Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues

The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues

A Novel

Edward Kelsey Moore

Henry Holt and Co.

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“Moore, besides being laugh out loud hilarious, has a profound understanding of human nature . . . A truly remarkable writer. This book is a joy to read.” —Fannie Flagg, author of The Whole Town’s Talking and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

“The arrival of [Moore’s] new novel had me singing anything but the blues.”—Julia Glass, National Book Award-winning author of A House Among the Trees and Three Junes

From the author of the bestselling The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues, an exuberant and poignant new novel of passions, family, and forgiveness

When a late life love affair blooms between Mr. Forrest Payne, the owner of the Pink Slipper Gentleman’s Club, and Miss Beatrice Jordan, famous for stationing herself at the edge of the club’s parking lot and yelling warnings of eternal damnation at the departing patrons, their wedding summons a legend to town. Mr. El Walker, the great guitar bluesman, comes home to give a command performance in Plainview, Indiana, a place he’d sworn—and for good reason—he’d never set foot in again.

But El is not the only Plainview native with a hurdle to overcome. A wildly philandering husband struggles at last to prove his faithfulness to the wife he’s always loved. And among those in this tightly knit community who show up every Sunday after church for lunch at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, are the lifelong friends, known locally as “The Supremes” —Clarice, facing down her longing for, chance at and fear of a great career; Barbara Jean, grappling at last with the loss of a mother whose life humiliated both of them, and Odette, reaching toward her husband through an anger of his that she does not understand.

Edward Kelsey Moore’s lively cast of characters, each of whom have surmounted serious trouble and come into love, need not learn how to survive but how, fully, to live. And they do, every one of them, serenaded by the bittersweet and unforgettable blues song El Walker plays, born of his own great loss and love.

EXCERPT

CHAPTER 1


It was a love song. At least it started out that way. The lyrics told the tale of a romance between a man and the woman who made his life worth living. Being a blues song, it was also about how that woman repeatedly broke...

Reviews

Praise for The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues

“An uplifting read that tugs at readers’ heartstrings and elicits enthusiastic chuckles in equal measure. Moore masterfully balances sorrow and humor, scandal and earnestness, to create a soul-nourishing narrative that entertains and captures life’s richness . . . This sparkling sequel will satisfy fans while welcoming new ones to the fold with open arms.” —BookPage

“As fun and exuberant as that gorgeous cover art.”—Chicago Review of Books

Moore's story encompasses both happiness and heartache, but the end result is warm and satisfying, like the cherry pie at Earl's diner. This is a heartwarming story of friendship, reckoning with the past and learning to forgive.”—Shelf Awareness

“Moore returns to Plainview, Ind., to tell further delightful tales of the Supremes . . . weaving [plot threads] together beautifully, with humor balancing out the more painful moments. His characters, both living and dead, come together to make a wonderful whole.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)


“This lusty novel sings with life, saluting friendships through dreams, marriage and long-held secrets.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Summer Books”

“[A] charming story of friendship . . . Moore quickly makes even new readers feel at home.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Moore’s bluesy, breezy novel takes readers through life’s highs and lows and in-between times when no one knows what is coming next; its air of folksy optimism should appeal to fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Fredrik Backman.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“[Moore's] new novel is as rooted in the Black church ethos as the most famous novels by James Baldwin. And yet, there is also in Moore’s narrative a funnier, lighthearted mood and spirit that recalls the great musicality often displayed in stories and poems by Langston Hughes. Few novels in these turbulent times can make us laugh and cry at the same time. The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues does just that. It’s a life-vivifying celebration.”—Neworld Review

Comfort-food . . . full of Moore’s . . . affection for his characters.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Moore weaves together the lives of these women and their families into a story that closely examines the impact of a father’s presence or absence on children well into adulthood.”—Booklist

“Spending time with the Supremes is like slipping into a warm embrace of love and laughter, soul-searching and sass. There’s nothing these three strong women can’t handle, and that includes the legacy of the pain inflicted by fathers to sons, mothers to daughters. Edward Kelsey Moore has crafted a novel that beautifully illustrates the healing power of forgiveness.”—Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife

“Edward Kelsey Moore, besides being laugh out loud hilarious, has a profound understanding of human nature. This gift, combined with his clear love and affection for his characters, makes him a truly remarkable writer. This book is a joy to read.” —Fannie Flagg, author of The Whole Town’s Talking and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

“The arrival of Edward Kelsey Moore’s new novel had me singing anything but the blues. Even better cause for celebration? Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean are back . . . and what a supreme encore it is!”—Julia Glass, National Book Award-winning author of A House Among the Trees and Three Junes

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Edward Kelsey Moore

Edward Kelsey Moore is the author of the bestselling The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat. His short fiction has appeared in Indiana Review, African American Review, and Inkwell, among others. His short story “Grandma and the Elusive Fifth Crucifix” was selected as an audience favorite on Chicago Public Radio’s Stories on Stage series. A professional cellist, he lives in Chicago.

Edward Kelsey Moore

Laura Hamm