Songs of Willow Frost (Export Edition) Paperback – 10 Sep 2013
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Praise for Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: 'Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is very special...It is a superb love story, an emotional weepy with lots of heart, a lovely, lovely book.'Sarah Broadhurst, The Bookseller 'The book has been a big 'word of mouth' seller, and it is easy to see why... A thoroughly enjoyable novel with strong characters and something important to say. Very much recommended.'Historical Novels Review 'Ford deftly pulls off a Hollywood-worthy romance from the files, one anchored to a true event...Ford has a keen eye for the difficulties of youth and the struggles inherent in a cultural hot-pot. This is an entertaining and often illuminating tale that no doubt will be appearing at a cinema near you soon.'The Spectator --The Spectator
About the Author
Jamie Ford is the great-grandson of pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from China to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the Western name "Ford". Jamie grew up in Seattle and now lives in Montana with his wife and children.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is 1934 and Seattle as well as the rest of the country is steeped in the uncertainty of the "great depression". William lives in the Sacred Heart Orphanage with an assortment of other children who, like William, live lives forever altered by time and circumstances. In reality, many of the residents of Sacred Heart are not truly orphans since their parents are still alive and William, after seeing a movie featuring an actress named Willow Frost, is sure that he is one of those with a living parent. With his best friend, a blind girl named Charlotte, he goes in search of the truth.
This is a multi-faceted tale with characters and relationships that are complex and fully developed. It takes the reader down a multitude of avenues as it explores the strength of the human spirit, the quest for love and hope, the limited opportunities of women and minorities (and minority women in particular), and what abandonment and desperation can force a person to do.
If you, like I, found Jamie Ford's first novel HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET a book to savor, you are certain to love THE SONGS OF WILLOW FROST with its cast of fallible but relatable human beings, whose actions are controlled by their circumstances and their culture. It makes the reader realize that in many respects
Overall I found this novel to be an illuminating insight into what life could be like for some in early Chinatown. Even though the setting is portrayed vividly and the main story intriguing, it seemed a little empty at times and I felt somewhat removed from the characters unlike Ford’s earlier work. Ultimately I am glad I read this book but it just didn't live up to my very high expectations.
Thanks to Lovereading for the pre-publication review copy.
It’s 1934, in Seattle, when we meet twelve-year-old William at Sacred Heart Orphanage, run by nuns for orphans or children who have been left there temporarily, some parents do return eventually, others do not. William is American, of Chinese descent. He has a couple of good friends there, Charlotte, and Sunny. It is Charlotte, a blind girl, with whom he shares the closest friendship, and they plot together to leave the home one day; after a previous trip to the city when William saw a movie featuring Willow Frost, he believes she is actually his mother, and determines to find her.
The story takes us back to 1921 and introduces us to Liu Song, a young woman whose mother is very ill and weak, and her mother’s unkind second husband, known as Uncle Leo. Liu Song’s own late father, and her mother, were once actors, loving to perform, and she realises she wants to follow in their footsteps. But there are so many barriers, such cruelty, she suffers sadness and pain in her life. We learn of what she has been through, so that when new happiness seems to be possible, when she meets a kind man, she is scared to believe in it: 'She hesitated to hope and dream, unsure if she could take another loss - even a rejection seemed far beyond her capacity to endure.'
For both William and Liu Song, there are highs and lows as they struggle through their lives.Read more ›
The story moves back to 1924 where the young Liu Song is living with her ailing mother and her cruel stepfather. As tragedy and disaster follow Liu Song around, she has to grow and mature quickly, and eventually she develops into her alter-ego Willow Frost.
Songs of Willow Frost is a story that will engross the reader, it is absolutely compelling, with characterisation that will stun and a sense of place that evokes the sounds, the smells and at times, the despair of Seattle and it's inhabitants during the harsh Depression years.
Jamie Ford has drawn on his own Chinese-American heritage, it is clear that he has done some meticulous research, but his sense of ownership of these characters and their story shines through. His writing allows the reader to live and breathe each character.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
excellent. It was good to read another Jamie Ford after enjoying "the hotel at the corner of bitter and sweet".Published 3 months ago by sheilah bradley
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Very good depiction of the life of a Chinese woman in the 1920s and 1930s.Published 3 months ago by Kathy
I read this book with great anticipation having read Jamie Fords previous novel,' Songs of Willow Frost' and thoroughly enjoyed it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by mrs l l crompton
I loved the first book 'The Hotel on the corner of Bitter and Sweet' which was really brilliant. This second book is worth reading but nowhere near as good, but there again a lot... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Sureya
Refreshing find in these days of chick lit or crime novels.Published 13 months ago by Margaret Sherlock