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 Memphis-born blues singer Flowers (De Mojo Blues, 1986) moves back to hometown Beale Street in the 1920's--when the bluesmen were kings and jazz was still an upstart--for a colorful but erratic romance between two temperamental, headstrong people. Lucas Bodeen and Melvira Dupree are masters of their respective crafts--he as a fireballing blues pianist, she as a powerful conjure woman. The passion between them when they come together in Sweetwater, Arkansas, on the Mississippi delta befits a meeting of titans and proves to be more volatile than they can control. Melvira, restless after hearing the call of her long- vanished mother in a cock's crow, decides to move to Memphis in search of her, taking Bodeen with her. But back in his old stamping grounds, the hard-living, free-spirited Luke reemerges, causing the lovers to have a bitter falling out. When they part, he goes rapidly to ruin even while retaining his silver-tipped touch at the keyboard, but she finally is rewarded in her quest when the Memphis hoodoo king befriends her. Luke hits the road, returning home in time to witness his proud father's end, but in time he comes back through Memphis, forsaking future fame to rejoin Melvira on the final leg of her journey to her mother. Not even a furious Mississippi flood can deter them; and although she's powerless to stop the Baron (Death) from claiming the old woman, the circle that was broken is forged anew, so that Melvira and Bodeen ``lived happily ever after.'' Best in its blues scenes and delta moods, most disappointing in its lack of depth and continuity, with Melvira a shadowy character next to her man. Flawed, then, but not without its shining moments.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-670-84821-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1992