One of the best aspects of being a book reviewer is the exposure to authors with whom I was not previously familiar. Instead of choosing books to read through my normal method - perusing the shelves at Barnes and Noble and admittedly judging by the covers – I’m voluntarily reading pretty much every book that comes my way via publishers seeking feedback.
This weekend I started and finished Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford. It’s set in the early 20th century against the backdrop of the great depression and focuses on a Chinese mother and son that have been torn apart by excruciating circumstances. I absolutely could not put this book down. Ford’s prose is beautiful and evocative. He expertly pulls readers into the story right from the first pages. I identified with this young abandoned son as we came to know him in his orphanage home. I felt his sadness as it was recounted by Ford; my heart welled up with anticipation and hope as his heart pounded with excitement of the same. Buoyed by a startling appearance of of a woman that looks and sounds much like the mother he presumed to be dead, our protagonist, William Eng, teams with his friend Charlotte to escape the orphanage and find Liu Song, who he believes is now entertaining audiences under the name Willow Frost. When he finally stands face to face with Willow, the information she conveys changes his life and outlook forever. In Songs of Willow Frost the question on every human heart – Am I truly loved – is asked and answered to a satisfying conclusion.
This is one of the best reads of 2013 so far. Recommendation: Strong buy.