Finding Eliza by Stephanie Pitcher Fishman
Publisher: Rebecca Hills Books
Published: June 2014
Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction / Mystery
Format: Kindle, 173 pages
Source: Author (In exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions are solely mine.)
“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. …
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.
(Image via Goodreads)
Finding Eliza is Stephanie Pitcher Fishman’s debut as a novelist. Many feel reading debut novels is risky. Not with Finding Eliza.
The author’s love of writing, words, and genealogy combine to give her readers a deep breath of fresh air. Like sitting beside a window with springtime breezes blowing.
One of the treats for me was the inclusion of Southern history in the days of Jim Crow laws and the KKK. I am not proud of either the Jim Crow laws or the organization calling itself the Ku Klux Klan. Yet, it was a time in the region of the country where I grew up misunderstood and misrepresented by many.
Through her main character, Stephanie provides a different perspective on the history in the South in the 1930s. Her character development, not only of Lizzie but also her grandmother and The Gals, provides lighter moments throughout the book and a bit of humor and unconditional love among these friends.
Central to Finding Eliza is Lizzie’s discovery of her grandfather’s diary including an account of her Great-aunt Lizzie’s relationship with an African-American young man, an unthinkable situation in the South of the 1930s. Strangely enough, not much was taught during my secondary school days about either the Jim Crow laws or the KKK. Like Lizzie’s grandparents and The Gals and many others, our school system hoped things like Eliza’s relationship with a young man with black skin would be forgotten.
Stephanie Pitcher Fishman deserves multiple kudos for pulling off a debut novel with multiple themes and characters so well.
If you love mystery, Southern historical fiction, and well-written novels, you will love Finding Eliza. I encourage you to pick up a copy. This book makes great summer reading as it is fast-paced and transitions smoothly between themes.