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More Than You Know Kindle Edition

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Length: 382 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A car accident reveals a deep split in the marriage of an African-American couple in Story's lyrical, uneven fiction debut. As the novel begins, brilliant jazz saxophonist L.J. Tillman is a homeless street musician in Manhattan, eking out an existence blowing tunes for passing pedestrians. But Tillman's history is even more sordid—after an argument with his wife about a long-kept family secret, Tillman had an accident in which his car plunged into a river near their Kansas City home. Tillman survives the wreck, but rather than return to Olivia, he takes off—and lets her believe that he has died when the police fail to find his body. Tillman's fortunes improve when he lands a solid gig in Manhattan, and after finally getting an apartment he thinks about calling Olivia, who has had her hands full with a fire that destroyed her beauty shop. Story lays out her convoluted narrative in a series of flashbacks, but it is her vivid descriptions of Tillman's music-making—Story is a professional violinist and the author of a nonfiction work about African-American opera singers (And So I Sing)—and her strong portraits of Tillman and Olivia that give this occasionally strained novel a solid foundation.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A nine-year-old boy, orphaned and living with his drunken uncle, is charged with taking a soon-to-be-orphaned baby to a house in a small Arkansas town on a stormy night. The baby's mother also charges him to keep her secret. Eighteen years later, L. J. meets the now-grown baby, Olivia, and is struck by the resemblance to her mother. Twenty-five years after they are married, the secrets of that stormy night threaten their long and loving marriage. Cast out of his home in Kansas City, L. J. eventually finds himself homeless in New York, playing his saxophone on the streets and pondering his obligations to keep a secret or save his marriage. Story weaves this tale of family ties and secrets back and forth between past and present, using finely drawn characters, jazz settings, and taut emotions to build tension toward reconciliation. Although the characters are black, the book's powerful evocation of love and family should appeal to a wide cross section of readers. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 2510 KB
  • Print Length: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Agate Publishing; First Trade Paper Edition edition (March 1, 2009)
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003FSTAXW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,918 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Loose Leaves Book Review on February 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
More Than You Know is about how keeping secrets can destroy the family. Rosalyn Story writes this tale using a series of flashbacks that conduct a wonderful symphony of music in the detail of her words. As the secrets begin to unravel, the supporting characters in the book shed light on their involvement in the continuation of the betrayal. 

During one of the worst storms of the decade, a nine-year-old boy, L.J. Tillman, drops off a note and a baby, Olivia, to Big Mama's front door. Big Mama, Glodean, Country, Uncle Joon, and Clo T. share in the parenting of Olivia. Big Mama believes God delivered Olivia to them as an answer to years of prayer. Nearly 20 years later, that nine-year-old boy, L.J. Tillman is reintroduced to Olivia. They fall in love and get married. L.J. lives the ideal musicians life until he reveals a deep, dark family secret to Olivia.

She banishes him from the house forever not knowing that her wish may come true. Grief-stricken by his wife's outburst and dismissal from his dream job, L.J. turns to the bottle. Drinking and wallowing in despair, he plunges off an embankment landing in the river. He escapes the car and the city that doesn't want him by jumping a train to New York City.

New York City has little to offer a poor black man with a saxophone. He travels from corner to corner and park bench to homeless shelter playing his horn while living on the streets. One-day Covington, a jazz singer, turns him onto an open club spot. L.J. slowly starts piecing his life back together as this gig allows him to save a few dollars.

As the story unfolds, you learn that keeping secrets can tear a relationship apart and deepen your resolve to stay true to yourself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Samuel on January 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
From Kansas City to New York L.J. Tillman take's us on a personl journey from the streets to the best clubs in Manhattan, Ms. Story love for each charcter come to life on each page, her knowledge of jazz makes you want to go to a night club every night to see L.J. Tillman play.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on September 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When you walk by a street musician, do you drop a dollar in the case if their notes send electricity through your veins? Do you ever wonder what the musician's story is - why they are playing on the corner rather than in a posh nightclub? MORE THAN YOU KNOW by Rosalyn Story delves into the life of a street saxophonist, L.J. Tillman, and clarifies how he arrived at that station in his life.

L.J. came from Kansas City to The Big Apple one night after he revealed a devastating secret to his wife, Olivia, and was then involved in a car accident. L.J. hopped a train and arrived in New York City to find himself living on the streets and playing for spare change. Back in Kansas City, the police ruled L.J. dead, despite the fact that a body never turned up. Olivia still holds on to hope, regardless of what the officials say, but after a year passes and L.J. doesn't show up, she starts to feel like it is time to let go and move on.

MORE THAN YOU KNOW is a slow and deliberate melody - a ballad. While the plot thickens, so do the characterizations. Story's ensemble of secondary characters and her admirable emphasis on her protagonist's character pull this tale together nicely. There were times while reading this book that I wanted to step into the story myself to hear the music, let the characters in on secrets, and just hang out. These characters became so likable and so dear to my heart that I didn't want to turn that last page. MORE THAN YOU KNOW is a spectacular debut by a fabulous new author.

Reviewed by CandaceK

of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rpal on October 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ordered More Than You Know immediately after finishing Wading Home: A Novel of New Orleans. This book was another delight to read. I was so wrapped up in the story that I read all night! Beautiful writing, creating wonderful evocative sounds of music and smells of southern cooking and her emotional understanding of each complex character left me wanting another book NOW. What a gifted author and a pleasure to read and re-read! Can't wait for the next book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Eaves on July 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
More Than You Know is a story about a family's secrets and love with suprising twists. The story will carry you between the past and the present. Very good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joyce W. Spencer on May 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was an excellent read from beginning to end because the author always had a cliffhanger in place that would keep you in suspense as to what would happen next. This is one I want to put on my bookshelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Pretty predictable but that didn't take away from how good of a story it was. Also reads very slow but it complements the plot.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rosalyn Story tells an intriguing tale of family relationships that are connected in the most improbable, but fascinating ways. She effectively infuses the story with the richness of jazz as well as the contrasts of rural living and city living. The books characters are portrayed with the true complexity you would expect from a skilled author. She weaves it all together with a level of detail that makes you feel as if you were there with the characters, witnessing their triumphs and struggles. As a fellow author, I can appreciate the liberty she takes with changing tenses... a little used but effective literary tool that I have used myself but only seen infrequently used by other authors of fiction. This is a work of substance that I would recommend to everyone.
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