Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Connected across nearly one hundred years through one family’s complex history and Chicago’s Black Metropolis, WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES weaves the stories of a modern-day film student and an ambitious 1920’s chorus girl dancing her way through the thrilling explosion of art and culture of the Chicago Black Renaissance…
1925: Chicago is the jazz capital of the world, and the Dreamland Café is the ritziest black-and-tan club in town. Honoree Dalcour is a sharecropper’s daughter, willing to work hard and dance every night on her way to the top. Dreamland offers a path to the good life, socializing with celebrities like Louis Armstrong and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. But Chicago is also awash in bootleg whiskey, gambling, and gangsters. And a young woman driven by ambition might risk more than she can stand to lose.
2015: Film student Sawyer Hayes arrives at the bedside of 110-year-old Honoree Dalcour, still reeling from a devastating loss that has taken him right to the brink. Sawyer has rested all his hope on this frail but formidable woman, the only living link to the legendary Oscar Micheaux. If he’s right—if she can fill in the blanks in his research, perhaps he can complete his thesis and begin a new chapter in his life. But the links Honoree makes are not ones he’s expecting…Piece by piece, Honoree reveals her past and her secrets, while Sawyer fights tooth and nail to keep his. It’s a story of courage and ambition, hot jazz and illicit passions. And as past meets present, for Honoree, it’s a final chance to be truly heard and seen before it’s too late. No matter the cost…
Denny S. Bryce’s extensive historical research, detailed storytelling, and personal experience as a former dancer bring 1920s Bronzeville to vibrant life while also exploring the ties between contemporary African-American artists and the Chicago Black Renaissance. WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES is both a poignant story of history, loss, and the secrets that only family can define. It offers a meditation on art’s power as a beacon against the thundering storm of racism, sexism, poverty, and the more modern forces of depression and mental illness.
This discussion guide and recommended reading was shared and sponsored in partnership with Kensington.
THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
When was The Jazz Age? Do you have any favorite musicians from the period?
Oscar Micheaux was one of several black filmmakers who produced “race films.” These films starred black actors and actresses who portrayed characters that weren’t featured in Hollywood’s racist stereotypes. How do you think the race films of the 1920’s – 1940’s may have set the stage for the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s? (Coffey, Shaft, Cleopatra Jones, Superfly).
The music of the Jazz Age is thought to be the soundtrack of the Roaring Twenties. What music forms do you think have defined other generations?
Wild Women and the Blues: A Fascinating and Innovative Novel of Historical Fiction
“The music practically pours out of the pages of Denny S. Bryce's historical novel, set among the artists and dreamers of the 1920s.”—OprahMag.com
“Perfect…Denny S. Bryce is a superstar!”—Julia Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of the Bridgerton series
“Evocative and entertaining!”—Laura Kamoie, New York Times bestselling author
“Wild Women and the Blues deftly delivers what historical fiction has been missing.”—Farrah Rochon USA Today bestselling author
“Ambitious and stunning.” —Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author