I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.Five Night Stand by Richard Alley
Published by Lake Union
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Source: TLC Book Tours
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“Legendary jazz pianist Oliver Pleasant finds himself alone at the end of his career, playing his last five shows, hoping the music will draw his estranged family back…
Frank Severs, a middle-aged, out-of-work journalist, is at a crossroads as his longtime dreams and marriage grind to a standstill…
And piano prodigy Agnes Cassady is desperately grasping for fulfillment before a debilitating disease wrenches control from her trembling fingers…
When Frank and Agnes come to New York to witness Oliver’s final five-night stand, the timeless force of Oliver’s music pulls the trio together. Over the course of five nights, the three reflect on their triumphs and their sorrows: families forsaken, ideals left along the wayside, secrets kept. Their shared search for meaning and direction in a fractured world creates an unexpected kinship that just might help them make sense of the past, find peace in the present, and muster the courage to face the future.”
Five Night Stand took me on a journey back to my childhood. I loved sitting at the piano and getting lost in the music. My doggies at my feet as I played, I recorded my music on a cassette tape as I dreamed of being a concert pianist. My fierce stage fright and introverted tendencies killed my concert pianist dreams and since the Rheumatoid Arthritis has taken away my ability to play piano. The piano in our home a constant reminder of what I loved and lost.
Richard Alley beautifully captures the emotion of the pianists as they pour their heart and soul into the pieces they hope brings a joie de vivre to their audience and helps them cope with their greatest struggles. Each character we meet in Five Night Stand has been touched by the contagious music of 85 year old jazz pianist Oliver Pleasant. Oliver recounts his story about being a black musician in the South during the Civil Rights movement, how his career impacted his marriage and the children he never saw. A career filled with excitement, money, music and regrets all comes to a close with Oliver’s final Five Night Stand.
The other characters in the story are all there to see Oliver’s final hurrah, though he knows none of them personally. Young pianist Agnes struggles with an undiagnosed disorder that causes her hands to tremble which could steal her dreams from under her. I most related to Agnes, not understanding what is happening to her body when other twenty-somethings are living their carefree, healthy lives but knowing whatever this disease is, it is eating away at her soul. It’s wonderful and heartbreaking to learn each character’s story and how their lives have been impacted by Oliver and his music.
Five Night Stand is a dramatic story filled with the passion, joy and heartache of music and one that spoke to my heart. Richard Alley’s writing is lyrical, the way he writes about music elegant. He made me feel about music the way my favorite book, Shadow of the Wind, made me feel about books: enamored and yearning for more great stories like it.
USA – Winona, Mississippi; New Orleans, Louisiana, Memphis, Tennessee and Harlem, New York