Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Songs of Willow Frost -Jamie Ford - Review AND Giveaway

Jamie Ford's debut novel, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, was a phenomenal success, topping bestseller list everywhere. (It has been translated into 34 languages!) Ford again revisits history in his second novel, Songs of Willow Frost

1934 Seattle - The Sacred Heart Orphanage. William Eng is twelve years old. The orphanage celebrates all of the boy's birthdays on the same day. As a special treat, they are allowed to go to a movie. It is there, on the screen, that William sees a beautiful Chinese singer on screen named Willow Frost. He is sure it is his mother. Determined to see if it is the woman of his limited memories, he and his best friend, a young blind girl named Charlotte, run away and wait outside of the theatre where Willow Frost is scheduled to give a live performance.

Ford explores a fascinating time period in Seattle's history - the fledgling movie industry. I went online many times to follow up with settings, references and incidents mentioned throughout the story. But there is an ugly side to this time period as well - the treatment of minorities, by both Chinese and whites. The Roaring Twenties The Depression are also painted vividly. For although many of us are aware of this time period and the troubles, Ford gives us another look - through a different set of eyes.

The stories of both Willow Frost and William are poignant. Willow's tale, the choices she was made and that were made for her were distressing and heartbreaking. As were William's. The details of his life in the orphanage are unsettling. The love the two share for each other is wonderfully depicted. But, I did feel that the negative influences in the book, such as social worker and Uncle Leo were caricatures rather than characters. They served their purpose of being the 'bad guys', but were very one dimensional.

 Songs of Willow Frost is a wonderful narrative that explores, love, loss, duty, tradition, hope, redemption and more. Book clubs will find much to discuss with this book.  Read an excerpt of Songs of Willow Frost.

Jamie Ford's own description of his writing style says it best...
"My writing career began when I wrote my parent's eulogies. Because of the way my writing career began, I realized that beautiful melancholy will always be my writing partner, and that I will make a living by breaking my own heart on a regular basis." And ours as well.

"Jamie Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the Western name “Ford,” thus confusing countless generations. Ford is an award-winning short-story writer, an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and a survivor of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Having grown up near Seattle’s Chinatown, he now lives in Montana with his wife and children." You can find Jamie Ford on Facebook, on Twitter and on Pinterest.


See what other book bloggers on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here. And thanks to the generosity of Ballantine Books, I have a copy of Songs of Willow Frost to giveaway to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Open to US on.y, no PO boxes please. Ends Nov. 3/13

20 comments:

Linda said...

I loved Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, so am delighted to see that Mr. Ford has written another novel. Songs of Willow Frost sounds great, and is on my wish list. Thanks for the giveaway.
lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I enjoyed The hotel at the corner of bitter and sweet, and Songs of Willow Frost would be memorable and very special. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Charlotte said...

This will be a good book to read.
CABWNANA1@bellsouth.net

petite said...

Thanks for this great giveaway. I was captivated by The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Songs of Willow Frost sounds extraordinary. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Angie said...

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was one of the first books I reviewed on my blog and I was so excited when Jamie Ford left a comment on my post! Can't wait to read this one!

Mary Jo Burke said...

Love the cover!

Carl Scott said...

Thanks for the review and giveaway of Willow Frost. I think this could be one of the best books of this year and I'd really like to win a copy. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

Gina D said...

Love(d) The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet. It's one of my 5 star reads - still remember the characters. Songs of Willow Frost sounds good!
funmail07 at gmail dot com

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

cyn209 said...

i loved, loved, LOVED The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet, so i cannot wait to read Songs of Willow Frost!!!!

thank you for the giveaway!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

bn100 said...

Sounds emotional

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Aboutread said...

Hi, Luanne

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nfmgirl said...

I've had this one on my Wish List. Thanks for the opportunity!

Anonymous said...

Big fan of Jamie Ford so can't wait to read his new one!
bookfriend44@yahoo.com

Kirsten said...

I just read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and really enjoyed it. Really want to read this new one too!
kessna6@yahoo.com

Sveta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sveta said...

I haven't read the first book, although I'm planning on reading it, but I really wish to read this one...s(UNDERSCORE)libenson(AT)yahoo (DOT) com

Maureen said...

It sounds like a great story.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Nancy Vance said...

I love historical fiction! I'd like to give this one a try. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

Anita Yancey said...

It sounds really interesting, and I love the time period and the cover. Thanks for having the giveaway.

ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com