Tears and Trombones

Based on A True Story

Fiction - Literary
310 Pages
Reviewed on 09/22/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I was a teacher, textbook author and Dean of Business at American River College before I wrote Tears and Trombones. The story captivated me before I started the novel, which won an IPPY (Independent Publishers) bronze medal for "Best Fiction in the Western Pacific Region," and recently, it won a READERS' FAVORITE Silver Medal in the YA Coming-of-Age category. The book is an emotional, real-life story, filled with music from Johnny Cash to Mozart.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

It isn’t surprising that Tears and Trombones is the winner of the Independent Publishers medal for “Best Fiction in the Western Pacific Region” because of the great storytelling craft and the exceptional prose readers will find as they begin to read the story. Nanci Lee Woody’s story will be of great delight to music fans and readers who enjoy well-developed characters, swiftly paced stories, and balanced writing.

Meet young Joey, a boy with a dream of becoming a musician, ridiculed by a heartless father and humiliated on every occasion by a father intent on distracting him from his goal to make his dream come true. But nothing would stop the young man who eventually finds the support he needs from well-meaning and generous souls, developing his career to the point where he finds himself performing with icons such as Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, and others. As he scores many successes in the music industry, he has to sacrifice a love ignited in his heart since his high school days. Can one man have it all?

Tears and Trombones is an exciting tale that is inspiring, an impassioned story written most wonderfully. I enjoyed the emotional depth of the story, the strong conflict explored at multiple levels, and the powerful lessons that come across to the reader. One of the lessons of this story is that our dreams have the power to transform our lives. Nanci Lee Woody’s writing had me captivated from the very first page, and I found myself turning from one exciting page to the next mesmerizing one. Here is one of those books you read and want to watch on the big screen.

Rom Dzemo

5.0 out of 5 starsa story that brilliantly portrays a young man’s journey towards success
ByRomuald Dzemoon November 8, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tears and Trombones: Based on a True Story by Nancy Lee Woody is an inspiring, heartwarming story that has a bit of each of us, a story that brilliantly portrays a young man’s journey towards success, a fight for a dream against all odds. It’s a story of hope, of personal transformation, and, especially in our time and age, it is a story of love and the power of human connections.

Set against the depression period, Tears and Trombones moves fast, making an x-ray of the challenges of life within this period. The father of the protagonist, an alcoholic, is a symbolic of all that could be mean and hopeless with life and the economy, but most of all, he is the biggest challenge the young protagonist will have to face — a man who doesn’t know how to stand up for a son, a man who after failing in his own life doesn’t know what it means to see others succeed. But the situation becomes most dramatic and constitutes a huge element of conflict becomes the meanness of the man is directed towards a son. Joey wants to success as a classical musician and in spite of the poverty and the opposition from his father, he becomes very creative in seeking the resources and the support he needs. It’s not an easy journey for him, but he will find strength in a mother’s unfailing love, in friendship, and in connecting with the right people.

Those who have read the works of Paulo Coelho will enjoy this story because it is one of the powerful statements about the price we pay for our dreams. It is about what it takes to have a dream and to be driven by it. But the question is: Does the protagonist experience happiness after reaching the peak of success? Nancy Lee Woody weaves a story that asks very important existential questions about choices, love, and happiness. It is interesting to notice how she captures the unsettling sense of restlessness in the protagonist, a restlessness that occasionally visits the human soul in search of its path.

The writing is glorious, fluid, and musical, and the reader will enjoy how the author weaves her experience and knowledge of music into this entertaining and engaging story. Nancy Lee Woody has created a story that will speak to the heart of many thousands of readers, characters they will care about, and a world so familiar readers will see themselves in it. It was a very satisfying read.

Chelsey McQuitty

5.0 out of 5 starsBeautiful Story
ByChelsey McQuittyon November 19, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This novel took me a while to finish because it is one of those books where you need to take it all in and savor it in order to truly appreciate its value and beauty. The story is an emotional rollercoaster, based around a main character who was given a few hurdles to jump over very early in life. With a little love and compassion though, he manages to fall in love and reach for his dreams.
I found the writing in this novel to be especially amazing as it really brings the story to life. The author strings heart break, humor, failure and success together to create a story that is certainly worth the read. I’d recommend this book to anyone, especially those who need to be shown that life can go as you want it to, but it does take a lot of time and effort. It was great seeing the main character grow before my eyes too. I hope to see more work like this from the author in the future.

Ivan Hecimovic

5.0 out of 5 starsEmotional, strong and powerful
ByIvan Hecimovicon July 25, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tears and Trombones is emotional story about strong-willed boy who wanted to pursue his dreams, regardless of the fact that this seemed far from possible.
Pursuing one’s dream is often very difficult task. There are many reasons why this is the case: either a person has some personal struggles and issues that she needs to deal with, but she does not want to do that or does not know how to do that, or there is something else. Tears and Trombones is a story about strong will and resilience. It is a story about unbreakable wish for success in something that means everything for a person. Many people break. For some reason many of us do not pursue our dreams. We freeze in time. We give up too soon. Joey is not like that. I like him. I like how the author presented the character of Joey as a young boy, full of life, hope and that inner strength that we all want to see, both in ourselves and in others. Music is medicine and Joey knows that. He knows and he feels that music will help him and cure him. Thus, he wants to climb to the top. He wants to beat the odds that are against him.
For me, this book is a masterpiece. I truly enjoyed reading it. I just want to say- well done Mrs. Lee-Woody.

Sky Rae

5.0 out of 5 starsTouching Story, Beautifully Told
This is a wonderful story about the love of music and its ability to enrich and give meaning to life, and yet how our passions can at times temp us away from the people we love. The book description does a great job of summarizing the plot, so I won’t do that here. But what I do want to emphasize in this review is Nancy Lee Woody’s brilliant writing that makes the characters come to life. From the first few pages, you really do feel for the young Joey, a youngster who comes from a very poor family with an alcoholic father. And yet Joey perseveres and struggles to achieve his dream of becoming a professional musician. I was continually touched by Woody’s description of music’s ability to touch and transform us (and this goes for art in general too). It’s a thoughtful story, expertly told. Strongly Recommended!

Margaret Guadalupe

5.0 out of 5 stars - I just loved it!!
How far would you go to make your dream come true? I think I have no words to describe all the feelings I had to pass through as I read this beautiful story. I just loved everything in this novel, it is a well developed and narrated story which is full of facts that I personally enjoyed a lot. I liked a lot the main character because you get to know how his life changes since he was a little boy until he becomes an adult, you see his transformation and how he finds peace in music. I strongly believe the author made a wonderful job writing this story because it is really easy to imagine everything which is written so you can bring it all to life, but what I loved the most about this book, is the fact that it teaches us that we should never give up on our dreams. I highly recommend this book, you must give it a read. I am pretty sure you will enjoy every single page as much as I did.

Johan Norberg

5.0 out of 5 stars - I Got Really Caught Up of The Story!

While depression takes a toll on people, Joey wants nothing but to accomplish a dream of becoming a musician. His father, a drunk ad an irresponsible husband would not have anything of it. But the mother would do anything to support her son.

When Joey meets the love of his life, he also discovers support for the dream that beats within his heart. Rising to fame in Hollywood amidst the odds, can he keep the balance of living a musical dream and loving the woman of his life?

Tears and Trombones is a classic, a powerful story about the price of pursuing dreams and what dreams can do to a man's life. Readers will love the characters, the twists in the story, and the roller-coaster pace. At times it's hilarious, but it is how the author crafts the hopes and frustrations of millions into one man's dream that will amaze readers.

Sky Raeon

5.0 out of 5 stars, Touching Story, Beautifully Told

This is a wonderful story about the love of music and its ability to enrich and give meaning to life, and yet how our passions can at times temp us away from the people we love. The book description does a great job of summarizing the plot, so I won’t do that here. But what I do want to emphasize in this review is Nancy Lee Woody’s brilliant writing that makes the characters come to life. From the first few pages, you really do feel for the young Joey, a youngster who comes from a very poor family with an alcoholic father. And yet Joey perseveres and struggles to achieve his dream of becoming a professional musician. I was continually touched by Woody’s description of music’s ability to touch and transform us (and this goes for art in general too). It’s a thoughtful story, expertly told. Strongly Recommended!