Review of All for a Song by Allison Pittman

About the book:

Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has everything she ever wanted: her family, her church, her community, and a budding romance with the young pastor who took over her late father’s pulpit. Time spent in the woods, lifting her heart and voice in worship accompanied by her brother’s old guitar, makes her life complete . . . and yet she longs for something more.

Spending a few days in St. Louis with her sister’s family, Dorothy Lynn discovers a whole new way of life-movies, music, dancing; daring fashions and fancy cars. And a dynamic charismatic evangelist . . . who just happens to be a woman. When Dorothy Lynn is offered a chance to join Aimee Semple McPherson’s crusade team, she finds herself confronted with temptations she never dreamed of. Can Dorothy Lynn embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing herself in the process?


My review:

All for a song was a great story. In short, it was about a young woman who had never left her home town before, and prior to getting married (and stuck there forever) she wanted to see what she was missing. She got a whole lot more than she’d bargained for, but it taught her some important lessons about what truly mattered. Life is full of disappointments and sometimes we make the stupidest decisions. We have to live with the consequences, and there is no getting around them.

This novel explored the historical movement that started the Four Square church and you see snippets of the first real female evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson, and her crusade team. That was pretty interesting and I had mixed feelings about what she represented, especially since she lived in luxury as did her staff, all as the result of donations. But that’s an aside. She also didn’t like anyone stealing the limelight, so in many ways it seemed like a realistic portrayal.

I thought Dorothy Lynne’s struggle with pride  when she was coaxed to go on stage to lead worship was pretty powerful stuff. Roland was a very charismatic man, who in some ways made me think of the devil. Not because he was bad per se, but because of the things he said to her to entice her into becoming famous. This story had a little bit of edge to it, but not enough to upset conservative readers. It showed some of the consequences of her choices, but none of them were hair-raising or scandalous. They were dealing more with pride and vanity.

I liked how the author included alternating snippets from the modern day as Lynn celebrated her 107th birthday in the “rest home” for senior adults. She had a lot to reflect on and it was interesting because you didn’t know until near the end who she ended up with. I liked how that scenario slowly unfolded, providing a satisfying ending to the book. I enjoyed reading this one.

All for a Song was published by Tyndale and released in February 2013.

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