How Sweet the Sound

Written by Vanessa Miller
Review by Susan McDuffie

The Lord has anointed Shar Gracey with an incredible voice. Shar’s father dreams she will take her gift on the road, but her mother doesn’t hold with such nonsense and thinks it best that Shar remain home in 1930s Black Belt Chicago. Shar’s burgeoning romance with the handsome and kind Reverend Landon Norstrom makes that prospect a pleasant one, but Shar’s mother, ill with tuberculosis, requires expensive medical care. Touring with Tommy Dorsey’s Gospel Choir will let Shar earn much-needed cash.

Shar’s travels bring her face to face with great singers such as Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharp – as well as the prejudice and bigotry rife in the United States of that era. The handsome gambler Nicoli presents Shar with another heartrending choice.

This sweet inspirational romance brings the 1930s black community to life. It is the author’s first historical, and she has definitely done her research. The struggle for equal rights, both in the Deep South and in northern cities, is a moving background against which Shar’s own more personal conflicts play out.