Lifelong blues: The Supremes Sing The Happy Heartache Blues by Edward Kelsey Moore
The Supremes Sing The Happy Heartache Blues is an uplifting and musical novel about a community in Plainview, Indiana, and how the arrival of an old blues singer to perform at an unexpected wedding sets off a range of consequences for those in the area. The Supremes are a group of old friends, Clarice, Barbara Jean, and Odette, who have lived in Plainview all their lives and are still dealing with issues in the past and present when aging blues guitarist El Walker ends up staying in town longer than expected. The novel follows the varied cast of characters as they deal with old bitterness, new opportunity, and local fiery spirited individuals.
The combination of personal drama in the lives of the three women and the turbulent past of Walker makes for a narrative with plenty of excitement and a few twists and turns. The characters are vibrant and individually drawn, with the three friends in particular given interesting personalities that are separate from their various husbands, children, and grandchildren. The novel is a follow-up to Moore’s previous book The Supremes At Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, but there is no requirement to have read that one to enjoy his new work, a book which celebrates the varied lives of three older women, one even older blues guitarist, and a wealth of supporting characters. Despite the large cast, it isn’t difficult to quickly get acquainted with who is who, and Moore moves between first and third person narration without confusion, leading the reader into the centre of events.
The novel is ideal for readers who enjoy vivid characters learning to deal with their lives in the past and present, with a background of music and small town gossip and past scandal. It is a light and enjoyable read, with a happy tone and characters who aren’t afraid to be themselves.