About the Book:
From the bestselling author of What the Wind Knows and From Sand and Ash comes a powerful love story about a musical duo who put everything on the line to be together.
New York, 1960: For Benny Lament, music is his entire life. With his father’s deep ties to the mob, the Bronx piano man has learned that love and family can get you in trouble. So he keeps to himself, writing songs for other musicians, avoiding the spotlight…until the night his father brings him to see Esther Mine sing.
Esther is a petite powerhouse with a gorgeous voice. And when Benny writes a hit song and performs it with her, their collaboration thrusts the duo onto the national stage…and stirs up old issues and new scrutiny that the mob—and Benny—would rather avoid.
It would be easier to walk away. But the music and the woman are too hard for the piano man to resist. Benny’s songs and Esther’s vocals are an explosive combination, a sound that fans can’t get enough of. But though America might love the music they make together, some people aren’t ready for Benny Lament and Esther Mine on—or off—the stage.
“Ugly beautiful. That’s what you are.”
Amy Harmon has written a meticulously researched and absolutely uplifting romance set in a turbulent time in American history.
Cleverly divided into chapters set between a fictional 1969 appearance on The Barry Gray Show (a real-life radio host), this story explores the relationship between Benny Lament and singer Esther Mine. Benny is the son of a mobster and the nephew of a powerful organized crime figure. He has a tormented relationship with his father, who introduces him to the stunning talent of Esther Mine.
Benny is a talented and well-known songwriter who immediately recognizes Esther’s unique and amazing talent. She and her brothers face prejudice and hardship as they try and make it onto the radio, and get their music heard. Benny knows his love for Esther will bring them both heartache but he cannot resist her. He is a man who has never formed a connection with any woman.
“I used the same technique all the time. If you told the truth like it didn’t matter, it hurt less.”
There are real characters interwoven with fictional ones. Barry Gordy, Ray Charles, famous mobsters and real historical figures all make appearances here in a fascinating story about the music business and the difficulties that an interracial couple faced only a few short years ago. The background of crime families and the turbulent 1960’s all make a wonderful historical romance that is exciting, heartfelt and touching. Tragedy and loss are balanced perfectly by the slow-burn romance between Benny and Esther. Highly recommend this one for all historical romance fans.
“It all works together. Like our music. It shouldn’t make sense. But it does.”
(Thank you to the publisher for providing a review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)