Rated of 5
by Nancy M. (Hillsborough, CA)
Songs of Willow Frost
I was thrilled to see Jamie Ford's second novel "Songs of Willow Frost" as a First Impressions book. I absolutely loved his first novel, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" so was apprehensive that "Songs" would not live up to "Hotel.
I was not disappointed! The setting is Seattle again, of which I am familiar, and the time period is the Depression years of 1921 to 1934, of which I am barely familiar, and that only from hearsay.
Mr. Ford, name not withstanding, is the great-grandson of a Chinese mining pioneer and a past resident of Seattle's Chinatown. Thus his portrayal of the Chinese-American experience in that town and that era is authentic, educational, and interesting.
This story of a 3 year old boy placed in an orphanage by a sickly mother is heart-wrenching. We learn of 'Willy' endearing himself to the other orphans and to the Sisters of Sacred Heart Orphanage. We follow him as he yearns for and searches for his mother, whom he suspects is a well-known exotic movie star. We learn of early movie making in Seattle, an important and little-known industry there.
And, because Mr. Ford writes with insight and sensitivity, we almost understand and forgive a mother who had two choices and decided the orphanage was the best and only place for her young son.
Though this book may not be the block-buster that "Hotel' was, it will please a variety of readers and would be a good Book Club choice.