Tag Archives: Seattle

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford

ImageI read & absolutely loved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet so was quite excited when I saw that Jamie Ford had a new book coming out. At Christmas I added it onto my wishlist & hoped that it would be one of the books my OH would choose to buy for me. He did & I was so excited when I opened it on Christmas day & knew that of the 7 books that I had received, this would be the first that I would read.

Songs of Willow Frost is the story of William Eng, a Chinese-American orphan living in a Seattle orphanage in the 1930’s, during the depression. The sisters in charge of the orphanage take all of the boys to the cinema for their collective birthday celebrations, where William believes that the advertisements for an upcoming show features his mother, whom he had always assumed is dead.

William becomes obsessed with the idea that his ah ma is still alive, that she is Willow Frost. He decides that he must see her, to find out why, if she is still alive has she not come to the orphanage to claim him? William sets out to find the answers from Willow who is currently in Seattle on tour, with is best friend, Charlotte. If William does find his mother, is he ready to hear what her answers to his questions are?

Songs of Willow Frost, I am sad to say did not captivate my like Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet. I couldn’t put down Hotel, and I struggled to make myself continue to read Songs. It just didn’t grab me didn’t make me fall in love with the characters & basically didn’t make me care. I wanted so much to love this story, but instead I found myself bored and skipping ahead, skimming the book to see if it was going to get better. It didn’t. At least not for me. I found a lot of the story unbelievable, but they were things that I can’t really get into without giving away too much of the story. Basically, I guess it just boils down to Songs of Willow Frost just not working for me.

3 Stars


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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie FordI would like to start out by saying thank you to Lucybird’s book blog for reviewing this gem, because if I hadn’t seen it there, I am not sure I would have ever found this book!

Synopsis (from amazon)

‘You just gave me hope, Henry. And sometimes hope is enough to get you through anything’


1986, The Panama Hotel
 The old Seattle landmark has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made a startling discovery in the basement: personal belongings stored away by Japanese families sent to interment camps during the Second World War. Among the fascinated crowd gathering outside the hotel, stands Henry Lee, and, as the owner unfurls a distinctive parasol, he is flooded by memories of his childhood. He wonders if by some miracle, in amongst the boxes of dusty treasures, lies a link to the Okabe family, and the girl he lost his young heart to, so many years ago.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is about the best book I have read in so long! Each morning I couldn’t wait to get onto the bus so that I could re-connect with Henry, but all too soon I would arrive at work – much to my disgust! The ride home was just as just as great and passed just as quickly. So much so, that on 3 separate occasions I missed my bus stop because I was so engrossed in the book! I absolutely loved Henry!

Admittedly I didn’t know a lot about the Japanese side of the war, the internment, the way they were treated, the impact that it had on communities across the USA. I learned a lot reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet & I think that Ford’s use of a Chinese boy, an outcast, was the perfect choice of character to tell this story.

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by | February 3, 2013 · 9:57 pm