Title: Windy City Blues
Author: Renee Rosen
Publish Date: February 28, 2017 (Yesterday!)
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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
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
My Two Cents:
In "Windy City Blues," Renee Rosen takes us back to Chicago albeit in a different era than her other books. It is the middle of the 20th century and Leeba, the daughter of orthodox Jewish immigrants, feels out of place. She's taller than most and coming from an immigrant family, she always feels like she has to work to make herself fit in. When she lucks out in getting a job in a record store, it opens a brand new world of music to her. The blues are coming to Chicago and will change the landscape of American music forever.
Having read some of Rosen's other books, I knew that I would be in good hands with this book and I was. Again, she gives us a great heroine. Leeba finds herself and her place in this world through her involvement with the blues movement. She falls in love with Red, a musician. He is black. She is white. Interracial relationships brought a lot of scrutiny during that time period and much of the book is involved with how they deal with a relationship that is not easily accepted and helps them realize that they need to do something in order to protect both their relationship and relationships like theirs.
Music is often political and has a role in history. This is especially true for the blues. The blues come around at a critical time in American history where the world is rapidly changing. The Civil Rights Movement is beginning to take hold during the events of the book and I loved how the author was able to pull in not only the musical history of the time but able to tie it to some of the big events of the time. This serves to create a really immersive experience for the reader!
This is a good book set in a fascinating time! I really enjoyed it.