did a fine job of weaving a fictional story out of limited historical facts. I admire her creativity.