First Line Friday — Missing Isaac

12 Jan

This week, First Line Friday is featuring Diversity. Books featuring characters of color, civil rights, or Martin Luther King, Jr. are being shared by other bloggers. Over the years my book club has read books that involve the fragile state of race relations in the United States. Sometimes difficult to read, many times challenging to our mindsets, these books have created thought-provoking discussions. Be sure to check out The Color of Justice by Ace Collins, A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow, and Snapshot by Lis Wiehl.

This week I am featuring By The Book’s February selection, Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse. Set in the American South in the 1960s, I anticipate that this one will be another great read. Please leave a comment with your first line and then head over to Hoarding Books to check out what other bloggers are sharing.



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.

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.


19 Responses to “First Line Friday — Missing Isaac”

  1. susandyer1962 January 12, 2018 at 10:19 am #

    Happy Friday!

    My First Line Friday comes from a book I will be reading later this month, The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane….

    I was born twice. The first time was on July 9 to Paul and Mimi Haas in Cleveland, Ohio. My mother died six years later.

    Have a great weekend and stay warm!

    • rbclibrary January 12, 2018 at 6:08 pm #

      Thanks! Have a great weekend!

  2. Beth Erin January 12, 2018 at 10:30 am #

    I’m diving into this book today! Great pick!

    • rbclibrary January 12, 2018 at 6:08 pm #

      Can’t wait to read your review!

  3. Becky January 12, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    I’ve heard great things about this book. I need to check this one out. Thanks for sharing!

    I’m sharing A Letter from Lancaster County by Kate Lloyd on my blog today, but I’m currently reading Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews so I’ll share that here.

    732 BCE (Spring)
    Judean Wilderness

    My friend Yaira said to be brave – but why? Brave or scared, we kept marching. She told me to be a big girl, not to cry, but I’m only five and I’ve seen big men crying.

    Happy Weekend!

    • rbclibrary January 12, 2018 at 6:08 pm #

      Wow! What a great opening. Another to put on the must-read list. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Suzie January 12, 2018 at 10:57 am #

    I finished this one last weekend. It wasn’t quite what I expected from the description, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

    The first line from the next book on my TBR list: Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke: Lightning crackled, splitting the night sky over Paris, illuminating letters painted on the bookstore window across the street: La Maison des Amis des Livre.

    • rbclibrary January 12, 2018 at 6:07 pm #

      Ooh! What a great first line!

  5. carylkane January 12, 2018 at 11:00 am #


    Night crept over the hills, smothering the landscape in a cocoon of darkness that would hide him in a few minutes. – Haven of Swans by Colleen Coble

    Happy Friday and Happy Reading!

    • rbclibrary January 12, 2018 at 6:06 pm #

      Colleen is a great author! Happy Friday!

  6. bellesmoma16 January 12, 2018 at 2:09 pm #

    So many people are reading this book right now. I have to check it out.

    Happy Friday!!!!

    Today on my blog, I am sharing the first line from the novel The Gift of the Inn by Golden Keyes Parsons. So here I will leave the first line from the book I am starting next, Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren.

    Chapter 1
    “Sierra should have brought marshmallows.”

    • rbclibrary January 12, 2018 at 6:06 pm #

      Yes she should have! Lol! Thanks for sharing!

  7. lelandandbecky January 12, 2018 at 2:19 pm #

    I love these Fridays & reading the first lines from all these books I’ve either enjoyed or want to read!

    My first line is from Rush by Jayme Mansfield:

    “I can’t stop shivering when I sleep alone.”

    • rbclibrary January 12, 2018 at 6:05 pm #

      Sounds sad or scary. Or both!

  8. Beware Of The Reader January 12, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    This is so poetic! Happy Friday 😉

    • rbclibrary January 12, 2018 at 6:05 pm #

      And have a great weekend!

  9. hjsnyder28 January 12, 2018 at 4:58 pm #

    Happy Friday!

  10. Paula Shreckhise January 12, 2018 at 8:23 pm #

    I just finished two books so…..
    I am just going to crack open Irene Hannon’s Dangerous Illusions:
    “ Hello Matt, long time no see”
    As the words slithered through the clammy night air, a jagged shaft of lightening illuminated the speaker’s face for one brief instant.

    • rbclibrary January 12, 2018 at 8:39 pm #

      That’s a great book! Hope you enjoy it.

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