Advance reader reviews of Songs of Willow Frost

Songs of Willow Frost

by Jamie Ford

Songs of Willow Frost
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2013
    352 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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There are currently 31 member reviews
for Songs of Willow Frost
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  • Mary Q. (Greeley, CO)


    Songs of Willow Frost
    I reacted to Jamie Ford's second novel exactly the way I did to his first: I LOVED it! Though the stories are very different, I found Songs of Willow Frost to be quite similar to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet in terms of the author's unique voice and my emotional response. I learned a great deal about that time in history (1920s-1930s), and I completely fell in love with the well-defined characters. I'll miss them. I would highly recommend this wonderful book to, really, anyone who loves to read, and definitely to book groups for the wealth of discussion topics throughout the book.
  • Maggie S. (Durango, CO)


    Songs of Willow Frost
    The Songs of Willow Frost is a poignant story about family, tradition, and what we do for love. A young Chinese American woman and her son must cope with the hardships of the Great Depression, both together and apart. The combination of setting and characters creates a world of believable and sympathetic humanity. I very much enjoyed the author's first novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, but this one touched me more. Highly recommended.
  • Lesley M. (Mesa, AZ)


    Songs of Willow Frost
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Songs of Willow Frost. The book is narrated by William Eng, a Chinese American boy in an orphanage in WA. He is on a quest to find his mother and discover why she gave him up. As the story is told, the characters come alive and I felt sad, empathy and hope for William and his mother Willow Frost.
    I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in character development or stories featuring mother/child relationships.
  • Linda J. (Manchester, MO)


    Songs of Willow Frost
    Hard to Put This Book Down!

    William Eng's last memory of his mother was seeing her taken from their apartment after he found her unconscious in the bathtub. He was five years old, and was spirited away to Sacred Heart Orphanage where now, at the age of 12, he has never given up hope of finding her.
    Set in Seattle, WA during the depression years, "Songs of Willow Frost" by Jamie Ford, tells the poignant story of 12-year old William Eng, a Chinese-American boy whose last memory of his mother was when he was five years old and found her semi-conscious in their bathtub. She was taken to the hospital and he was spirited away to Sacred Heart Orphanage where he has never given up hope of finding her again.
    On an outing to a movie theater, Eng believes that moment has occurred when he sees the woman he believes to be his mother singing on the screen. Her name had been Liu Song. Now, she is Willow Frost.
    He sees where she will be performing live and decides to run away from the orphanage and go to her. His friend, Charlotte, a blind girl at the orphanage, wants to go with him, and together, they sneak out and make their way to downtown Seattle, teeming with unrest because of the depression.
    Ford weaves Liu Song's back story into William's present day life with vivid descriptions of Chinatown and Chinese traditions.
    With the first sentence, "William Eng woke to the sound of a snapping leather belt and the shrieking of rusty springs that supported the threadbare mattress of his army surplus bed," he draws readers in and never lets them down.
    The theme of a parent separated from his or her son or daughter could easily become maudlin, but Ford never lets this happen. He strikes the right balance, while never tipping his hand as to how their story ends.
  • Sharon P. (Jacksonville, FL)


    Songs of Willow Frost
    At age 7 William (illegitimate child from rape by his mother's uncle) is taken from his young Chinese mother, who has been badly beaten, and put into "care". Even though he has been told his mother is dead, he has never believed it and holds on to the hope of seeing her again.
    On William's 12th birthday (all the childrens' birthdays are celebrated on the same day each year) the boys are given money for treats and a movie. William sees a beautiful oriental performer named Willow Frost. As he watches her, he suddenly is very, very sure....... Willow Frost is his mother. He vows to find her, not an easy task.
    This is an incredible story, both heartfelt and rending and very heart warming.
  • Rita K. (Bannockburn, IL)


    Thoroughly Enjoyed
    When I saw that Jamie Ford had a book for First Impressions, I knew I had to enter to receive a copy. Since I enjoyed reading The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, I was curious about Songs of Willow Frost. Jamie Ford draws you into the story and the characters become real. Even though Wiliam and Willow had some pretty sad times, you had to hope they would finally find a way to once again become part of each other's life I can't wait for it to be published so both my book clubs will be able to read and discuss it.
  • Dianne S. (Green Valley, AZ)


    Haunting by Old Seattle
    It seems I have been waiting a very long time for Jamie Ford's next novel and it is finally here! I knew that it was going to be tough to follow up the wonder that was his debut novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. In my opinion he has met this challenge with success.

    Songs of Willow Frost is haunting. The story of young Liu Song and William is one I won't soon forget. It proves that the bond between mother and son is indeed unbreakable. The extreme lengths in which Liu Song goes to in order to insure her survival and that of her son is heartbreaking and a true testament to this.

    Jamie has once again brought to life the historical background of Seattle and the Chinatown culture. Again I am transported to an earlier Seattle. I could truly feel the struggle and desperation during this period prior to and during the great depression. There is a mix of old and new traditions colliding. The theaters and actors of this time period are brought to life just as the jazz culture was in "Hotel". The historical background and the changing from theater to movies and of piano and song to radio is deftly captured.

    In addition to Liu Song and William, the other characters, including the inhabits of the Sacred Heart orphanage, really come alive. You feel the true evil of Uncle Leo and the true sorrow and desperation of the orphans. The characters of Sister Briganti's, head of the the orphanage, evolves as the cruelties of life and the times exposed themselves and old thoughts and ways are questioned. I will long remember these characters and this setting. I guess you can say they'll be haunting me.

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