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March 13, 2014 / Leslie

Review and Giveaway: The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith

Frangipani HotelThe Frangipani Hotel
by Violet Kupersmith

Genre: Contemporary Short Stories
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Publish Date: April 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover | 256 pages
Rating: 4½ of 5

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Based on traditional Vietnamese folk tales told to Kupersmith by her grandmother, these fantastical, chilling, and thoroughly contemporary stories are a boldly original exploration of Vietnamese culture, addressing both the immigrant experience and the lives of those who remained behind. Lurking in the background of them all is a larger ghost—that of the Vietnam War, whose legacy continues to haunt us.

My Thoughts:

I enjoy ghostly tales and this collection does not disappoint. Each of the nine stories is quite different and yet similar in theme. All reflect the aftermath, in one way or another, of the Vietnam war. My favorites were the ones involving ghosts, real or imagined, but all had haunting overtones.

A few of the more chilling stories are still lingering in my mind. In Skin and Bones, two American sisters are sent to visit their grandmother to connect with their roots, but something isn’t right about grandma, the food, or even the house. In Little Brother, talk too much and you may not live to regret it, and in Reception, the Frangipani Hotel could be haunted by a beautiful but dangerous guest.

In contrast, Guests does not involve the supernatural but focuses on a young American who accepts a job in immigration at the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. Despite her work filing visas for women with children fathered by Americans during the Vietnam War, she never developed any empathy for the people. At some point she needs to come to terms with why she has chosen this path in her life.

I am not familiar with any of the traditional Vietnamese ghost stories these are based on and found each of these stories to be refreshing and different, in a good way. Often in a short story collection there are a few that don’t fit or work well, but all nine of these stories were absorbing, thought-provoking and captured my attention. The prose was vivid – the sights, sounds and even smells came alive. I am looking forward to reading more from this promising new author.

About the Author

Violet KupersmithViolet Kupersmith was born in rural Pennsylvania in 1989 and grew up outside of Philadelphia. Her father is American and her mother is a former boat refugee from Vietnam. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College she received a yearlong Fulbright Fellowship to teach and research in the Mekong Delta. She is currently at work on her first novel.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of The Frangipani Hotel to giveaway to a reader with a US mailing address. To enter, fill out the form below on or before March 29th. For an extra entry tweet or blog the giveaway and include the link. I will draw a random winner who will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond.

[Giveaway Has Ended]

Winner: Anita

For a list of tour stops click HERE.


Source: Review copy from TLC Book Tours
© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. sagustocox / Mar 13 2014 1:43 pm

    So glad that you enjoyed this one too! I loved it.


  2. irene / Mar 13 2014 2:18 pm

    I’ve been nagging my library to purchase this one, I’ve heard such good things about it. So glad you enjoyed it.


  3. BermudaOnion / Mar 13 2014 6:34 pm

    This sounds wonderful! Thanks for the giveaway!


  4. Suko / Mar 14 2014 10:42 am

    Leslie, I am also on the tour so I just skimmed your review. Glad you enjoyed this!


  5. Heather J. @ TLC / Mar 14 2014 5:38 pm

    I’m happy to see that you enjoyed this collection and that all the stories fit so well together. Thanks for being a part of the tour!



  1. Violet Kupersmith, author of The Frangipani Hotel, on tour March/April 2014 | TLC Book Tours
  2. Mailbox Monday ~ March 17th | Under My Apple Tree
  3. “The Frangipani Hotel” by Violet Kupersmith | Melody & Words
  4. Mailbox Monday ~ March 24th | Under My Apple Tree
  5. Giveaway Winner: The Frangipani Hotel | Under My Apple Tree
  6. Book Spotlight: The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith

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