Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Karen Halvorsen Schreck
Publisher: Howard Books
“You shouldn’t listen to music like that. I hear Mother’s voice, and Dad’s voice, too. Boys sow their wild oats. Girls become tramps,” Rose’s guilt resurfaces in Karen Halvorsen Schreck’s novel, Sing for Me.
At three hundred and thirty-six pages, this paperback targets readers that like Christian romance surrounding bi-racial couples involved in music in the late nineteen-thirties in America. With some slang, topics of racism and physical abuse, the story would be apropos for mature teenagers and adults.
In this tome, twenty-one year old Rose Sorensen lives with her strict Danish parents, her brother, and a sister suffering from cerebral palsy in a Chicago. Barely making ends meet, the family struggles financially during a time where jobs were scarce, prohibition was ending, war was rumored, and bigotry was growing.
Having a beautiful singing voice promoting God’s love, Rose often performs at the Danish Baptist Church where it is insisted that worldly songs from worldly performers are works of the devil.
When Rose’s cousin takes her to Calliope’s, a jazz club in a black community, her eyes are opened to the world of marvelous music that not only touches her soul; she is introduced to a handsome African-American pianist, Theo Chastain.
One night when she sings on stage at the smoky nightclub, Theo’s band offers her a position in their mixed-race musical group. Knowing the pay is more than she could imagine, she must choose between her family and a dear friend who has romantic intentions towards her and her love to sing both spiritual and non-religious songs.
As she sneaks around weaving lies to protect herself from her father’s anger, her mother’s exhaustion, her brother’s admonitions, and her sister’s illness, she becomes challenged to invest more time in a God-given talent while becoming involved in a supposedly forbidden relationship.
Through fear, embarrassment, and being recognized for her actions deemed sinful by family and church, the protagonist must seek God’s direction. Yearning for hope and love, she looks for redemption in an environment of racism, guilt, and piety.
With an ending that leaves plenty of opportunities for another book, the reader is left wondering what happens to Rose and Theo when they trust God with their future musically and romantically.
Thanks to Simon and Schuster for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.