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Have you ever watched a cherry blossom float from the tree and drift to the sidewalk? The blossom might play with the air on a waltzing descending glide to the end game of life, crushed by a passing pedestrian or build the soil for a future.  This is the only way I can reasonably describe the storytelling style of Jamie Ford in SONGS OF WILLOW FROST.

Tradition and grace just stoke each page and the tension propels the reader to understand the historic context and the cultural changes being revealed; the depths of human spirit unmasked.  Ford takes us back to Seattle and the Chinese community he first shared with us in the WWII novel HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET .  The reader is seeing the world in 1934 through a young Chinese boy’s eyes on the day in which all the Orphan boys are allowed to celebrate their birthday by going to a movie.  William is twelve years old on this day and allowed to ask about his mother before going on the field trip.  He doubts what the nuns are telling him.

The second story of SONGS OF WILLOW FROST is the truth about Liu Song and how she became William’s mother.  Her story begins in 1921, after the death of her father and brothers in the Influenza outbreak.  Her parents and family had been the primary players in the Chinese Opera House in Seattle and they had built a fine company and reputation.  Liu Song’s Mother was beautiful and an amazing singer, her talent for singing was passed on to her daughter, who made a living by singing the songs at a music store which sold the sheet music of the popular tunes of the period.

Although this is a work of fiction, it supplies the details of how individuals reacted and survived the events of history that created their context.  In this telling, it was the music that kept the heart beating and the emotion in control; the love possible.  It was the movies and the traveling shows which allowed the heart to escape and the mind to envision a future and of course provide the possibility of hope.

Elegant story telling.  Magnificent word smithery. One is left to wonder page by page whether or not the petal is crushed or whether it nourishes.  Ford’s writing does not disappoint in SONGS OF WILLOW FROST.


tlc logoThis book was sent to me by TLC Online Book tours and Ballantine Books for review. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to read this book.  Thank you.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s I will receive a few  blossoms in my bouquet.  Thank you!  Donations also welcomed.

Related Reading
Hotel On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet
In The Land Of The Living
A Dual Inheritance
The Gods Of Heavenly Punishment
In The Garden Of Stones

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8 Responses to “SONGS OF WILLOW FROST ~Jamie Ford”

  1. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    “…The reader is seeing the world in 1934 through a young Chinese boy’s eyes…”

    That sentence is the one that pulls me in hook, line, and sinker! And 1934 is the year my dad was born so there’s a double draw. Thank you for pointing to this book, Patricia. I always appreciate your reviews.

    Patricia Reply:

    It is a beautiful read – redemption and love guided
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet has been made into a play that my book group attended.

  2. Talon Says:

    Sounds like a beautiful read, Patricia. Hope you and Zip are having a good week so far!
    Talon recently posted..The SoothsayerMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Zip did one of his get out the front door at my daughter’s house and ran all the way down the hill – in absolute joy – on to the 4 lane highway at the bottom with a huge freight train coming down the other side….he was just running around the cars and having a great run. It was extremely scary – extremely. He is home now and under strict boundary controls.

    It is a beautiful read and we are once again having wind, downpours, thunder and lightening to sunshine breaks again. 3″ of rain in one day. Very strange weather but great for reading.

    I am certain that both of my books groups will enjoy this book
    Patricia recently posted..SONGS OF WILLOW FROST ~Jamie FordMy Profile

  3. Sara Says:


    Wow. This was beautiful writing: “Have you ever watched a cherry blossom float from the tree and drift to the sidewalk? The blossom might play with the air on a waltzing descending glide to the end game of life, crushed by a passing pedestrian or build the soil for a future.”

    I loved how you began this book review with that theme and then closed with it as well.

    Regarding the book. It sounds wonderful. My eldest daughter would love this book as she loves books about history. Fortunately, she has a birthday coming up!
    Sara recently posted..Beach Trash: Who is This Creature!My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I very much like Ford’s style of writing and learning the history behind the events. I like the cultural in-corporations as well because I do not know those events. His characters make the history so vivid.

    I shared several of the thinking quotes of the young boy in the book and was surprised that a writer in my book group commented that the dialogue seemed too old for an eleven year old. So I went back and feel better because the child was just going over and over what adults had told him recently and then assumed that a child was responsible to “mend” himself. I thought it was very reasonable thinking – although the adult words were older language.

    My daughters think novels like this are a wonderful way to learn history.

    Thank you for you kind words. I just knew what I was going to say about this book right away
    Good wishes to you

  4. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    Ooh, the writing in this book sounds absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to read it myself!

    Thanks for being on the tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

    Patricia Reply:

    Heather J
    Thanks for the shout out
    I enjoyed reading this book very much. I hope it does well