During the month of September, my blog posts are book reviews and author interviews. All the authors are fellow Tribe Writers—some of them in my online fiction group, affectionately known as “The Otters.” This week, I’m excited to review Finding Eliza, the debut novel of author Stephanie Pitcher Fishman.
Lizzie Clydell is a young woman struggling to come to terms with her own tragic past—the death of her parents. When her grandmother invites her to a meeting of the local genealogy group, Lizzie agrees in order appease her. After all:
It’s just a little family history. What could go wrong?
She expected nothing more than refreshments (in the form of lemon squares) and a few stories. Instead, her grandmother gives her an old family diary. Lizzie soon finds herself intrigued. Within the pages of the diary is a story of lies, hidden secrets, and a tragic event that nearly destroyed her family and threatens a close friendship.
Finding Eliza is a mix of contemporary and historical fiction. You’ll meet and fall in love with Lizzie’s grandmother and her cohorts—The Gals. (Think Steel Magnolias). Through the pages of the diary, you’ll travel back to the 1930s Georgia in the days of Jim Crow laws. Stephanie does an excellent job of dealing with the hate and turmoil that was unfortunately all too common in those days. What transpires is a powerful story of forgiveness and redemption.
Stephanie Pitcher Fishman is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and professional genealogist specializing in Midwestern and Southeastern United States family history. She is the author of seven family history research guides in the Legacy QuickGuide series on topics including religious records, census records, and state-specific research techniques. She has also written articles and blog posts for websites such as Archives.com and was a co-founder of The In-Depth Genealogist. She is also an active member of the Ohio Genealogical Society volunteering by lecturing on topics such as Plain Religions, Quaker research, and introducing family history to children.