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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, Leeba 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.
“An up-tempo song of love, music, and the civil rights movement.”
Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author
“Riveting reading, often heartbreaking, with moments of pure elation.”
Shelley Noble, New York Times bestselling author
“Rosen skillfully weaves fact and fiction into her story of challenges, triumphs, music, and political change. A not-to-be-missed novel that hits all the right notes.”
RT Book Reviews (4½ stars, Top Pick!)
“With her compelling characters living right up front and center during the onset of the civil rights movement, Rosen has them help usher in revolutionary new chapters in both musical and social history.”
“Bursting with the vitality of the new blues scene in Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s.”
Andrew Gross, author of The One Man
“Rosen captures the birth of Chicago blues from its shabby inception to its raucous success…I was engrossed.”
Mary Morris, author of The Jazz Palace