- File Size: 2262 KB
- Print Length: 353 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 10, 2013)
- Publication Date: September 10, 2013
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00BVJG24C
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,461 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$17.00|
Save $7.01 (41%)
Random House LLC
Price set by seller.
Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "The Second Home" by Christina Clancy
"A sure-footed ode to the strength of family, the depth of loss, and the power of forgiveness." - J. Ryan Stradal Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
“[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
“One of those rare books that move right into your heart and stay there . . . a delight to read [that is] destined to become a book-club favorite.”—Anne Fortier, author of Juliet
“Characters so full of passion and courage that we cannot help but follow them into the pages of history.”—Jean Kwok, author of Girl in Translation
“Ford weaves another rich tapestry of history and family drama in this cliff-hanging tale. . . . Hope and fate, laughs and tears: Songs of Willow Frost has it all.”—Ivan Doig, author of The Bartender’s Tale
From the Publisher
“A story of determination and resourcefulness, and of finding the right family . . . Jamie Ford’s new novel, Songs of Willow Frost, is set during the 1930s, the era of the Great Depression and the explosive growth of the movie industry. Both play a part in the book’s poignant tale of lost and found love that reads like a heart-on-its-sleeve plot for one of the black-and-white films of the day.”—Tampa Bay Times
“I could not turn away from the haunting story or the stunning historical details that bring Depression-era Seattle to cinematic life. 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 tender, deeply felt novel . . . Songs of Willow Frost ultimately yields redemption, hope and plentiful fodder for book club conversations. Ford’s fans will fall in love all over again. . . . Sure to be another book club hit.”—Shelf Awareness
“Ford is a first-rate novelist whose first book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, was a joy to read. With his new book, he takes a great leap forward and has the uncanny ability to move me to tears.”—Pat Conroy, author of South of Broad
“[A] forthright, affecting second novel . . . a fine-textured study of human loss and, finally, triumph.”—Library Journal
“Handily lives up to the promise of its much-praised predecessor (and Ford’s debut), Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet . . . The urgency of childhood, the heart-wrenching decisions parents must make, and the trials of poverty give this novel a solid emotional footing.”—Publishers Weekly
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book starts out in an orphanage and then through several flashbacks shows the events that lead to the child being placed there. The story is about the injustice and tragedy in the mother’s (Willow’s) life. It is an eye-opening account of the harsh realities that ‘polite society’ places on women–but not on the men that are equally (or more) to blame.
You will want to reach into the pages of this book to make things right again. The author does try to make a happy ending, but it is clear that these characters will continue to suffer after the last page of the book is read.
My fours star rating is due to some facts that the reader already knows being repeated unnecessarily.
Driving in Traffick: The Victim's Story (Margret Malone Book 2)Blaize: A Survivor's Story (Margret Malone)
I also loved the immersion into Pacific Northwest Chinese culture to be found in Songs of Willow Frost. The main protagonist is the "orphaned" (as often happened during the recession pictured in the novel many times orphans had one or more parents that couldn't afford them) son of a Chinese actress/singer who rediscovers the location of his mother threw her work.
We learn some interesting stuff about early movie studios outside Hollywood, early Asian actors such as Sessue Hayakawa (silent movie actor) and a bit about working class Chinese culture in the Pacific Northwest. No surprise there's some painful racism here that results in women going through complicated childbirth being refused at white hospitals, etc.
This view of Pacific Northwest film and chinese history is mostly super sweet and thoughtful. The main orphans' thoughts are many times quite adult-sounding to me in a way that I didn't always think rang true to the emotional heart of the story. And sometimes, the super-sweetness glossed so far over the reality of what was happening (other than the first abusive episode that results in the conception of the orphan) that I think it weakened some of the emotional impact. (What Willow Frost has to endure after she loses her job hawking music scores, the dark hints of what Charlotte the orphan friend endured from her father, etc).
So while I wanted to give this book 5 stars solely because I think its important to read for the historical parts, sweet and sadly dreamy story-- I did at times get a little bored and I attribute that to the glossing over of the really, heavy-hitting devastating parts of this story and the orphan's philosophical/thoughtful view we get of events.
The story itself is sad and heartfelt, without being melodramatic. The characters are well developed and the story is paced well. it alternates between the mid 1920's & mid 1930's, as a mother tries to explain to her young son why she gave him up for adoption. The author does a great job weaving together the time periods. There are also details about Chinese culture that I found very interesting. I am not Chinese, or of any far-Eastern ancestry. The details provided by the author interested me enough to do a bit of Google searching. The historical details about the early movie industry was also fascinating. Take a journey to early 20th century Seattle with this excellent novel!
Since I spent much of my life within a couple of miles of important landmarks in the book, I was excited to see how the author described them. Seattle has long had an important Chinese-American minority, so this aspect intrigued me, too.
I soon found myself wondering if Jamie Ford had made a bold but flawed decision to tell the story from the viewpoint of a young boy and his young mother. Several reactions by the characters (for example, there is no response to an incestuous rape) are inexplicable. The main character seems morbidly passive and depressed as one bad thing after another happen to her. Even if I believed some aspects of her character, I would still find them too boring to build a plot around. There has to be conflict, but there needs to be hope within a plot.
Yes, Chinese-Americans, especially females had it tough in those days. But, it would be nice to have seen some of the lighter side of their life. Maybe telling the story from the would-be Prince Charming’s view would have been more interesting and believable.
The Sacred Heart property which is the orphanage where much of the story takes place (non-stop awful things happen there, too), was bought up by the city in the 1980s for use as a community center. I’ve shopped in boutiques there and taken yoga classes. The old-growth wood in the building and the acres of land surrounding it, have distinctive odors, sounds, and textures. I was hoping Jamie Ford would reveal those details. Instead we got a thin narration of a sad story sliding from bad to worse.
Top international reviews
He is able to switch between his 2 narratives without confusing the reader (I've read books where that has happened).