September 2013 Indie Next List
“Jaime Ford discovers more rich history in Seattle's International District, this time in the Depression years preceding the WWII era he so beautifully revealed in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Readers will embrace young William and his beautiful mother, forced to surrender him to an orphanage, and nurture hope that they can reunite and overcome poverty, racism, and their family's tragic past.
Ford based Willow Frost's story on extensive research of Asians in the entertainment industry and life in Seattle during the Depression.”
— Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA
From Jamie Ford, the "New York Times" bestselling author of the beloved "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, "comes a much-anticipated second novel. Set against the backdrop of Depression-era Seattle, "Songs of Willow Frost" is a powerful tale of two souls--a boy with dreams for his future and a woman escaping her haunted past--both seeking love, hope, and forgiveness.
Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese American boy, has lived at Seattle's Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother's listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday--or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday--William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.
Determined to find Willow and prove that his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigate the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive but confront the mysteries of William's past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen.
Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, "Songs of Willow Frost" takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford's sweeping novel will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home.
Praise for Jamie Ford's "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet"
"A wartime-era Chinese-Japanese variation on "Romeo and Juliet" . . . The period detail is] so revealing and so well rendered."--"The Seattle Times"
"Mesmerizing and evocative, a tale of conflicted loyalties and timeless devotion."--Sara Gruen, author of "Water for Elephants"
"An impressive, bitter, and sweet debut that explores the age-old conflicts between father and son and the depths and longings of deep-heart love."--Lisa See, author of "Dreams of Joy"
"A moving story of love lost and perhaps once again found."--United Press International
"A tender and satisfying novel . . . This is a beautifully written book that will make you think. And, more important, it will make you feel."--Garth Stein, author of" The Art of Racing in the Rain"
"A satisfying and heart-wrenching tale . . . that transports the reader back in time.""--Deseret Morning News"
About the Author
The son of a Chinese American father, Jamie Ford is the author of the "New York Times" bestselling novel "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, " which won the Asian-Pacific American Award for Literature. Having grown up in Seattle, he now lives in Montana with his wife and children.