Six years ago, Shiloh Ray and her brothers escaped enslavement at a Confederate camp during the Civil War. Now they enjoy their freedom by working at a saloon they own in Choctaw Territory. Though Shiloh hasn’t seen the soldier who’d helped them steal away since then, he was never far from her mind…or her heart. When the soldier reenters her life at the same time the new doctor in town sets his sights on her, Shiloh must decide to revisit her past or prepare for a new future.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. “In her rich, absorbing debut, actress Nicholas (Room 222; In the Heat of the Night) follows a young woman South to “trench Mississippi, gutbucket Mississippi” during the summer of 1964. The daughter of a Detroit bar owner/numbers runner and his estranged, class-conscious ex-wife (whose light complexion enables her to pass as white), Celeste Tyree has enjoyed a comfortable, sheltered middle-class life for all of her nearly two decades. But when activists talking of nonviolent revolution visit her Ann Arbor college campus, she determines to go South to help register blacks to vote. It’s a decision she shares with her stern father, Shuck, in a “By the time you read this” letter, and Shuck’s self-identification as a race man wars with his concern for his daughter. Part of what drives wide-eyed Northerner Celeste is her sense that her life little matches common black experience; her work in Mississippi is an attempt to validate her identity as a black woman as much as it is a journey to help lift the veil of oppression. Nicholas tests her protagonist’s mettle in multiple ways, and Celeste finds previously untapped reserves of strength, learning lessons about activism and secrets about her own family. Sometimes gorgeous, sometimes terrifying, this novel marks the debut of a talented writer.”