Songs of Willow Frost

Songs of Willow Frost

A Novel

Book - 2013 | First Edition
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From Jamie Ford, author of the beloved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, comes a much-anticipated second novel. Set against the backdrop of Depression-era Seattle, Songs of Willow Frost is a powerful tale of two souls--a boy with dreams for his future and a woman escaping her haunted past--both seeking love, hope, and forgiveness.
Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese American boy, has lived at Seattle's Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother's listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday--or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday--William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.
Determined to find Willow and prove that his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigate the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive but confront the mysteries of William's past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen.
Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford's sweeping novel will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home.

Praise for Songs of Willow Frost
"If you liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you're going to love Songs of Willow Frost . . . . tender, powerful, and deeply satisfying." --Lisa Genova
"[A] poignant tale of lost and found love." --Tampa Bay Times
"Arresting . . . [with] the kind of ending readers always hope for, but seldom get." --The Dallas Morning News
"[An] achingly tender story . . . a tale of nuance and emotion." -- The Providence Journal
"Ford crafts [a] beautiful, tender tale of love transcending the sins people perpetrate on one another and shows how the strength of our primal relationships is the best part of our human nature." --Great Falls Tribune
"Remarkable . . . likely to appeal to readers who enjoy the multi-generational novels of Amy Tan." --Bookreporter
"Jamie Ford is a first-rate novelist, and with Songs of Willow Frost he takes a great leap forward and demonstrates the uncanny ability to move me to tears." --Pat Conroy
"With vivid detail, Jamie Ford brings to life Seattle's Chinatown during the Depression and chronicles the high price those desperate times exacted from an orphaned boy and the woman he believes is his mother. Songs of Willow Frost is about innocence and the loss of it, about longing, about the power of remembered love." --Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank
"Ford's boundless compassion for the human spirit, in all its strengths and weaknesses, makes him one of our most unique and compelling storytellers." --Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
"A beautiful novel . . . William's journey is one you'll savor, and then think about long after the book is closed." --Susan Wiggs, author of The Apple Orchard
Publisher: New York :, Ballantine Books,, [2013]
Edition: First Edition
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780345522023
Branch Call Number: FIC FOR
Characteristics: 331 pages : maps ; 25 cm


From the critics

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Jun 06, 2018

very good

CRRL_MegRaymond Feb 07, 2018

One a once-a-year outing to the movies, William swears the beautiful woman on the silver screen is his mother. The other orphans know this can't be true.

Sep 13, 2017

While Ford's first book was all but perfect, I found this one rather disappointing. Several times I almost gave up. Yet there was enough authenticity about the sad story of William and his mother Liu Song to keep me going. I kept wondering if their lives was really that dire, but by the end Ford had convinced me. Liu Song's choices really were very constricted, and she tried very hard to make the best of her life, because her greatest love was for her son, whoever his father was. The large print edition I read had some good readers' group discussion questions, that would, I suspect, spark some interesting conversation. The one about issues of abandonment, so strong in the book, and asking the reader to come up with contemporary examples, especially struck me. So not a bad book, just more depressing than "Bitter and Sweet," with a lot more bitter than sweet in this one.

Aug 16, 2017

a great moving story

Jun 19, 2014

Follows the son of a singer who gave him up to protect him. He and a female friend search for mother in Seattle, but imperils her in the finding.

Mar 29, 2014

So disappointing. Poorly written. Nothing like his first.

Jan 19, 2014

A Chinese boy William is left in a Seattle orphanage in the 1920s. In 1934, when he sees a poster advertising a variety show with a singer named Willow Frost, he believes it?s his mother. That begins his journey to discover who she is and why she left him.

Jamie Ford tells another wonderful story about families; what ties them together and tears them apart. It?s a cruel tale of what society thought morally right for young women bearing children out of wedlock. In the course of this one readers will also be immersed in 1930s Seattle?s Chinese community, Prohibition, the Great Depression and the changing world of the music and movie industry when radios came to people?s homes and movies became ?talkies.?

Dec 07, 2013

This tale is sadly so much like the Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. While the story is moving it is almost formulaically tragic and sentimental. The story lacked an authenticity that his first book had. I read it but found that I could skip ahead without missing much ( never a good sign).

paulette4317 Oct 30, 2013

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet is one of my favorite books. This book is good, but I don't feel he wrote as well as he did with his first novel.

Oct 11, 2013

Loved his last book - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. And loved this book too. Fantastic, writer.

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