Thursday, July 18, 2019

Review for Crescendo by Allen Cheney and Julie Cantrell

Crescendo: The Story of a Musical Genius Who Forever Changed a Southern Town

Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 16th 2019 by Thomas Nelson

A story of mercy, miracles, and melody—and above all else: love.

During the Great Depression, Fred Allen is born poor and hungry in the shadow of rural Georgia’s infamous cotton mills. By the time Fred is three years old, he can play hymns on the piano without missing a note. In kindergarten, he amazes adults with Chopin. Terrified that Fred’s genius is proof of a curse, his parents lock away the piano.

Cut off from his only source of joy, little Fred sinks into the chasms of neglect, depression, and hunger. Then Eleanor, a woman just released from prison for attempted murder, rents a room in his family’s deteriorating home. Under her fierce eye, Fred is protected, fed, and loved. “You gotta find a way to get out,” Eleanor says. “You were born for so much more than this.”

Fred undertakes an arduous but miraculous journey through the Juilliard School in New York City, Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University, and eventually the professional music scene. With the help of a few miracles, he climbs the ladder of success, marries, becomes a father and a scholar, and establishes an enviable reputation as a Grammy-nominated music producer.

Then in heartbreaking speed, Fred’s past catches up with him, and his family becomes divided. He must choose either to pursue his dreams of fame and success or love.

But miracles aren’t just for those with big-city dreams. In Thomasville, Georgia, amid the wreckage of his history, Fred and his resilient wife, Winnie, reassemble the pieces of their lives and encounter what just might be the greatest miracle yet—not just for them but for the entire town.

 This inspiring story is sure to encourage anyone who has ever hoped their creative abilities might touch the lives of others.

My Thoughts…

I am a music fan so that is the first reason I picked up this book.   The second reason?  Look at this cover with the beautiful background and the wonderful grand piano (which I dream of owning one day).  Seeing the cover had me knowing that I had to read this book.    Once I read the first chapter I knew that I was hooked on an amazing, uplifting, and true story that would leave me thinking about the story of Fred and Winnie Allen long after I would finish the book.   

Fred is born to a family of lower-class citizens, they work hard, drink hard, and see no way out of the life they are living.   Luckily for Fred, there were some people in his life that showed him another way to live.   They lifted him up when he fell, showed him the right path when he was tempted to go a different way, and they showed him the support when he was faltering in his career choices.     There were amazing teachers that gave him the courage to continue making his music.   The friends that did not judge him for his family and welcomed him into their circles without judgment.     Most importantly there was Winnie, his wife.   She loved him, she supported him, she took risks with him, and she let him spread his wings so that he could live the life he dreamed of.  

I was not familiar with Fred Allens’ story before I picked up this book but I now know his story and am thrilled that I do.   I’ve talked about it to my friends and I’ve already recommended this book to others.  

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