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Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford

Songs of Willow Frost

So I have a confession to make: I actually read Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford prior to reading All the Light We Cannot See. The reason I hadn’t blogged about it until now is that I wasn’t overwhelmed with love for the book and once I started All the Light I became even less inspired to write about it. I really, really wish I could say that I loved Ford’s second book as much as I loved his first, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet but I can’t. Because that would be a lie.

Songs of Willow Frost is the story of William Eng who, at the age of seven, came to live at an orphanage where he was told that his mother had died. Then, five years later on an outing to the movies, William could swear that the beautiful movie star he sees on the silver screen, Willow Frost, is actually his mother. This prompts William to investigate and search for his mother, along with the help of his best friend, Charlotte.

Here’s the deal. I actually feel guilty for not having overwhelmingly loved Songs of Willow Frost. When I read Ford’s first novel, I actually cried a decent amount. I almost felt a bit heartless for not having that same emotional response to Willow Frost. The emotions are there in the book for the taking, but I just wasn’t feeling them. Maybe there were just too many sad things happening for me to focus on feeling sorry for any one instance.

What I’m not going to say is Songs of Willow Frost is a bad book, because that would be a false statement. I think there’s a good book under the surface, but something about it needs to be fleshed out. The book actually jumps back and forth from William’s search to find his mother, to telling the story of his mother’s early-adulthood and how she comes to be pregnant with William. Part of me thinks that the problem with the story was that it took too long to make the jump to Willow’s story. I actually had no idea it was going to go back and forth with these flashbacks so by the time the first one came about, it almost seemed like an afterthought. This was so interesting to me because I thought that Ford used flashbacks seamlessly in his first book.

Overall, I’m sad to say that I was disappointed with Jamie Ford’s Songs of Willow Frost, but I think that has a lot to do with how much I loved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Anyone else have the same reaction? I’m really curious as to what other people thought of this book. Please let me know!

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