03 June 2014

Sing For Me by Karen Halvorsen Schreck, Book review


  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books (April 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476705484


When a good church girl starts singing in a jazz club and falls for the music—as well as a handsome African American man—she struggles to reconcile her childhood faith with her newfound passions.

Raised in the Danish Baptist Church, Rose Sorensen knows it’s wrong to sing worldly songs. But Rose still yearns for those she hears on the radio—“Cheek to Cheek,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”—and sings them when no one is around. 

One day, Rose’s cousin takes her to Calliope’s, a jazz club, where she dis­covers an exciting world she never knew existed. Here, blacks and whites mingle, brought together by their shared love of music. And though Rose wor­ries it’s wrong—her parents already have a stable husband in mind for her—she can’t stop thinking about the African American pianist of the Chess Men, Theo Chastain. When Rose returns to the jazz club, she is offered the role of singer for the Chess Men. The job would provide money to care for her sister, Sophy, who has cerebral palsy—but at what cost? 

As Rose gets to know Theo, their fledgling relationship faces prejudices she never imagined. And as she struggles to balance the dream world of Calliope’s with her cold, hard reality, she also wrestles with God’s call for her life. Can she be a jazz singer? Or will her faith suffer because of her worldly ways? 

Set in Depression-era Chicago and rich in historical detail, Sing for Me is a beautiful, evocative story about finding real, unflinching love and embracing—at all costs—your calling.

(Photo source Google)

My thoughts:

I first heard of Karen Halvorsen Schreck through Carla Stewart's blog 'Those Were The Days' and once I read her interview, I knew I wanted to read the book and share it with readers! 

Not surprisingly, Karen displays excellent writing skills in this poignant story of forbidden love in the world of Jazz of 1930's Chicago scene. With a depth of feelings few authors express these days, this storyteller will fascinate readers with her unforgettable cast of characters and their pivoting emotions as the real world gnaws at their brief moments of happiness. 

No doubt such exquisite rendering of biracial love will meet with skepticism, our world being what it is but oh, what emotion, what courage, what a story! Don't miss it!

SING FOR ME is the story of a young Danish immigrant whose love for singing is suddenly challenged by the sultry and provoking music of a 1930's Bronzeville's Jazz club, a place where whites and blacks mix freely to satisfy their passion for this new kind of music and forget their woes. 

Rose Sorensen has never known anything but worship music but her soul recognizes the magnificent sounds she hears in the smoky club. The author's passionate story reveals the hardships the Sorensen's family like so many have suffered since the Great Depression whilst disclosing much less known aspects of the direct results of segregation.

Rich in historical details, this riveting tale of love and hope is reminiscent of one of John Lennon's best hits (HERE)...You will be tapping your foot and humming a few tunes, I guarantee it!

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one.

5 Stars!

Meet the Author:

Karen Halvorsen Schreck is the author of two previous novels, Dream Journal and While He Was Away. She received her doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Her short stories and articles have appeared in Literal LattéOther VoicesImage, as well as other literary journals and magazines, and have received various awards, including a Pushcart Prize, an Illinois State Arts Council Grant, and in 2009, first prize awards for memoir and devotional magazine writing from the Evangelical Press Association. 
She is also a freelance writer and frequent visiting professor of English at Wheaton College, Illinois.

Visit her website (HERE)
Disclaimer: Thanks to Carla Stewart's giveaway I received a signed copy of this book from  the author as part of the book's promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 


  1. I had a feeling you would love this one, Noelle! Reading your review makes me want to read it all over again!

    1. You are a kindred spirit to be sure Carla and thank you!
      I was just thinking of rereading it myself!


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