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Posted November 18, 2014
Climb out the bedroom window and down the fire escape with Rose.
Climb out the bedroom window and down the fire escape with Rose. Hop into her cousin's DeSoto and travel across Chicago to a jazz club for some great music, music forbidden to her. Don't lose sight of Rose as her journey becomes ever more dangerous, opposing her father, the church, and an intolerant culture.
The tension of a racially mixed relationship, the inclusion of a character with a disability, the unusual setting of 1930s Chicago, and superb writing all add up to an excellent story with unexpected depth. The author tackles a question many Christians ask - or should ask - "Are God's gifts meant for use only in church?"
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Posted April 29, 2014
Posted April 29, 2014
Karen Halvorsen Schreck's new novel Sing for Me is a gift. It s
Karen Halvorsen Schreck's new novel Sing for Me is a gift. It shows us that dreams beyond a place you can actually imagine are able to come true. It encourages us to hope in a future very different from our present. But far from a utopian dreamland, any dream that takes you far from the present box where you live can be full of danger and pain but amazing rewards. Karen tackles so many challenging issues all in one place - race, disability, faith, culture. There will always be hate in world of anything that is different. Karen skillfully walks us past that hate and shows us that in the end what we all have in common is our humanity - if we are willing to really open our eyes and see it. This is a wonderful novel about realities in 1930's Chicago that are the same realities we share today. Read this novel - you won't be disappointed. I cannot wait for Karen's next novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 11, 2014
Karen Halvorsen Schreck in her new book ¿Sing For Me¿ published
Karen Halvorsen Schreck in her new book “Sing For Me” published by Howard Books takes us into the life of Rose Sorensen.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
From the back cover: 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.
Things really weren’t so different in 1937 Chicago then they are today. People were people, prejudice was prejudice and we tried to keep the races apart. The Bible tells us that God gave us talents from the womb. He is just waiting on us to use those talents for Him. In this case singing. Rose can sing however she is a Baptist and she gets involved in a mixed band called The Chess Men and starts to sing for them at a jazz club. How much worse can it get? Well I am not really going to say, you will have to read this amazing story for yourself. Then you can answer the questions like are you fulfilling your calling if you are using your talents in the world rather than the Church? And then there is that issue of prejudice. Ms. Schreck tackles some hard themes in her book but she also gives us such a terrific story it all works together so well. And, of course, there are the characters. I think Ms. Schreck has done an outstanding job of bringing both Rose and Theo to life. “Sing For Me” is a wonderful, powerful story with amazing characters and depth that will keep you flipping pages.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Howard Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted April 4, 2014
Prepare to be immersed in the semi-Utopian world of Chicago's Br
Prepare to be immersed in the semi-Utopian world of Chicago's Bronzeville jazz clubs. It is 1937 and the Depression has struck the nation and left chaos in its wake. In many respects it has evened the playing field for many but among the older generation there are still taboos that can't be broken.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Rose's cousin Rob has long admired her singing abilities. Up to this point Rose has only sung in church. But she secretly sings worldly songs that seem to stir her soul. One night Rob convinces her to sneak out and come with him to hear some of this music live. She does and against all of her upbringing she's drawn to it.
This is a beautiful heart wrenching story about the pull between two worlds. The choices that Rose has placed before her are gut wrenching. She has to choose between pleasing those she loves the most and what her heart desires. Ultimately she must trust the One who bestowed the gift of song on her to help her make the decisions she faces.
Karen Halvorsen Schreck is a new author to me, but one I'm looking forward to reading again. Her ability with words puts the reader right in the midst of the scene. I felt as if I could hear the music, feel the stick of the floor and smell the scent of the jazz clubs. What a great read for all of your senses!
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Posted March 26, 2014
This is one of those rare novels that feels like it *had* to b
This is one of those rare novels that feels like it *had* to be written. As you read, you know that it probably wasn't easy to write.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
It was most likely birthed with struggle, prayers, and hope. And you also know that is was worth it, because the story is so pure and precious.
The plot of this novel sounds fairly straightforward. Don't be deceived into thinking it's a simple story.
Rose Sorensen, a young woman with songs in her blood, visits a jazz club with her cousin Rob. Rob knew that bringing her to Calliope's would change her world, he just didn't know how much.
Inside the tantalizing atmosphere of music set free, the notes and lyrics touch her soul and make her want to sing even more.
That's when she meets The Chess Men. They are a mixed band, which means that in 1937 Chicago that they can only play certain venues at certain times, ideally with a white woman singer to accompany them. They are all fine men and excellent musicians, and Rose knows and recognizes them almost instantly through the music. Yet how is a Danish Baptist going to sing at a jazz club?
And from there, we have our story.
There's a lot of meaning to consider here, and a lot of wonderful men and women to meet.
Rose's sister Sophy- she intuitively understands far more than her palsied body will let her express.
Theo Chastain- the man who will not wear the chains formed by other's prejudice.
Nils- this young man who is in love with Rose. He and her share a past, their heritage, and many memories.
Rob- the cousin who pushes Rose outside her comfort zone, and helps her find her calling.
And the descriptions... I could feel the apartment shake when the El roared past, I could smell the sharp tang of smoke and liquor in the heat of the club, and I could feel the cold nipping my face as Rose pushed Sophy through Garfield Park.
Like the music that Rose and The Chess Men make, this story soars high, drops low, and stretches far as the plot unfolds, and scenes will linger in your mind like a last note played.
Thank you Howard Books for my review copy!