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Icarus Flies Home

In Debbie Burke’s Icarus Flies Home, Beauregard Sonski-Abbott, or Bo, begins making a jazz album to honor the music of his enslaved great-great uncle, Lymus Abbott. His relative was never emancipated from the plantation in Georgia, but this did not stop him from writing music. Using some lyrics written by Lymus, Bo worked on creating an album to honor his long-lost relative.

As the bass player and de facto leader of his band composed of old school friends, Bo encounters an array of challenges in completing this project. He discovers a Broadway playwright is claiming rights to the music from his great-great uncle. This sets off a legal battle over the copyright of the music between Bo’s family and the playwright who is claiming ownership of Lymus’s lyrics. The problems do not end there; there is an aggressive woman that keeps making romantic advances on Bo that are unwanted. With perseverance and the support of his wife, Margret, Bo pushes forwards to reach for his ambition.

Icarus Flies Home is a touching story of the determination of one man who is trying to do right by his disenfranchised musical lineage, all while facing the mounting odds against him. These obstacles affect his personal and professional lives and his musical life respectively. Facing each obstacle injects a tension that slowly builds throughout the narrative, causing headaches for Bo, and well-managed stress and excitement for the reader. Despite the building suspense of upcoming conflict over many chapters, the build-up fizzles out and never materializes.

Icarus Flies Home is a suspenseful African American historical fiction novel. It perfectly captures the element of hope which grows within Bo and enables him to face the trials he faces on the road to his musical catharsis. Music’s ability to evoke emotions can be a difficult thing to accurately describe in prose, but with music being a huge focus of the text Burke does an excellent job of representing the effect music has on her characters, lending poignancy to many moments of the text.

Pages: 178 | ASIN : B08QQJRWGD

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Promised Land

Taking place during the rise of Harlem before its renaissance, our author Danny Holst takes us on a journey through the lives of characters Robert and Clifford trying to find their footing in the music world. With the addition of songs and politics, we get to see the story of Harlem come to life. You will feel pain, sorrow, and triumph while reading this all-too-real tale. Never underestimate the power of fiction and how it can shed light on real-life issues from the past.

Holst knows how to add a unique flair to his writing abilities and I was in awe of the added music cues that really made this pre-Harlem Renaissance tale come to life. He chooses songs that add historical and topic relevancy to scenes, and he does it flawlessly. Often times when authors tie in unique additions to their story they have a tendency to place them awkwardly and without rhyme or reason. I particularly liked the introduction to Belinda’s new music teacher and the song Holst chose to add along with describing its historical relevancy. It showed why it would mean something to the characters in the book. You never had to sit and wonder why a song was chosen or how it could tie into the lives of our characters. It was straightforward to digest. Holst truly knows how to engage the senses of his reader audibly and visually. His descriptions of the area and scenes made everything vivid and realistic. I could see the actions jumping off the page.

Although this story may be fiction, it sheds light on real-life issues. It’s a great introduction to important topics in history. I highly recommend anyone who wants to dive into the history of how the Harlem Renaissance began to add this to their reading list as a supplementary fun text. You’ll get insights into small tidbits of general African American history as well as a bit of a music history education.

Promised Land by Danny Holst is a masterpiece with its musical-like additives and tantalizing writing style, everyone is sure to get something enjoyable from reading this work of historical fiction. I’ll be waiting on the edge of my seat until our star-studded author gives us another gem to devour.

Pages: 232 | ASIN : B09VPNWGZY

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