I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Melting The Blues by Tracy Chiles McGhee
Pages: 270 pages
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Winner of the 2016 Fauset Book Award in the Category of First Fiction
Set in Arkansas in 1957, the complexities of identity, yearnings for love and acceptance, and racial tension are all unmasked in the riveting literary drama, Melting the Blues, by debut author Tracy Chiles McGhee. Augustus Lee Rivers, a farmer and bluesman, has two obsessions: his relationship with the Duncan family and his desire to leave small town Chinaberry to become a musician in Chicago. When his plans are prevented by a devastating betrayal, Augustus is driven into the belly of the blues where he must reckon with his past if he is to move forward. This intriguing, multi-layered historical tale beckons readers down a red dirt country road to bear witness to an unforgettable time, place, and people.
Melting the Blues is the perfect title for the wonderful story written by Ms. McGhee in such a way I was transported back in time to 1950’s Arkansas.
We first meet Augustus Lee Rivers who has a lot going on. He is confronted by a man who says his son is owed money from a job that Augustus was only the middleman; he is late for his gig playing the blues in the town of Chinaberry and to top it off, he gets into a fight that leads to him having to play somewhere else. Talking about having the BLUES. Augustus is trying to get to Chicago to become famous, is that going to happen?
Pearl is my favorite character in this story of all the characters you will meet. She was spunky without being overbearing and the glue that keeps it going. The cooking scenes alone have me wanting to stop by and have dinner. Ms. McGhee does a fantastic job of capturing the essence of this person.
And while there are many characters that make this a complete story, the two characters above had me rooting for them with everything they faced. Very compelling read for me. The period is the 50’s, and Ms. McGhee does a great job historically using the period to show what people faced, and at times, it’s not pretty, but it was well written.
Melting the Blues is a read you are going to want in your library as for me I will be reading this one again as it is one of those kinds of stories. It will also make an excellent book club discussion read.
I recommend this book and other works by this author as this won’t be the last time we hear from her, at least we hope not!
Reviewed by: Linda C