Songs of Willow Frost

  • by Jamie Ford
  • Narrated by Ryan Gesell
  • 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From Jamie Ford, the New York Times best-selling 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 listeners 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.

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What the Critics Say

"Ford is a first-rate novelist whose best-selling 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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Chinese Way in the U S of A

This second book from Jamie Ford, who also wrote "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet", is set in Seattle, as his first book is. It is a beautiful, yet sad story that takes place beginning in the early 1920's. I love historical fiction. It never ceases to amaze me that in a nation (America) where we have prided ourselves on freedom, that there was really little "freedom" for some folks . . . even those born on American soil. Less than a century ago, our government turned it's back and turned a blind eye to the welfare of children just because they happened to be (in this case) Chinese. And the abuse of the Chinese men of their own wives and children and their expectation that a woman should accept this abuse without complaint, just turns my stomach. Yet, rarely we saw a man, a husband and father of true character . . . one that inspires his family, long after his death. And a woman, who is allowed to dream and grow, while remaining Chinese. What women of that era were forced to do for love, well, it just blows my mind . . . and women from a foreign culture were bound by an iron clad tradition . . . their marriages were arranged by their parents. More than anything, this is a human story of a very young Chinese girl, who lost both parents, endured horrible abuse by her step-father, and then bore the shame that he caused. Still she fought for her child, gave up every shred of humility, and ultimately did what she had to do in order to protect him from the horror that she had to endure as a child.
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- Debbie

Fantastic Read!

Would you consider the audio edition of Songs of Willow Frost to be better than the print version?

I'm blind. What do I know about the print version?


What was one of the most memorable moments of Songs of Willow Frost?

When William buried the paper and photo.


Have you listened to any of Ryan Gesell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Always good.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Beautiful and sensitive.


Any additional comments?

Jamie Ford is one of the finest authors I've run across in a long time. I thought "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" was a masterpiece, but this is even better.

By the way, I think your questions are dumb.

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- Martha Riley

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-10-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio