Happy Wednesday! Continuing until October 28th (culminating with a list of winners), I have the privilege of featuring all of the 2021 The Christy Award Finalists! Today I’m featuring Michelle Shocklee and her historical fiction Christy Award finalist book Under the Tulip Tree! You can check out a list of all the finalists HERE.
UNDER THE TULIP TREE
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction / Dual Timeline
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: September 8, 2020
Sixteen-year-old Lorena Leland’s dreams of a rich and fulfilling life as a writer are dashed when the stock market crashes in 1929. Seven years into the Great Depression, Rena’s banker father has retreated into the bottle, her sister is married to a lazy charlatan and gambler, and Rena is an unemployed newspaper reporter. Eager for any writing job, Rena accepts a position interviewing former slaves for the Federal Writers’ Project. There, she meets Frankie Washington, a 101-year-old woman whose honest yet tragic past captivates Rena.
As Frankie recounts her life as a slave, Rena is horrified to learn of all the older woman has endured—especially because Rena’s ancestors owned slaves. While Frankie’s story challenges Rena’s preconceptions about slavery, it also connects the two women whose lives are otherwise separated by age, race, and circumstances. But will this bond of respect, admiration, and friendship be broken by a revelation neither woman sees coming?
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Also available to read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited
I asked the author…
What do you most want your readers to take away from Under the tulip tree?
When I first read the slave narratives, as they’re called, I felt drawn to the word-for-word and often heart-wrenching interviews of former slaves. I wondered what it would have been like to sit at the feet of someone who’d not only lived but survived one of the most shameful practices in history, hearing the story of their life unfold in their own words. As a lifelong student of history, I’ve come to understand that everyone has a story to tell. Some, like those in the narratives, are difficult to hear, but that shouldn’t stop them from being told. Thankfully, the powers-that-be back in 1936 agreed.
My hope is readers of Under the Tulip Tree will feel as though they’re sitting in Frankie’s tiny living room, listening with rapt attention as she tells us her story. A story that is based on many of the slave narratives themselves. It isn’t always a pretty tale, but there are beautiful truths woven throughout the pages. I know each reader will take away something different from the book, but I also hope that the power of story, the grace of forgiveness, and a knowledge of God’s presence through the darkest moments of life will resonate in hearts and minds long after the final page is turned.
Michelle Shocklee is the author of several historical novels and is a Christy Award and Selah Award finalist. Her work has been included in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, magazines, and blogs. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of two grown sons, she makes her home in Tennessee, not far from the historical sites she writes about. Visit her online at www.MichelleShocklee.com
Michelle Shocklee is offering one of my readers your choice between a signed, print copy of Under the Tulip Tree now OR a signed, print copy of Count the Nights by Stars when it releases in March 2022! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read the historical fiction Christy Award finalist Under the Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee? Or, if you’ve read it already, what did you love about it?