Windy City Blues

Renée Rosen

  • Review
By – May 16, 2017

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.

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