Unconventional but Big, Enduring Love in The Bird Hotel

Joyce Maynard’s The Bird Hotel is a story about love… maybe not in the conventional sense, but of the multitude ways that enduring, complicated and uncompromising love presents itself.

Irene is an American woman with a complicated past: a childhood that could be called unconventional at best and a fairy tale marriage that could be described as unrealistic at worst. After being struck down by life’s cruel turns and an unsuccessful attempt at suicide, she finds herself on the road to nowhere and everywhere. She hitches rides on buses and trains and eventually lands in a tiny Central American village called La Esperanza. A seven year old Spanish-speaking boy, Walter, meets her at the bus and takes her under his wing, leading her to a small hotel called La Llorona. There, the owner Leila, recognizing Irene for the damaged and lost soul she seems to be, begins to gently nourish Irene’s physical, mental and emotional being.

When Leila dies, Irene is stunned to learn that this stunning property has been left to her. 

Through Maynard’s skilled writing, the reader is gifted heartfelt stories of friendship, loyalty, family and community. As Irene embraces this new chapter in her life, she begins to realize that while she did not seek a healing journey, she nevertheless feels the emergence of a serenity and peacefulness she could not heretofore have imagined.

This is a lovely story with characters that you will want to hug and stunning descriptions of La Llorona’s incredible flora and fauna. Maybe not a conventional romance story but a story about big love nonetheless.

Nancy C.
Library Assistant, John M. Harper Branch

Nancy has worked at the John M. Harper Branch as a Library Assistant for over 11 years. Her best days are when she can introduce readers, both young and not-so-young, to new authors/series. She feels like a kid in a candy store at the library, always amazed at the new finds that she discovers. She loves the wide selection of movies/TV series and has done a good number of the amazing puzzles that are in the collection. Nancy sings in a local choir and hits the stage with a theatre production company in New Hamburg. She is an avid reader, gardener, golfer, and newly back to skiing after a 30-year hiatus.