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Missing Isaac

The Debut novel from Valerie  Fraser Luesse

 

Discover love and the difficult truth about race and class in the 1960s south.

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it’s all over, Pete—and the people he loves most—will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever. With sweet romance and unlikely friendships, this coming-of-age story has something for everyone.

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What Readers Are Saying

“Valerie Luesse has an ear for dialogue, an eye for detail, and most of all, a profound gift for storytelling. She breathes life into these colorful Southern characters and this quirky Alabama town from the first page, and then she has you. As the senior travel editor at Southern Living, Valerie knows how to take readers on a journey, and with Missing Isaac she has taken that skill to a whole new level.”

Sid Evans, editor in chief of Southern Living

 

“Welcome debut novelist Valerie Fraser Luesse to the legions of gifted Southern writers before her. Missing Isaac is the first of what we hope will be many more tales from this talented writer.”

Nancy Dorman-Hickson, coauthor of Diplomacy and Diamonds and a former editor for Progressive Farmer and Southern Living magazines

 

“Looking both acutely and compassionately past the upheavals that defined the South in the troubled 1960s, Valerie Fraser Luesse’s beautiful story of a white boy's quest for a missing black field hand reveals the human heart that always beats beneath the headlines. In the process, she movingly illuminates not only the spirit of a special region but the soul of every human being who ever dared to care. Missing Isaac will break—and then heal—your heart.”

J. I. Baker, journalist and author of The Empty Glass

 

meet valerie

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Valerie Fraser Luesse is an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently a senior travel editor. Her work has been anthologized in the audio collection Southern Voices and in A Glimpse of Heaven, an essay collection featuring works by C. S. Lewis, Randy Alcorn, John Wesley, and others. As a freelance writer and editor, she was the lead writer for Southern Living 50 Years: A Celebration of People, Places, and Culture. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana's Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. Luesse earned her bachelor's degree in English at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and her master's degree in English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She grew up in Harpersville, Alabama, a rural community in Shelby County, and now lives in Birmingham.

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