Thursday, November 6, 2014

Finding Eliza by Stephanie Pitcher Fishman

"It’s just a little family history. What could go wrong?"

When Lizzie Clydell agreed to join her grandmother at the church’s genealogy group meeting she expected nothing more than lemon squares and a few stories. Instead, an old diary leads Lizzie down a dusty road of lies, hidden family secrets, and a lynching that nearly destroyed her family.

Still strug­gling with the loss of her parents two decades ear­lier, Lizzie must con­front a painful past that others hoped was forgotten. Her journey becomes even more difficult as she realizes those around her may not be as they seem.

Can Lizzie make peace with the past or will it destroy the relationships she holds most dear?

Joining her is a group of lifelong friends known to Lizzie as The Gals. Headed up by her own grandmother, the group of women guide her through the past with humor, encouragement, and tough love as she learns about grace and forgiveness.

Set in small town Georgia, Finding Eliza is a contemporary story with flashes of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion as Lizzie digs into the 1930s of segregation, illegal interracial relationships, and fear of the KKK.

Reading this book was sort of a mixed bag of emotions for me.  It started off really slow and I found I could keep up with the story with just skimming.  Once Lizzie starts reading the journal of her great grandfather, things pick up a bit and the story became more interesting.  The story jumps between Lizzie and her life and the life of her great grandfather and great aunt through the journal entries.  I was sort of in and out of connecting with the story.  The journal entries and story there were by far the best part of this book and the places I found myself more invested.

Historically, this book is rooted in a dark time in the south.  The KKK was a sick business with evil people full of hatred leading it.  It honestly just turns my stomach to think that people can treat other people in such a brutal and senseless way.  It's so sad.  There were some detailed events described in this book (beatings, rape, lynching).  It was hard for me to read and it did not leave me feeling good at all.  At one point I had to put it down and walk away because I was feeling overwhelmed with dark.  The author captures the setting and feelings associated with it very well.  This quote from the book sums it all up.  "One sinful, dark soul can pollute a mass of people."

Family history is something I think everyone should delve into.  People from our past helped shape the world we know today.  I know my family history is full of amazing stories and inspiring lives.  Linking ourselves to those who have gone before is so important.  To remember, to learn, to understand.  To not make the same mistakes.  Family history is the motivating theme behind this book.  This is a Christian Fiction book and has some religious moments in it.  There is also a bit of mild swearing throughout.

Who am I? I'm a wrangler of words and a keeper of family stories. I'm powered by God & good coffee. My favorite book will always be Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier (and has been since I was in the eighth grade.) I'm in love with the Oxford Comma. I'm hopelessly addicted to having my heart ripped out by BBC dramas. I love to insert references to history, pop culture, and humor into my writing and conversation. I currently have purple hair. I believe Joss Whedon can strike creative lightning at whim.

Official Biography:
Stephanie Pitcher Fishman is an author 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 and is 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. Her first novel, Finding Eliza, combines everything that she loves: family history, historical fiction, and strong female characters.

To learn more, visit:

No comments:

Post a Comment

We bloggers live for comments! So, feel free to comment away! Thanks for dropping by.