Review: The Songbook of Benny Lament (Amy Harmon)

The Songbook of Benny Lament
Author: Amy Harmon

Publication Date: March 16, 2021
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


From the bestselling author of What the Wind Knows and From Sand and Ash comes a powerful love story about a musical duo who put everything on the line to be together.

New York, 1960: For Benny Lament, music is his entire life. With his father’s deep ties to the mob, the Bronx piano man has learned that love and family can get you in trouble. So he keeps to himself, writing songs for other musicians, avoiding the spotlight…until the night his father brings him to see Esther Mine sing.

Esther is a petite powerhouse with a gorgeous voice. And when Benny writes a hit song and performs it with her, their collaboration thrusts the duo onto the national stage…and stirs up old issues and new scrutiny that the mob—and Benny—would rather avoid.

It would be easier to walk away. But the music and the woman are too hard for the piano man to resist. Benny’s songs and Esther’s vocals are an explosive combination, a sound that fans can’t get enough of. But though America might love the music they make together, some people aren’t ready for Benny Lament and Esther Mine on—or off—the stage.


Amy Harmon consistently writes amazing works of art. It is always hard to pick a favorite book of hers, but The Songbook of Benny Lament just bulldozed right over all her other books to my top spot.

I loved EVERYTHING about this book. It alternates between chapters of radio interviews with Benny and his story of what happened along his way to fame. The radio chapters set up the story perfectly. They hinted at what was to come, making the story that followed all the sweeter. The story of Minecraft and Benny’s relationship with Esther Mine built in the best of ways. I had all these ideas of where things were headed, but didn’t even want to guess. I wanted to experience it all as I read it. It was such a fascinating love story set in the chaotic and violent times of the 1960’s. I enjoyed the way it wove music, the mob, politics, racial injustices of the 1960’s, and a sweet love story all into one package. There was even some humor!

The only book I can compare The Songbook of Benny Lament to is Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It gave me that same feeling. It had me forgetting that it was fiction and had me wanting to Google everyone and everything related to Benny Lament and Esther Mine. Their story felt real and true. I was so caught up in it that I forgot it was fiction. That’s not to say that The Songbook of Benny Lament was a copycat of Daisy Jones and The Six. It wasn’t. It was a completely different story.

If you love books that revolve around music, complex love stories and a ton of heart you won’t want to miss this book. Amy Harmon put so much heart into The Songbook of Benny Lament. It checked all my boxes. I will be thinking about it for a long time.

29 thoughts on “Review: The Songbook of Benny Lament (Amy Harmon)”

  1. I have only read one book by Harmon (Making Faces) and I liked it a lot. The story structure appeals to me here. I like the mix of standard narration and the radio interviews. And YEAH for a new book on the favorites shelf!

  2. Gah! While I’m not surprised at the 5 stars, I still love seeing it. This is one of my most highly anticipated releases of the year. I’ve had the paperback on pre-order for months. I am so ansty to meet Benny and Esther and just delve into the story. Amy Harmon is such an incredible storyteller. I’m so glad this was such a total hit for you!

    1. I think you’re going to love it. It’s going on my favorites of the year, for sure.

  3. Awesome review! I still need to finish this one and I’ll be picking it up right after I finish my current read but I’m even MORE keen to get back to it now. I already loved what I’ve read of it and I’m so curious to see how it goes. Excited about the comparison with Daisy Jones–I wished everyone in that book was real 😂

  4. I still have yet to read a book by Amy Harmon but every time I read a review of her books I kick myself for not reading one immediately! This one sounds so amazing! Definitely going to need to get this one ASAP. Great review!

      1. I have a few of hers on Kindle and also a paperback of What The Wind Knows so at some point this year I will definitely get around to reading one lol.

  5. Yay! So glad you enjoyed this one. I just started reading it last night but I already have a good feeling about it. I know what you mean about Googling the characters, I keep thinking Benny is real. Can’t wait to read more titles from the author. Fab review.

  6. I haven’t read an Amy Harmon book in years. This sounds amazing and I love that it was instant favorite for you. If this will be available as an audio, I will give it a shot. I haven’t read Daisy Jones either even though I love TJR!

    1. NICK! How have you not read Daisy Jones? Actually, you should listen to it. It’s incredible to listen to. I hope both are available on audio for you!

  7. I’ve only read one book of AH’s a long time ago (Making Faces), which I loved, but I was initially hesitant to read this because Daisy Jones is one of my favorites. Thank you for the great review, and emphasizing that it is its own book – I’ll definitely read this now! 🙂

    1. It’s similar to DJ, but so different. It just has a vibe that reminds me of it. It isn’t all in interview format. I’m glad you will read it now!

  8. Wonderful review Deanna. I am hearing a lot of people say it will be one of their top books in 2021. I can’t wait to read or listen to this one. I did not gel with Daisy Jones, so I hope this one is a better match for me.

    1. Thank you! I hope you love it. It’s a little different than DJ, so hopefully it will work for you.

  9. I can’t wait to read this! It’s like her books just keep getting better and better – even though they were pretty dang good from the start! Great review!

  10. Adding this to my TBR! I don’t think I have read anything by this author yet and I love that it had “Daisy Jones” vibes without feeling at all like a copy of that type of novel.

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