Songs of Willow Frost
*I received a free uncorrected galley from netgalley*
For the last five years William Eng, a twelve year old Chinese-American boy has been a residence of the Sacred Heart Orphanage in Seattle. He remembers his mother being carried away from their apartment but can only assume her fate since she never came back for him. Every year the nuns celebrate the orphans’ birthdays’ collectively by telling them news of their families and taking them to see a movie. That is where William sees Willow Frost for the first time and knows in his heart that she is his mother. It’s that day that he decides to do whatever it takes to find Willow Frost and in turn claim the family that he lost.
This novel is told from both William and Willow’s point of view and both are equally heart wrenching as well as heartwarming. One is a story of ambition, loss and sacrifice. The other is also about ambition and loss but also friendship and longing. On top of all that emotion is the harsh truth about racial and sexual equality of that time plus the obligation of tradition.
I have been very lucky so far this year to have read some phenomenal books and have been introduced to wonderful writers. This is absolutely among the greatest novels I have ever read. It’s hard to emphasize what made it great without giving bits away so I will keep it brief. The characters and how their stories intertwined kept me on an emotional reel. Sometimes jumping between perspectives can seem tedious but these flowed flawlessly and seemed to balance seamlessly. The pacing was never off and the pages turned effortlessly. There is something in these pages that everyone can relate to and something that will stick in readers’ minds for a long time. This is a novel I will visit again in the future.
I do believe I am gushing a little. This is a must read!