Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel
Title: Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel
Author: Jamie Ford
“Fans of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet have been eagerly anticipating Ford’s new book. Set in 1920s Seattle, this is the moving story of a young Chinese-American woman who becomes pregnant by her stepfather. With her stunning good looks and lovely voice, Liu supports herself through singing, but difficult circumstances force her to give up her son William for adoption. Flash forward several years: William spots a movie ad featuring the glamorous actress, Willow Frost. Convinced that Willow is his ah-ma, he escapes the orphanage, determined to find her. A memorable journey, and one well worth taking.”
—Anne Lee, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
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.
Advance praise for Songs of Willow Frost
“Ford is a first-rate novelist whose bestselling debut, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, was a joy to read. With his new book, he takes a great leap forward and demonstrates the uncanny ability to move me to tears.”—Pat Conroy, author of South of Broad
“This is a tender, powerful, and deeply satisfying story about the universal quest for love, forgiveness, belonging, and family. If you liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you’re going to love Songs of Willow Frost.”—Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice
“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 beautiful novel . . . William’s journey is one you’ll savor, and then think about long after the book is closed. I loved it.”—Susan Wiggs, author of The Apple Orchard
“One of those rare books that move right into your heart and stay there. Ford’s new—and long-awaited—book is a delight to read, and is destined to become a book-club favorite.”—Anne Fortier, author of Juliet
“Ford has done it again, creating 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 of an abandoned boy and the Chinese American singer he is convinced is his missing mother. Hope and fate, laughs and tears: Songs of Willow Frost has it all.”—Ivan Doig, author of The Bartender’s Tale