Missing Isaac
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Missing Isaac

Revell / 2018 / Paperback

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A novel set in Alabama during the race related issues of the 1960’s about three different Southern families whose relationships are put to the test. Isaac Reynolds is a field hand who works at the family cotton farm. Pete’s family owns the farm. Isaac did all he could do to save Pete’s father from a farming accident. When Isaac goes missing, Pete will stop at nothing to find him. 

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Revell
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0800728785
ISBN-13: 9780800728786

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Publisher's Description

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. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse's stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

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.

Author Bio

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.

Product Reviews

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3.4 out Of 5
(3.4 out of 5)
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3.3 out Of 5
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  1. Laura Hilton
    Horseshoe Bend, AR
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Missing Isaac
    January 27, 2018
    Laura Hilton
    Horseshoe Bend, AR
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I'm going to be honest here, which, of course, is what you're supposed to be with reviews. MISSING ISAAC is not a book I would've ever picked up to read. In fact, I was dismayed when it showed up in my mailbox because it is not a book I wanted to read. This book is a historical - to me, although I am not sure it would be considered one by the industry professionals, simply because it is set before my time. It starts with the mandatory historical book death, but moves on to an unlikely friendship between a young eleven year old boy and thirty year old man, and a mixing of black and white. Which in the sixties was pretty much a very touchy subject. Never the twain shall meet, type thing.

    Okay, so while I wouldn't have picked this book up on my own, I did start reading it, and wow, I can see why the publisher bought it. This is a topic that established authors would shy away from, and yet this brave debut author beat the odds with a book that some would consider a "hard-sell." And because it is so awesomely written, even if the editor didn't like the topic (and I don't know if he or she did or not) they, if they are anything like me, was hooked. Sold. Yep, I would've bought this if I was the publisher.

    Young Pete is such a sweetheart, and so innocent. Isaac is stoic I guess is the word. He's used to others not liking him, treating him like so much trash because he's black, but Pete just doesn't get it. He sees Isaac as his daddy's best friend. A man to emulate, a man of honor. And despite Isaac's lack of formal education, he was a learned man thanks to his mama getting hands on books for him to read. I loved Isaac. And Pete. And what Pete and his grand-daddy does at the end of the book is just so dog-gone sweet.

    Even if MISSING ISAAC is not a book you'd pick up, pick it up. These characters are so real they just walk right off the page and into your heart. And they are destined to stay there long after you close the pages of this book.

    I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.
  2. Iola
    New Zealand
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Outstanding
    January 21, 2018
    Iola
    New Zealand
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Missing Isaac is Valerie Fraser Luesses first novel, and I hope it wont be her last. Her writing style runs counter to some of the modern writing conventions. She uses dialect and non-standard spelling. There are unnecessary adverbs and repetition. The dialgoue tags are often clunky. The point of view is often distant, and slips into omniscient at times.

    Yet it works despite these errors. Or perhaps because of them. When Petes father dies in a farm accident, Petes relationship with Isaac is the one thing that keeps him going. It didnt matter that Isaac was only a field hand, or that he was blackeven in 1960s Alabama.

    But when Isaac disappears, leaving only his truck, no one seems much inclined to find out what happened. Except Pete. Missing Isaac doesnt fall neatly into any one genre. Its part mystery, as Pete tries to find the truth of what happened to Isaac. Its part family saga, as Pete grows up, and part romance, as he meets Dovey. And its part historical fiction, in that its a story set in a time far removed from ours, in terms of culture and attitude, if not years.

    The writing is strong, with a unique and lyrical style, and a lot of home truths, like the privileged white boy/man who doesnt understand his privilege because its all hes ever known. It could equally be talking to those in the modern world who dont understand why #MeToo or #BlackLivesMatter are newsworthy.

    Missing Isaac is a strong debut novel, with a solid story driven by strong characters and set in a time of great social change. Recommended. Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
  3. Thereadmaster
    Davenport,Iowa
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    intense in places
    January 17, 2018
    Thereadmaster
    Davenport,Iowa
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This was such a perfect read. It made me laugh and cry because you really get to like both Pete and Isaac. Pete grows up to be a very good person. The mid to late 60s was a very volatile time period. The racial tension is dealt with very well. I hope to read many more stories by this author. I received a copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
  4. BethErin
    IL
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Rich multifaceted story!
    January 17, 2018
    BethErin
    IL
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Southern rural community culture plays an essential role inMissing Isaac,the setting is more than a simple canvas for this story to be painted on. It is the South and the collective pride and prejudices of her people that form the foundation and framework of this immersive experience.

    Pete McLean is just a nice young man and I'm sure his mama is over the moon proud of him. Isaac Reynolds might be employed by the McLean family but Pete is unconcerned by age, social class,and skin color. As far as Pete is concerned, Isaac is simply his father's friend and now his friend, too.

    Pete encounters resistance on his search yet he inspires those around him to see with their hearts instead of their eyes and listen to the Spirit instead of the crowds.I cried no less than three times during this book yet there were also moments bursting with joy, full of hope, and some light-hearted mischief as well. I highly recommend this story and look forward to future works of fiction from this author!

    I requested the opportunity to read this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
  5. Jen Pen
    Midwest
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A heart-felt debut novel definitely worth reading...
    January 17, 2018
    Jen Pen
    Midwest
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    SUMMARY:

    In the deep South during the 1960s, different people came from very different worlds depending on social class and color. When Pete McLean experiences a tragedy in his life, farmhand Isaac steps in to fill the void. Friends despite the color difference, Pete is devastated when Isaac disappears one evening. Without much help from the community, Pete sets out to learn the truth about Isaac's disappearance and by chance, meets a girl. Together they grow, changing the social dynamics of the South along the way.

    A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:

    As a debut novel for an author, I was surely impressed. With strong characters, raw emotion, a powerful definition of friendship, and a style true to the South, Missing Isaac is a story of a young man growing to adulthood and developing his morals, integrity and character. Along with a mystery, a bit of faith, and heart-felt emotion, author Valerie Luesse writes an honest novel, perhaps one even appropriate as a movie storyline. Definitely an author I will watch for and read again.

    RATING:

    4 (out of 5) pennies

    *I received a complimentary copy of Missing Isaac from Revell Publishing for my honest review*
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