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Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERFrom Jamie Ford, 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.Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.  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 Songs of Willow Frost  “If you liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you’re going to love Songs of Willow Frost. . . . tender, powerful, and deeply satisfying.”—Lisa Genova   “[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...
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Street Date:
09/10/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780345522047
ASIN:
B00BVJG24C
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APA Citation (style guide)

Jamie Ford. (2013). Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jamie Ford. 2013. Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jamie Ford, Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jamie Ford. Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2013. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        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.

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Songs of Willow Frost
fullDescription
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From Jamie Ford, 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.
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
 
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 Songs of Willow Frost
 
“If you liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you’re going to love Songs of Willow Frost. . . . tender, powerful, and deeply satisfying.”—Lisa Genova
 
“[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...
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Pat Conroy
      • content:

        "If you liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you're going to love Songs of Willow Frost. . . . tender, powerful, and deeply satisfying."--Lisa Genova "[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."

      • premium: False
      • source: Ivan Doig, author of The Bartender's Tale
      • content: "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."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 14, 2013
        In his sophomore novel, Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet) relies on one of literature's most familiar scenarios: the young orphan embroiled in tragedy. William Eng has occupied a Catholic orphanage in Depression-era Seattle for five years when, in an outstanding coincidence, he learns of his now-famous mother's upcoming local show, and so begins the painful quest to reconnect with the woman who put him up for adoption. From the wicked stepfather's predilections to William's anguished friend Charlotte, the tragedy in this story is largely predictable. It's hard to get a feel for the character of the mother—Liu Song/Willow Frost; the plot hinges repeatedly on her view that she cannot trust honorable people who care for her with the truth. Other characters sound alike—detached and cleanly contemplative. Straining against the heavy-handed symbolism—the gateway-to-salvation rosary, the blind girl ripping off a teddy bear's eyes—and moments of true sentiment sacrificed to convenient/clever phrasing, there are sections that glow. When the sheet music store where Willow first gained notoriety loses its footing as society embraces radio, the story opens up to more natural turns. On whole, Ford's second literary visit to Seattle's Chinatown, though quick-moving and occasionally warmhearted, is little more than a contrived evocation of the darkest element of fairytales and classics. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        May 1, 2013
        William awakens to yet another morning of beatings for bed-wetters at the Sacred Heart orphanage. In 1931, lots of children have been orphaned or left with the sisters because their parents could not care for them. William has little hope, but today is his birthday. More precisely, today is every boy's birthday, since the sisters find it more convenient to celebrate them all on September 28, Pope Leo XII's own birthday. As is custom, each boy is given a sort of present, either a letter from home, kept back for this very occasion, or in William's case, more information about his mother. His last memory is of finding her in the bathtub, her fingertips dripping water onto the floor, the bathwater draining away strangely pink. On this, his 12th birthday, Sister Angelini reveals that doctors refused to treat his mother--because she was Chinese and because she had a shady reputation--so she was taken to a sanitarium. William, confused by the news, joins the other boys on a trip to the theater. Just before the movie begins, a beautiful woman appears on screen, crooning in dulcet tones. William is stunned to realize that this Chinese woman looks exactly like his mother. Soon, William and his best friend, Charlotte (who is blind and determined never to return to her father), concoct a plan to escape the orphanage and find the mysterious singer named Willow Frost. Willow has her own sad tale, replete with sexism, abuse and broken promises. Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, 2009) writes of American life in the 1920s and '30s, bustling with go-getters and burdened with trampled masses. Often muted and simplified, his prose underscores the emotional depression of his main characters; yet that same flatness tethers the tale, inhibiting lyricism. A heartbreaking yet subdued story.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        September 15, 2013
        Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, 2009) tells another dual-thread story in his second novel. William Eng, a 12-year-old resident of the Sacred Heart Orphanage in Depression-era Seattle, has vivid memories of his ah-ma, whom he hasn't seen since he was placed in the sisters' care five years ago. On a rare school trip, William is sure he recognizes his mother in a film advertisement as the ingenue Willow Frost, and he vows to find her to make sense of his abandonment. Willow's backstory then unfolds in dated chapters before William's birth. The newly orphaned, American-born daughter of Chinese immigrants learns quickly that her family's tradition is tragic, both as performers on the stage and as second-class citizens at sea between the culture they've defied by leaving and the one in which they live, rapidly changing yet not fully accepting. As characters, Willow and William are amalgamations who allow for deep discussions of forgotten taboos, and Ford's research, sparing no despairing detail, lends a vivid sense of time and place.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 15, 2013

        Readers who pushed sales of Ford's affecting Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet to 1.3 million copies (and counting) will rejoice in this follow-up. On a birthday outing, William Eng, a Chinese American boy living at Seattle's Sacred Heart Orphanage during the Depression, sees actress Willow Frost onscreen and is convinced that she is his mother. With a 12- to 15-city tour.

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 1, 2013

        In his mega-best-selling debut, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Ford depicted a star-crossed romance during the fateful years of World War II. His new work depicts another star-crossed romance, but the real love here is between mother and son. On a movie outing, William Eng, a Chinese American boy at the repressive Sacred Heart Orphanage in 1930s Seattle, sees the beautiful actress Willow Frost on-screen and is convinced that she is his mother. Later, with close friend Charlotte, he breaks out of the orphanage (in a bookmobile, no less) to hunt for Willow. He finds her quickly (an interesting twist, as one initially expects the novel to focus on William's journey), then hears her plaintive tale of actor parents lost early, an abusive stepfather, and love for a young Chinese man who seems on the verge of rescuing her. Then, as the narrative cuts between William's confused reactions and the remainder of Willow's story, both William and the reader come to realize what Willow has done to protect her son. VERDICT Writing in simple, unaffected language befitting both William and the young Willow, Ford delivers a tale his fans will certainly relish. [See Prepub Alert, 3/18/13.]--Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From Jamie Ford, 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...

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