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.”
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From award-winning actress Denise Nicholas: a ten-year anniversary reissue of her powerful and dramatic coming of age story set in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Freshwater Road has been called one of the best novels written about the Civil Rights Movement. Nicholas herself has been praised repeatedly over the years for her beautiful prose and is continually mentioned along with Alice Walker and Ernest J. Gaines as the most important novelists documenting this era.

“Surely the best work of fiction about the civil rights movement since Ernest J. Gaines’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” —The Washington Post
“What a wonderful surprise Denise Nicholas’s first novel is. Her textured characters unfold against the background of an historic encounter that was destined to change America forever.” —Sidney Poitier
“Vividly depicts the cost of activism. . . Nicholas has a genuine way with words, a keen grasp of visual and emotional metaphor, and the novel illuminates the internal consequences of institutionalized racism and the often suppressed connections between South and North.” — Chicago Tribune
“Breathtaking. . . Perhaps the best work of fiction ever done about the civil rights movement.” —Newsday (New York)
“In Freshwater Road, Denise Nicholas brings alive all the colors and emotions of the civil rights movement during the perilous adventure that was Freedom Summer.” —Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Get your copy of Freshwater Road at Agate Publishing or Amazon. Also available on audio.



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