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Soul Cavalcade

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2006

    A Little Bit of Soul

    The heart and soul of this, Robert Dunn¿s third in a series of engaging, literate rock `n¿ roll novels, is its central character, Esmé Hunter. She was introduced as a minor character in Dunn¿s previous fine novel ¿Cutting Time,¿ and even then I longed to know more of this determined young woman. With ¿Soul Cavalcade,¿ Dunn gives her the story she deserves ¿ downright Shakespearian in its twists and turns of gender, comedy, pathos and plot. When we meet Esmé in this book, she is determined to launch a recording career in 1964 Detroit¿s soul scene. Fleur¿de-Lys Records, second only to the Mighty Motown, is where Esmé longs to work, but the label simply isn¿t looking for female artists. However, the Cravattes, the group Fleur-de-Lys hopes will land that elusive #1 record, needs a new member. They need him yesterday, too, as the label is a heartbeat away from launching The Soul Cavalcade, a 20-cities-in-24-days tour of the East and Deep South. Only one thing stands in Esmé¿s way ¿ the Cravettes need a guy. Not to be daunted, Esmé transforms herself into the brother she never had -- Eddie Days. He turns out to be just the ¿man¿ the group was looking for! Before the tour is over, Esmé will end up posing as Eddie¿s cousin, girl singer ¿Essmay,¿ fall for her fellow Cravatte, the songwriting, gambling Robert, romance (as Eddie) the tour vixen, Maisy Columbine, and tumbling for the tempting charms of the tour Lothario, ¿Breeze.¿ This and much more ensues in an engaging and exciting plot that keeps readers guessing and nail biting until the very end. What really brings ¿Soul Cavalcade¿ to life is its time and place in history. America is on the edge of radical racial and social change in 1964. Dunn does a fantastic job of integrating the whimsical aspect of his plot with the more serious issues faced by his touring characters, bringing it all to highly textured life. With his colorful supporting cast, whirlwind storytelling, and encyclopedic knowledge of music, Dunn delivers one mighty read. If you are ready for a roaring romp into the early days of soul, there¿s nothing left to do but get on this bus!

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