Welcome to Monday Book Reviews! Today I’ll be reviewing Revival – How a Tenor Lost His Voice But Found His Calling by Donald Braswell with Mark Koopmans.






RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥




Five years removed from his 1990 Juilliard graduation, Donald Braswell is set to be “the next Pavarotti.” Braswell’s successful career ends, however, not with a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, but alone, lying in a dirty ditch.

Following the hit-and-run accident that steals his voice and future, the “Texas Tenor” struggles with depression and despair—until the night his daughter, Aria, is born. Understanding this new and immediate life change, Braswell fights to relearn how to speak and sing—and how to share this gift of second chances with others. When he auditions for America’s Got Talent, his family, his faith, and his entire future hangs in the balance.


I will be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for come-back stories. Unless you’re in a position of recovery yourself, it’s difficult for a lot of people to fathom the hardships, struggles, depression, and desperation that Mr. Braswell had gone through over the years.

Donald Braswell was an up and coming shining star in the opera world. He graduated from Julliard and was a fantastic tenor until he lost his voice secondary to trauma caused by a freak car accident that occurred while he was bicycling. His doctor’s had informed that he’d probably never be able to sing again.

He went through what many of us who have suffered through life altering medical events, like I mentioned above, but with his faith in God and the love and support of his family and friends, he persevered. Though he believed his singing career was over, he knew he had to help support his family. He and his wife had three beautiful daughters after his accident.

Donald went from singing opera to working as a painter, a carpenter, and a car salesman. One car sale opened the door to his recording of a music CD. An application sent without his knowledge by his wife to America’s Got Talent would change his life and his perspective on it.

I’m so inspired by Mr. Braswell’s journey and it makes me acutely aware of just how powerful FAITH and hard work can be. It reminds me that I CAN recover, that I CAN defy the odds, and I CAN find my place in the world.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys memoirs.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥



DBraswellDonald Braswell II is an American actor, classical crossover tenor and composer. Braswell was on a fast track to become an internationally acclaimed opera singer when he suffered a car accident in 1995 that made him unable to speak for almost two years. After that, he lived a quiet life outside of the spotlight until his appearance on the 2008 season of America’s Got Talent where he was a Top 5 finalist, which gave him another chance at a career in entertainment. Since then, he has entertained audiences both internationally as well as shore to shore in the United States in concerts, television appearances, inspirational speaking and radio. He boasts an international fan club with fans from over 25 countries.

KoopMark Koopmans is originally from Ireland. After working in Holland, Spain, France and England, he won his U.S. “Green Card” in 1994, and is an American by choice since 2003. Koopmans began his writing career with a feature for a regional magazine in California. Since then, he’s worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Florida and Texas. Koopmans is also a proficient blogger and is working on his next book, a novel. Koopmans lives in Virginia and is a married, stay-at-home dad to three active boys under the age of nine. He writes at night. Check out his blog: Vignettes from VA (and DC, too!).