Book Review : Missing Isaac

Valerie Fraser Luesse is not new to writing as she has been with Southern Living magazine for some time.  However, Missing Isaac is her first novel, and it is a wonderful story!

missing isaac

The story takes place in the 1960’s and is very much during racial tensions of that period.  Pete is a young boy who has to deal with the loss his father after a tragic accident in the cotton field.  However, his dear friend Isaac helps him navigate the loss.  Isaac and Pete’s father worked together, but were also the dearest of friends.

When Isaac disappears without a trace, Pete determines to find him and solve the mystery.  While searching, he encounters a young girl, Dovey, who lives in the woods with her extended family, almost hiding from the real world.

I really loved this story, and did not want to put it down.  The love that Pete shares with the people in his community sees no color, simply people.  He goes out of his way to love those that so many in his community avoid, and he grows into a man that chooses to always do the right thing.  I loved the way Pete and his family rise about the tensions of the time and do not let it change them.  I love the determination to solve a mystery, at whatever cost, to settle young man’s mind and heart.

There are multiple story lines going on, and each one is lesson in itself.  I loves Luesse’s story, Missing Isaac, and I look forward to reading more of her stories in the future.  Her experience of living in the south has given her imagination a multitude of settings as well as personal interactions over the years, that will make for some great characters!  She handles tough issues with candor and sensitivity that it can teach us all a few lessons in life.

This is a very clean and wonderful book to share with the young adults in the house, and I hope my boys read it so we can dig into some of the subjects addressed in the book!  There is a such a thread of redemption, forgiveness and love that I know they will enjoy the book and really hear a good message!!

NOTE : I received a copy of Missing Isaac in exchange for an honest review from Revell Publisher.


more about Missing Isaac

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.


Luesse_ValerieValerie 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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