“So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from Him?” is the Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 (NLT) quoted in Allison Pittman’s historical Christian novel, All for a Song. With three hundred and fifty-seven pages, this paperback has a photograph of a woman from the 1920’s on the front cover and paragraphs about the book with the author’s biography and small photograph on the back. There is no profanity in the book, but the subject matter of promiscuity, smoking, dancing and kissing may be unacceptable for immature preteen age or younger readers. At the end of the novel, there are twelve discussion questions to ponder. This reader wishes all pronouns in regard to God would be capitalized for reverence. The author weaves a romantic story based during the Roaring Twenties of Dorothy Lynn Dunbar, both as a naÃ¯ve, young Christian nineteen year old girl and a one hundred and seven year old woman in an assisted living home, jumping back and forth through marked font changes from her years coming of age to looking back at her life in her feeble age. When Dorothy’s father dies and handsome Brent takes over his position as pastor in their rural town of Heron’s Nest, Dorothy becomes quickly engaged but is torn if it is God’s will or is there something missing from her predictable life. To clear her mind, she visits her married sister in St. Lois so the sibling can sew her wedding dress. Immediately captivated by the bustling city life, Dorothy is noticed for her wholesomeness and singing voice by divorced thirty year old Roland Lundi, sweet-talking, cigarette-smoking manager of the famous Aimee Semple McPherson, the real life charismatic female evangelist of the era. The worldly Lundi convinces the guileless girl to travel with the crusade to Los Angeles where McPherson is establishing a new Pentecostal church, using the lure that Dorothy can find her brother. The unsophisticated Dorothy not only becomes enamored in singing songs to Jesus in front of an attentive audience but is caught up in the social, materialistic world that envelopes her. Reverting every few chapters to her aged, weaken state of having a stroke and unable to speak, she reminisces and recalls the fear, love and forgiveness the Lord gives her as Charlotte, an unknown but somehow familiar visitor, spends time with her on her birthday. The reader is guessing every quickly-turned page if Dorothy regrets her long-ago decisions and forgives as she looks forward to being with Jesus eternally. With the focus circling around an iconic leader such as McPherson, one easily understands the society, culture and temptations of the time and lifestyle in regard to women, their newfound “flapper” apparel, behavior and attitudes. The book not only puts the Roaring Twenties into perspective, but how decisions based on God’s will change one’s path in life.
If I had to summarize this book in one word, it would be powerful. This story was so well written that you actually feel as if you are in the story with the characters. The message is so powerful and relates to every day life. This story reminds us to always seek Gods will and to focus on what's truly important in life.