When the Nightingale Sings

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9780064405249: When the Nightingale Sings

Despite her mean-spirited foster mother's attempts to demean her, fourteen-year-old orphan Marigold finds the song within her heart during the search for a new lead gospel singer for the Rose of Sharon Baptist Church.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 6-8-- In a place known as Sweet Earth, Queen Mother Rhythm (Sister Letty), the lead singer at Rose of Sharon Baptist Church, is searching for someone to succeed her as the choir's leader and soloist. On the other side of the Swamp, a 14-year-old orphan, Marigold, is being treated as a servant by Cousin Ruby. Marigold does all the housework, and serves as voice coach to Ruby's twin daughters, who are unkind, ugly, and cannot sing. The setting, presumably the southern U. S., is unusual and well drawn, and Marigold's "Cinderella" story creates some interest. Unfortunately, in keeping with the fairy-tale convention, much of the plot hinges on coincidence and miracles, and only toward the end of the story does the young woman begin to act on her own behalf. The connections between Marigold, Ruby, and Letty are overexplained in a prologue and through flashback and gossip between two adult choir members. The shifts in time and point of view are confusing. The predictable ending is abrupt and difficult to believe, as none of the characters has enough life to make change--even divinely inspired--believable. Throughout the book, readers are told rather than shown, and plot elements magically appear and disappear without any internal logic. This is unfortunate, as Marigold is a character who deserves center stage. The complicated relationships among the adults will limit the appeal for children, especially as the book begins from Letty's point of view at Marigold's birth. Though the unusual setting and the depiction of African American characters are pluses, the book is unlikely to be a favorite with most readers. --Amy Healey, Chicago Public Library
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Gospel music takes center stage in National Book Award recipient Thomas's spirited African American Cinderella story. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Thomas, Joyce Carol
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