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The Alchemy of Noise

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  33 reviews
In a world so full of lonely people and broken hearts, Chris Hawkins, a black sound engineer from Chicago’s south side, and Sidonie Frame―white, suburban-raised, the head manager of one of the city’s most elite venues―meet by work-related happenstance and fall quickly in love, convinced that by that act alone they can inspire peace, joy, and happiness in the world around t ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by She Writes Press
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Average rating 4.46  · 
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Alchemy of Noise is a beautifully rendered family drama full of secrets and touches of humor. But beyond that, it’s thought provoking and has a compelling love story. It also examines racial profiling and other contemporary hot button issues with candor and grace.

Overall, I loved the diversity in this engaging read and how strongly it made me feel. Thanks to my friend, Kate, for the nudge to read this memorable book.

I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
This book. Stop what you are doing. And read this book. It’s heartbreaking, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s daring in the most important way.

Sidonie and Chris are falling for each other in what promises to be the great love story of their lives. They adore each other, make each other laugh, and think, and smile. The magnetism was instant and that’s all that matters right? Sadly, no. Because Sidonie is white, and Chris is black. So sadly, love is definitely not enough in this urban Chicago tale of a
Laurie Boris
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Alchemy of Noise is an honest, empathetic, and powerful look at racial tensions in modern America, explored through one interracial couple’s burgeoning relationship—and how it plays on the concerns and assumptions of their friends and families. The writing is excellent, the characters full and real and conflicted—just like life.

While I loved Chris and Sidonie, and rooted for them to rise above the noise the world is throwing at them, I particularly loved their respective support systems. Tha
Amber Eats Books
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written novel that explores racism through the eyes of an interracial couple. The author is master of crafting a provocative narrative that hooks the reader with well fleshed our characters. I had to know whether or not Sidonie and Chris would end up together or if the pressure from society would destroy them. It is an extremely important read that will break your heart and open your eyes. I will remember this book for years to come!

I received a free copy in exchange for a
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall: I think I only half read the synopsis a lot of the time - I thought this was going to be an ‘ordinary’ love story, but it was way, way more than that - Sidonie is a white woman and Chris a black man. They fell totally in love, almost instantly, but is that enough? Are their worlds too far apart? I absolutely loved this book, and found myself engrossed in their story and journey. I felt a somewhat deep connection with Sid and Chris’ characters. The story is just heart wrenching - I re
Brenda Perlin
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Move your hands away from your pocket.! Now! Now!!”

Two guns are pointed within inches of Chris’s head as another officer swoops in to grab the hand reaching into his pocket.

The video pauses—

The Alchemy of Noise: A Novel by Lorraine Devon Wilke is a readable romance/drama where the brutalities of life come into focus early on. The topic of racism is clearly drawn at the forefront.

This author writes with sophistication and her heart on her sleeve. Told with a deep sense of emotion that makes me
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fell head over heels in love with this book. Insightful and sad reality of how racial bias plays a complicated and powerful role in what should have been a simple love story. A must read!
Ann Werner
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A contemporary romance that is particularly poignant in the current climate of unrest due to the murder of George Floyd, this novel captures the time in which we live.

The advice to writers is always to write what you know. Lorraine Devon Wilke writes from the perspective of a white woman who has experienced an extended interracial relationship. The things she experienced and witnessed firsthand provided the impetus for The Alchemy of Noise.

At first, it's a sweet boy meets girl, attraction happ
Georgia Rose
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Alchemy of Noise is a novel in which boy meets girl and essentially it has a love story at its heart. But it is so much more than that.

Sidonie manages a successful and popular music and events bar. Chris has his own business but steps in to help out the club when the usual sound guy lets them down. Both characters are likeable, honest, reliable and drawn to each other. But they come from very different worlds, because Sidonie is white and Chris is black. It shouldn’t matter, in fact it doesn
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
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Thank you @booksparks for setting me up on a blind date with The Alchemy of Noise!

I’m so glad that #booksparks selected me to participate in their Spring campaign, because it brought this beautiful book to me! To be honest, I had some concerns when I read this book’s synopsis, because I always question when a white person is writing the perspective of a Black person, or other POC, especially when the topic of the book is race, but those con
Rod Raglin
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An entertaining while scathing commentary about race relations in America.

Sidonie Frame is the manager one of Chicago’s buzziest small concert and event venues. When her sound manager goes AWOL along with essential equipment she has her assistant bring in another company to fill in temporarily.
Chris Hawkins is owner of Sound Alchemy and immediately he and Sidonie have a connection.
Author Lorraine Devon Wilke tells the story from two points of view and establishes her protagonists as equals in re
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book as part of the Spring Book Tour Campaign with Booksparks that I was partnered with and I am very happy to have been a part of this because I probably would have never thought to pick up this book & read it but I did and it was great!! It was a very touching story and it really makes you think about how different whites and blacks are still treated till this day even if it is now 2019! I also loved that this book had short chapters which always motivates me to keep reading on ...more
Ann M
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story gripped me and held me, beyond the end. The characters, the setting and the dialogue leapt off the page and I felt like I was watching a movie in my head. The range of emotions that play out in the, fear, frustration...kept me turning the pages and unable to put the book down. I have a feeling we'll be seeing The Alchemy of Noise on the big screen before long. It's a story that begs to be told on film, too.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing

A couple of years ago I was honored to read an early version of this novel. Its impact on me was profound. Even in draft form, this story rang so true throughout that I could never quite stop thinking about it. Today, in one sitting—because I simply could not put it down—I read this final, published version and again I am flooded with so many intense reactions that I know I will continue to reflect on this story for years to come.
I read a lot. I love the feel of a good book in my hands, be it
Barb Taub
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We once lived in Champaign Illinois, where the University of Illinois’ team mascot, Chief Illiniwek, embraced almost every type of cultural stereotyping, from his eagle-feathered war bonnet to his frenzied war dance. Growing calls for The Chief to be retired were opposed—loudly and backed up with considerable donations—by alumni, locals, and even students. My neighbors told me they honestly believed the mascot was “honoring” Native Americans, and couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. Desp ...more
WordsAPlenty audiobookreviewer
I have read a couple of Lorraine Devon Wilke’s books and found each one to be unique. The Alchemy of Noise was not what I expected. With each page I found myself becoming more and more intrigued. Then I had to step back for a minute and see the much larger picture she was painting with her words. Emotionally wrenching, The Alchemy of Noise takes relationships one step further than most bringing in racism. The fine line Wilke’s walks in this book is amazing – telling her story through fiction yet ...more
Kelsey (kels.reads)
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was taken aback by how much I loved this book and was invested in Sidonie and Chris’ story. Two people who had given up on finding love, meet through happenstance and are inexplicably drawn to each other?! Sign me up! But this is more than your standard love story because although Sidonie and Chris fall madly in love, the challenges they begin to face as a mixed race couple threaten to pull them apart.

This book highlights some all too common realities that exist in our culture today. The auth
Diana Stevan
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Lorraine Devon Wilke's ever since I read After The Sucker Punch. This novel impressed me even more. In The Alchemy of Noise, the author tackles the issue of race in America. Two people--one black, the other white--fall in love, a love that is beautifully and sensitively portrayed. It's also honestly depicted. How work, family and society's views affect their interracial relationship is a difficult subject and yet Wilke does a masterful job in showing us what's at stake.

How var
Judith Teitelman
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sidonie Frame and Chris Hawkins. These are names I will not soon forget. In “The Alchemy of Noise," author Lorraine Devon Wilke skillfully, astutely—and often painfully—explores love and racism through the eyes and experiences of this interracial couple. What should be easy, isn’t. What should be light, far too often turns dark. What should be simple, becomes ridiculously and distressingly complex. Devon Wilke has captured the realities of what it means to be a black man in our country and those ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story of Sidonie and Chris, an interracial couple whose relationship is impacted by events highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement. Sidonie thinks she is woke but is taken aback by the everyday micro aggressions she witnesses when she is with Chris, the level of police harassment and bigotry, not to mentions the racist comments from some friends and family. When Chris is arrested, assaulted by police the has to decide whether or not to take a plea bargain despite being innocent their ...more
Maren Cooper
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Skillfully told through the eyes of an interracial couple in love, the author portrays the universal challenges of learning what is important about one's beloved while everyday routines are magnified by the tick tick of institutional racism and the all too authentic threat to their safety. The trade-offs to be negotiated are so unjust, but so true to life. Unforgettable and believable. The power of this story was enhanced by elegant writing which captures the grit and beauty of Chicago. A bonus ...more
Kathy Shuker
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about a love affair, about family and friendship and the inescapable interaction between them all. It’s also about discrimination and prejudice and their corrosive effects on those same relationships. It’s a challenging tale at times, uncomfortable and thought-provoking, but it’s surprisingly warm too and well-paced, and the different threads are deftly interwoven. It drew me on.

Fluently and sensitively written, there are flashes of humour and crisp, believable dialogue. The char
Marika Lindholm
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was swept up by this interracial romance. The author deftly depicts two worlds colliding as the main characters navigate the ugly truth of a racist America. Some scenes are so well written and terrifying that they are sure to stay with me for a long time.
Margie Gaines
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story is so achingly real, so beautifully written, the characters so rich and complete, the circumstances so compelling, I had to take my time reading it cover to cover. Several times I had to put it down, needing time to absorb what I just read till I was ready to find out what happens next. But lI was never able to guess - everything made sense and nothing was predictable. This author uses words like paint on a brush to create vivid pictures of places, emotions, relationships. I loved her ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Poignant and raw! A budding love story along with a good look at current racial tensions.
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Probably closer to 4.5 stars
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Trust and believe ...this book will.makw a lot of people uncomfortable.The way that is deals with the dewply-submerged undercurrent of racism built into America is not going to be most people's cup of tea.
I enjoyed it because it avoided preachiness and actually hit the marks that delineate the fact of life for many people of color not just in America but throughout the "Western world".
Read at your own peril...
Can you "handle the truth"?
Deborah Burns
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A story for our time. Masterfully plotted and beautifully written, The Alchemy of Noise is a complex rendering of an even more complex set of perceptions, misperceptions, and heart-wrenching realities. A must-read.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I finished this book in one day. Partially because I had the day off with zero plans, and partially because it was so compelling I couldn’t stop reading.

The Alchemy of Noise tackles a lot of serious (and timely, relevant) racial issues. It doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable discussions between characters and it forces some of the characters (and most likely a lot of the readers) to examine their own prejudice and privilege.

I’ll admit, I was a little uncomfortable reading abou
Lisa Mcbroom
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
What attracted me to this book was the title The Alchemy of Noise. Sidonie Frame is a white upper class woman in Chicago that works for a club venue. When the sound man quits , enters African American Chris Hawkins who owns his own sound system . He and Sidonie fall in love and must overcome prejudice and racial profiling. Wilke a writer from the Huffington Post has a wonderful way with words and really gives some insight to Chicago.
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AN ACCOMPLISHED WRITER in several genres of the medium, Lorraine Devon Wilke, a Chicago native and one of eleven children, has built a library of expertly crafted work with a signature style that exudes intelligence and humor. Whether screenplay or stage play, article or editorial; short story or novel, her work captures the edge and emotion of real life, incorporating original plots, jump-off-the ...more

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