The Hidden Light of Northern Fires

Publisher Thomas Dunn Books/St. Martin,  August 29, 2017

A novel rooted in the remarkable, but little-known, true history of the only secessionist town north of the Mason Dixon Line.

When escaped slave Joe Bell collapses in her father’s barn, Mary Willis must ward off Confederate guerrillas and spies, Joe’s vengeful owner, and even her own brother to help the handsome fugitive cross to freedom.

Mary has always been an outcast, an outspoken abolitionist woman in a town of bounty hunters and anti-Union farmers. Helping runaways is the only thing that makes her life in Town Line bearable. As the countryside is riled by the drumbeat of civil war and the promise of an extravagant bounty for the wounded fugitive, Mary finds herself drawn to the stranger in forbidden ways. When rebels cross from nearby Canada intent on killing him, they bring the devastation of the brutal war to the town and the farm, and threaten to destroy all that Mary loves.

“Splendid—a distinctive clear-eyed perspective on a fresh corner of the Civil War.” —Charles Frazier, New York Times bestselling author of Cold Mountain

An instant classic that announces the arrival of a major talent, fully matured.”– Da Chen, New York Times bestselling author

“A wise and timely book.” —Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

 An utterly believable possible past…brought to vivid life through the lens of imagination.”
Natasha Trethewey, author of Native Guard, winner of 207 Pulitzer Prize

 Astounding. Mary Willis makes Scarlet O’Hara look like a whiny brat.” —Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City

 Pulses with visceral emotion…. A powerful and life-affirming story that asks the important question – are we meant to be free, and if so how? … a novel that will linger in the heart long after its last page.” —Patti Callahan Henry NY Times Bestselling author of The Idea of Love and The Bookshop at Water’s End

The Hidden Light of Northern Fires