In All for a Song, Dorothy Lynn Dunbar seems contented with her family, her small community and her fiancé, the young minister who took the place of her late father at the pulpit. She can think of few moments more idyllic than stealing to the meadows with her guitar and lifting her voice to God with the songs she writes.
When she visits her sister in St. Louis, Dorothy Lynn is confronted with a way of life completely fresh to her: a world where moving pictures boast the handsome visage of Rudy Valentino, where greasy spoons serve Chinese food, and where a riveting and riling woman named Aimee Semple McPherson is intent on leading sinners to Jesus.
Tantalized by the words she hears at one of Aimee’s crusades, and enticed by the prospective career she might have spreading the gospel through the pure notes of her songs, Dorothy Lynn decides to leave small-town life behind. But, what seems romantic and adventurous on the surface will reveal a dark undertone, and she comes to realize that sometimes God works as deeply on small scales as He does on grand stages.
All For A Song proves Allison Pittman is not only one of the most talented and literary writers in the CBA but also an author with a tremendous writing range. Never afraid to confront subjects that have a bit of edge, Pittman sets the coming-of-age story of innocent Dorothy Lynn against the Evangelical fervor strummed up by charismatic speaker Aimee Semple McPherson. The result is an engaging and unique experience that reads like a breath of fresh air in a market filled with many similar historically influenced tales.
The 1920’s setting of All For A Song will be familiar for readers who read and enjoyed Pittman’s earlier novel, Lillies in Moonlight. The colorful and saucy world of flappers, of bobbed hair and fast automobiles, of rouged lips and frayed skirts are well-paired here against the excitement of the crusades held to bring those fallen back to the purity of God’s love.
Readers who want to find comfort within the pages of their Christian novels will surely find it here, but not without first being challenged by the effervescent hype Dorothy Lynn experiences. A beautiful story of a prodigal finding her way back to grace and forgiveness is told with Pittman’s customary wit and keen observation. All For a Song exhumes an important figure in our Evangelical past and brings her to life in a way that is thought provoking rather than saccharinely sweet and happy.
If you are looking for an intelligent read that will encourage you to think deeply, feel greatly, and offer more than a few challenges, then All for a Song is the read for you. (Rachel McMillan @rachkmc)