This one’s for all you music history buffs!

The bestselling author of “White Collar Girl” and “What the Lady Wants” explores one woman’s journey of self-discovery set against the backdrop of a musical and social revolution.
In the middle of the twentieth century, the music of the Mississippi Delta arrived in Chicago, drawing the attention of entrepreneurs like the Chess brothers. Their label, Chess Records, helped shape that music into the Chicago Blues, the soundtrack for a transformative era in American History.

But, for Leeba Groski, Chess Records was just where she worked…

Leeba doesn’t exactly fit in, but her passion for music and her talented piano playing captures the attention of her neighbor, Leonard Chess, who offers her a job at his new record company. What begins as answering phones and filing becomes much more as Leeba comes into her own as a songwriter and befriends performers like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Chuck Berry, and Etta James. But she also finds love with a black blues guitarist named Red Dupree.

With their relationship unwelcome in segregated Chicago and shunned by Leeba’s Orthodox Jewish family, she and Red soon find themselves in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement and they discover that, in times of struggle, music can bring people together.

There’s a joke about Jews and blacks, and it’s crass and it’s totally not PC and it’s totally wrong for this age we live in, but you know, there’s something there. Not a joke. A synergy that comes from being shunned — although these days, they’re only two groups out of many (and that really sucks).

But this makes me think about that. Because here, you’ve got two people who presumably find a way to love each other despite their huge differences, and despite the crap society’s going to give them. And it’s set against a historic background — The Chess Brothers were real! And I don’t doubt this actually happened, and I don’t doubt that there are people now as there were then who thought it was wrong, and really, what’s so horrible? We’re all humans at the end.

As Jacqueline Carey once so famously wrote, “Love as thou wilt.”

I’m reading this one as soon as I can.


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