The Washington Post
More Than You Knowby Rosalyn Story
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A sweeping love story about how long-buried family secrets devastate the marriage of a brilliant musician and his wife. Homeless L.J. Tillman is a jazz saxophonist whose life has been torn apart. When the painful secret that L.J. had kept all his life had finally been revealed, it shattered his marriage to Olivia, a promising singer who works as a beautician. More Than You Know is the elegantly crafted story of how this troubled couple rescues their marriage: shaken to the core, they discover that truth conforms to its own rules, and that love can endure even the most profound injuries. Rosalyn Story, herself a successful musician, has created a lyrical, emotionally consuming page-turner that delves deeply into the mysteries of love, family, and marriage.
The Washington Post
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More Than You Know is about how keeping secrets can destroy the family. Rosalyn Story writes this tale using a series of flashbacks that conduct a wonderful symphony of music in the detail of her words. As the secrets begin to unravel, the supporting characters in the book shed light on their involvement in the continuation of the betrayal. During one of the worst storms of the decade, a nine-year-old boy, L.J. Tillman, drops off a note and a baby, Olivia, to Big Mama's front door. Big Mama, Glodean, Country, Uncle Joon, and Clo T. share in the parenting of Olivia. Big Mama believes God delivered Olivia to them as an answer to years of prayer. Nearly 20 years later, that nine-year-old boy, L.J. Tillman is reintroduced to Olivia. They fall in love and get married. L.J. lives the ideal musicians life until he reveals a deep, dark family secret to Olivia. She banishes him from the house forever not knowing that her wish may come true. Grief-stricken by his wife's outburst and dismissal from his dream job, L.J. turns to the bottle. Drinking and wallowing in despair, he plunges off an embankment landing in the river. He escapes the car and the city that doesn't want him by jumping a train to New York City. New York City has little to offer a poor black man with a saxophone. He travels from corner to corner and park bench to homeless shelter playing his horn while living on the streets. One-day Covington, a jazz singer, turns him onto an open club spot. L.J. slowly starts piecing his life back together as this gig allows him to save a few dollars. As the story unfolds, you learn that keeping secrets can tear a relationship apart and deepen your resolve to stay true to yourself. As Olivia learns bits and pieces of the truth, her heart opens and she realizes her purpose in life. But will her purpose and L.J.'s dream meet again? Every family has at least one dark secret, but it is how you live with that knowledge which makes the difference. The development of characters, along with the use of flashbacks, will keep you turning the pages of this novel. The outcome was unexpected, yet heartwarming. Story has a gift for writing that is refreshing. It reminds me of the writings of Maya Angelou and Sonia Sanchez. Finally a saga about family that is not street or gang-related but focuses on down home folks. I'm waiting on the edge of my seat for her next book. Reviewed by Monique for Loose Leaves Book Review
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A little jumpy when revisiting the past/present. But good read.