Synopses & Reviews
Albertina Merci, a talented R&B singer, toured with Ray Charles, James Brown, and Wilson Pickett—until the fateful night her voice gave out in front of a sold-out crowd. Encouraged by her fans, she offered a little speech in praise of Jesus instead of a song. Her spontaneous words became the seed of “Sanctified Blues,” a song that soon captured the hearts of millions and gave Albertina the financial security to follow her true calling as an evangelist—sharing the Gospel with those in need of spiritual comfort.
Sanctified Blues is the story of Albertinas encounter with Maggie Clay, the biracial beauty who is TVs reigning diva. A sudden mystery surrounding Maggie has the entire country wondering: Is Maggie having a nervous breakdown, and if so, why? What caused it? And who can save the star from self-destruction?
Sanctified Blues kicks off a series about a former R&B singer turned full-time minister whos full of spice and advice. When the Lord works in mysterious ways, its up to Pastor Albertina Merci to find out why…
A talented R&B singer until her voice gives out, Albertina Merci's little speech in praise of Jesus becomes a song that captures the hearts of millions and gives Albertina the financial security to follow her true calling--sharing the Gospel with those in need of spiritual comfort.
About the Author
MABLE JOHN was the first female recording artist for Motown, the lead “Raelette” for Ray Charles from 1968-1976, and a successful solo artist for Stax/Volt. Shes now an ordained minister with a doctorate in counseling. DAVID RITZ is coauthor of Howling at the Moon and the author of biographies of Marvin Gaye and jazz singer Jimmy Scott. He has also coauthored autobiographies of Ray Charles, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, and other musicians. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
Reading Group Guide
1. What are some of Albertinas favorite scriptures? How do they provide guidance for Albertina and others during the course of the narrative?
2. How does Cindys illness affect the other characters in the novel? How does her death affect Albertina? Bob? Maggie?
3. How does Bob differ from the other men in the novel? Can you describe through his actions how he is different? Also describe Bob and Albertinas relationship. How would it have been different had Cindy lived?
4. What kind of preacher is Bishop Gold? How does his approach differ from Albertinas? Their perspectives clash during Cindys funeral and during the awards show. How does Albertina handle these situations?
5. What events from Albertinas past constantly pervade her thoughts and dreams throughout the novel? How were they significant to her spiritual development?
6. Albertina Merci possesses the humility and strength of spirit to admit when her actions or thoughts interfere with Gods plan. How does this affect Albertinas decisions? Do other characters help steer Albertina toward Gods will? If so, how?
7. Maggie Clay has fierce mood swings that cause her to lash out at the people around her. Do you think you could have put up with Maggie? How would you have handled her?
8. Albertina always offers scriptural advice, but often likes to steer clear of meddling in other peoples lives, which causes her to stay quiet during some potentially explosive situations. Describe some of these instances in the novel. Do you agree with her actions?
9. Patrick, like his Aunt Albertina, is also a Christian minister. At times it becomes evident that his fervent conviction to Christianity and short temper put him at odds with people around him. How do his beliefs affect his actions in public and in private? How does Albertina help him develop patience? Does he remind you of someone you know?
10. What taboo issue causes unease in the House of Trust? What event triggers the issue to emerge as a topic of concern? How is it resolved?
11. Justine has terrible taste in men. Describe the events surrounding her last two relationships. How does Albertina guide Justine? Do you agree with Justines actions?
12. Albertina believes firmly in the healing power of prayer. Describe the events surrounding the married couple Tom and Muriel, and the events surrounding Coach Martin Simmons and his son Chuck. Does prayer help in these two situations? Discuss moments when prayer has helped you deal with or come out of a difficult situation.
13. The radio station disk jockey Clifford Bloom makes an interesting point during his interview with Albertina when he says that Pastor Merci made the “transition from secular to sacred with exceptional poise.” How does this statement help the readers understanding of Albertina? How does Albertina respond to the comment? Does her view of herself differ from how you view her?