Posted in 4 paws, Christian, Giveaway, Review on January 3, 2018




  Genre: Southern Fiction / Christian / Coming of Age

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: January 2, 2018

Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Isaac believed in luck. But from Pete’s point of view, Isaac’s luck had all run out.

When Pete McLean loses his father in the summer of 1962, his friend Isaac is one of the few people he can lean on. Though their worlds are as different as black and white, friendship knows no color. So when Isaac suddenly goes missing, Pete is determined to find out what happened—no matter what it costs him. His quest will lead him into parts of town that he knows only through rumors and introduce him to a girl who will change his life. What they discover together will change the small Southern town of Glory, Alabama—forever.

With vivid descriptions, palpable atmosphere, and unforgettable characters, debut novelist Valerie Fraser Luesse breathes life into the rural South of the 1960s—a place where ordinary people struggle to find their footing in a social landscape that is shifting beneath their feet.

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Praise for Missing Issac

“Valerie Fraser Luesse’s beautiful story 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

“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

“Valerie Luesse has an ear for dialogue, an eye for detail, and a profound gift for storytelling. She breathes life into these colorful Southern characters and this quirky Alabama town from the first page.” —Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living magazine

This story encompasses much of life in the south in the 1960’s.  While there is some strife and conflict, most of the story is positive and upbeat which makes for an enjoyable read.

Missing Isaac is billed as a coming of age story, which I do believe it is, not only for Pete but for his love interest, Dovey.  The story follows Pete’s life from about 11 to 17 and how he reacts to the passing of his father; his friend Isaac that goes missing; and meeting the love of his life by chance while searching for his friend Isaac.  For Dovey, it is finding love; singing in public (church) and realizing that perhaps there is more to life than what she experienced growing up on the Pickett’s farm.  I found it interesting that since the book was set in the 1960’s and in the south, that there not much mentioned about segregation in the town of Glory.  There is mention of visiting Tandy’s for ribs and Pete experiencing the blues for the first time, but any other mention was fleeting.

The book is also billed as Christian and there are many hymn lyrics quoted and of course there are events held at the Baptist church.  This seemed very appropriate because I associate Baptist and the South together.  There are some gentle pokes at the Methodists during an event, but nothing out of line.  In fact, most of it is treated as a joke from the pastor’s comments and it felt like it was in fun and not meant to be derogatory.

In small towns you can expect most of the families to be related in one respect or another – if not by blood then by friendship which is as strong as a blood relationship, if not stronger.  This is the sort of town I wouldn’t mind residing because people look out for each other and it isn’t because they feel obligated, but because it is taking care of family (blood or otherwise).  Ned Ballard is a strong patriarch and his kindness shines throughout the book.

This book also has a little bit of a mystery – what happened to Isaac?  I won’t spoil it, but it is revealed what happened the night he went missing.  And I was surprised, but not surprised at the turn of events and those involved.  Seems like those that feel entitled do so no matter the decade.

Overall we enjoyed the slower pace of this book, the love stories and the mystery and give it 4 paws up.


Valerie Fraser Luesse is an award-winning writer and a senior travel editor for Southern Living. 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. She lives in Alabama.

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Grand Prize: Print Copy of Missing Isaac, Print Copy of Southern Living Annual Recipes 2017, Handmade Leather Journal (9″x5″);

2ND PRIZE: Copy of Missing Isaac + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card;

3RD PRIZE: Copy of Missing Isaac + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

January 2-January 11, 2018

(U.S. Only)

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