Danny Holst

The Harlem Story

A harrowing and moving account of a young African American man growing up in Harlem, from debut author Danny Holst

The Harlem Story is an intriguing novel, originally written as a musical screenplay. The novel follows the lives of James Harris and Diane Smith, who witness the murder of their parents at the age of six in 1963, outside their church, by the Klan. James’ great aunt Millie takes the children inside the chapel for safety when it is set on fire. Luckily, the children escape, and they leave with Aunt Millie from their home in the South, to Harlem. The children are raised by their aunt, and they grow up in the Christian faith, singing in church choir. James and Diane become accomplished singers and win an amateur singing contest, singing ‘Lift Every Voice.’ Diane goes on to be a successful recording artist, but James’ singing career is short lived after he is wrongfully arrested and imprisoned for murder in 1983. James is finally exonerated in 1990, but he has lost all of his faith in God. He struggles to reignite his passion for singing and his life spirals out of control. James faces unimaginable pain and hardship, but ten years on from his first singing contest, he reunites with his sister to sing again.


This is a beautifully written and profoundly moving story about a young African American man and how he triumphs over adversity. The book deals with painful issues of hate and discrimination, murder, and sexual assault, yet there are wonderful and joyous moments of happiness, love, and romance. The harrowing events are told sensitively and with compassion, and the author does a remarkable job at developing a real connection and empathy for the main characters. The book gives hope that out of darkness, one can find light; and out of hate, one can find love.


Star Rating: 5 Stars


Summary

‘A beautifully written and profoundly moving story about a young man and how he triumphs over adversity. A SILVER WINNER and highly recommended.’