Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sing for Me by Karen Halvorsen Schreck ~ Review

“Sing for Me” is a debut novel set in an era that is rife with corruptness in a time that made falling in love and pursuing your dreams an impossible thing.

I couldn’t help but feel a great deal of empathy for Rose who is burdened to care for her disabled sister, wanting to sing because that is the desire God has laid on her heart and falling for a forbidden love, one her family, especially her father and definitely all of society is not going to accept or tolerate. It was hard to read and know how much Rose wanted to grow above these society expectations and I definitely saw a part of her character deepen and grow throughout the book.          

I, unfortunately, did not fall in love with the story like I really wanted to. I think it was a style element more than anything which is not the fault of anyone and no one’s problem, except for my own personal taste. There were elements that moved slowly and much of the action and elements repetitious, however, that being said, this is primarily a literary novel and while I consume many of these type of novels, this one just didn’t 100% move me. I still encourage readers to give the book a chance for the emotional impact it does have the reader.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

More about the novel...

When a good church girl starts singing in a jazz club and falls for the music—as well as a handsome African American man—she struggles to reconcile her childhood faith with her newfound passions.

Raised in the Danish Baptist Church, Rose Sorensen knows it’s wrong to sing worldly songs. But Rose still yearns for those she hears on the radio—“Cheek to Cheek,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”—and sings them when no one is around. 

One day, Rose’s cousin takes her to Calliope’s, a jazz club, where she dis­covers an exciting world she never knew existed. Here, blacks and whites mingle, brought together by their shared love of music. And though Rose wor­ries it’s wrong—her parents already have a stable husband in mind for her—she can’t stop thinking about the African American pianist of the Chess Men, Theo Chastain. When Rose returns to the jazz club, she is offered the role of singer for the Chess Men. The job would provide money to care for her sister, Sophy, who has cerebral palsy—but at what cost? 

As Rose gets to know Theo, their fledgling relationship faces prejudices she never imagined. And as she struggles to balance the dream world of Calliope’s with her cold, hard reality, she also wrestles with God’s call for her life. Can she be a jazz singer? Or will her faith suffer because of her worldly ways? 

Set in Depression-era Chicago and rich in historical detail, Sing for Me is a beautiful, evocative story about finding real, unflinching love and embracing—at all costs—your calling.


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