Chicago’s diverse population and rich blues history come together in Renée Rosen’s latest novel, Windy City Blues.
Leeba Groski, an Orthodox Jewish girl, loves music. Working at her childhood friends’ record label, she meets Red Dupree, an African American musician who moved to Chicago from Louisiana. They don’t have much in common — or so they think at first — but as their relationship grows, they find that while their backgrounds are different, their love of music will connect them for life. As an interracial couple, they learn to deal with the times in which they live.
Windy City Blues gives a powerful look into the Civil Rights Movement. It shows how segregation and racial prejudice affected musicians and their labels. While Leeba and Red are imaginary, many of the musicians and characters in the book are real — as is the music. We read about Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and Ella Fitzgerald and their rise to fame, dealing with the pitfalls that come with it. The integration of fact and fiction made the book a smart and intriguing page-turner.
Renée Rosen has written a story that delves into family, friendship, love, sacrifice, and ambition. You can’t help but root for the characters through the rough times they go through, and cheer for them when they are at their best.