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Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford

Songs of Willow Frost

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

June 2014 Book of the Month.

A bittersweet tale that fluctuates back and forth between 1921 and 1934. It follows an orphan Chinese boy, William, in Seattle who sees a beautiful Chinese woman, Willow Frost, in a film and is convinced she is his mother. We then backtrack and get Willow, aka Liu Song’s tragic early life before jumping forward to discover William’s escape from the orphanage with a young blind girl and their pursuit of Willow. The whole thing is utterly charming with a fascinating backdrop of the Chinese attempting to blend into American life and wonderful historical detail of the Depression. A very fine book indeed and an excellent follow up to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

If you like Jamie Ford you might also like to read books by Amy Tan, Lisa See and Kate Kerrigan.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Jillian McFrederick - 'An immensely readable book which will pull at the heart strings while providing plenty of material for discussion.' Read full review >
  • Sarah Musk - 'A book about broken dreams but also about fulfilled dreams.  Set in 1920s Seattle it portrays a difficult period in American history through the eyes of a Chinese orphaned boy.' Read full review >
  • Edel Waugh -  'A mesmerizing tale of love and hope.' Read full review >
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'In the genre of Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or War Horse in as much as its appeal is to any age of reader who enjoys a story revealed through the eyes of a child...Really was touched by Songs of Willow Frost.' Read full review >
  • Debbie Wood - 'Compelling book which tells the tale of a boy in an orphanage believing an actress is his mother and his quest in trying to find her.' Read full review >
  • Bethany Dimmock - 'Storytelling at its absolute best – a heartbreaking yet refreshing plot - a must read.' Read full review >
  • Joy Bosworth - 'A fast, entertaining and thoroughly different work - I loved it.'
  • Cathy Small - 'A sad but heartwarming story as we follow the twist and turns for Willow and William.' Read full review >
  • Helen Skinner - 'Despite the overwhelming sadness, I really enjoyed Songs of Willow Frost...overall I thought this was a wonderfully poignant and moving story.' Read full review >
  • Rachel Aygin - 'The story of William's search for his mother is intertwined with the story of Willow's past and gradually secrets are revealed.  This is an enchanting book.' Read full review >
  • Francesca Ashurst - 'This is such a powerful and moving novel, sure to be a huge success and rightly so.' Read full review >
  • Catherine Hogwood - 'A captivating story of friendship, love, abandonment, heartbreak, desperation and hope. Revealing undeserved wrongs that cannot always be put right despite staying hopeful.' Read full review >
  • Sophia Ufton - 'Brilliant book! Couldn't put it down and can't wait for more from this author. The best book I've read in a long time.' Read full review >
  • Lynne Morgan - 'A highly original and captivating story of two people, both with their own dreams, but is it possible for both to come true?' Read full review >
  • Katie Wright - 'After enjoying Jamie Ford’s debut, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, I was eagerly anticipating Songs of Willow Frost, another story set in Seattle.' Read full review >
  • Gill Gray - 'I was eagerly awaiting the next book from this Author. I was not disappointed and it was worth the wait.' Read full review >


Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford

How could a mother forget? How could a mother leave her child behind? William Eng, a Chinese-American boy, has lived at Seattle's Sacred Heart Orphanage for five long years. Ever since his mother's listless body was carried from their Chinatown apartment, William has been wondering what happened to her. So when, during a trip to the movie theatre, William glimpses an actress on the silver screen, he is immediately struck by her features. Because Willow Frost is many things - a singer, a dancer, a movie star - but most of all, William is convinced, she is his mother. Determined to find her, William attempts to confront the mysteries of his past and his connection to the exotic film star. But the story of Willow Frost is far more complicated than any Hollywood fantasy ...


'Mesmerising and evocative'
Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants

'Very special'
The Bookseller

'Entertaining and often illuminating'
The Spectator

'Poignant, deeply moving'
We Love This Book

'Awesomely good!'
Books Monthly

'Recommended for all fiction collections'
Library Journal

About the Author

Jamie Ford

Jamie Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated in 1865 from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco, where he adopted the Western name, “Ford.” Ford studied as an illustrator and found professional success as an art director and copywriter before turning his attention to fiction. An award-winning short story writer, his debut novel was inspired by the “I Am Chinese” button his father mentioned wearing as a child after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Ford wrote a short story about the button, which later became a chapter in the book. Now a New York Times bestseller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet has been awarded the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and translated into thirty languages. Ford grew up near Seattle’s Chinatown, but now lives in Montana with his wife and children.

Author photo © Laurence Kim

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Book Info

Publication date

19th June 2014


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Historical Fiction
Books of the Month
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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