Blurb Via Amazon.com

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From the bestselling author of What the Wind Knows and From Sand and Ash comes a powerful love story about a musical duo who put everything on the line to be together.

New York, 1960: For Benny Lament, music is his entire life. With his father’s deep ties to the mob, the Bronx piano man has learned that love and family can get you in trouble. So he keeps to himself, writing songs for other musicians, avoiding the spotlight…until the night his father brings him to see Esther Mine sing.

Esther is a petite powerhouse with a gorgeous voice. And when Benny writes a hit song and performs it with her, their collaboration thrusts the duo onto the national stage…and stirs up old issues and new scrutiny that the mob—and Benny—would rather avoid.

It would be easier to walk away. But the music and the woman are too hard for the piano man to resist. Benny’s songs and Esther’s vocals are an explosive combination, a sound that fans can’t get enough of. But though America might love the music they make together, some people aren’t ready for Benny Lament and Esther Mine on—or off—the stage.

Biography

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Her books have been published in eighteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Utah.
Amy Harmon has written thirteen novels, including the USA Today Bestsellers, The Smallest Part, Making Faces, and Running Barefoot, and the #1 Amazon bestselling historical, From Sand and Ash. Her novel, A Different Blue, is a New York Times Bestseller. Her USA Today bestselling fantasy, The Bird and the Sword, was a Goodreads Best Book of 2016 finalist. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at http://www.authoramyharmon.com.

My Review

If there is one book that I could recommend you buy, it’s The Songbook of Benny Lament.

This story is set in the early sixties, a time when America was in the throes of growing pains. The vietnam War was front and center. Mafia gangs ruled the big cities, and Black segregation was all too real.

Told from the unique perspective of a radio interview, we learn about the talented songwriter Benny Lament, who just happens to have close family ties with one of the biggest crime syndicates in New York. Benny doesn’t want anything to do with his famous uncle’s business, his only interest is music. But with a father as a mob enforcer, it’s almost impossible to keep himself separated from the danger lurking.

Esther Mine has worked hard for everything she’s got— which isn’t much. When she sees Benny Lament sitting in the crowd at one of her music performances, Esther sees a way out of the trenches.

Benny is immediately smitten with the diminutive Esther and her powerful voice, but when she approaches him to become the band’s manager, he balks knowing instinctively she’ll change his life.

Esther doesn’t give up easily, and soon has Benny creating songs that are catchy and draw attention to the diversified group. Fans are flamed when unexpected facts come to light and Benny is forced into an alliance he doesn’t want in order to protect the woman he loves.

In a matter of hours, my whole life had been folded and pulled, stretched and twisted like taffy on Coney Island. Singing on Barry Gray, dancing with Esther, dying with Pop.

The Songbook of Benny Lament- Amy Harmon

Racism is ugly and back in the early 60’s it was the norm. Amy Harmon sheds an insightful look into discrimination and how it affects those involved- on both sides of the equation.

“Because sometimes I forget too.”

“Forget what?”

“I forget . . . that you’re white.”

“Is that something you need to forget?” I asked.

“It’s something I want to forget.”

Of all the things she’d ever said, of all the thorny words and glances we’d shared. Of all the heat and the tumult we’d experienced in the time we’d spent together, those words bothered me the most. They echoed a history I could not change and a reality I could not fix.

The Songbook of Benny Lament- Amy Harmon

Along the way we learn about the roots of Motown and the many famous groups signed under that label.

This is a story I won’t soon forget. The Songbook of Benny Lament is definitely on my all-time best reads list!

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23 thoughts

  1. You definitely have me intrigued with that awesome review, Jacquie. The time period calls to me, too. I’m headed to Amazon to check this out in more detail. Thanks for the nudge. It sounds like this one really made an impression on you. The best kind of book!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful review Jacquie. I have this one on my TBR and am really looking forward to getting to it now. I love that video as well. I have an earworm now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This book sounds like it needs to be a movie! What a great storyline and a time period I love. Thank you for sharing your glowing review, Jacquie! I will have to grab this one!

    Liked by 2 people

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