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Finding Eliza and the Power of Family History

What happens when a genealogist turned writer takes on the world of fiction? You get a beautifully moving story that reflects the heart and soul of family history, you get Finding Eliza, a book that belongs on every family historian’s summer reading list.

Stephanie Pitcher Fishman is a well known genealogist and the co-founder of the digital magazine
The In-Depth Genealogist and now the author of her debut novel and first work of fiction, Finding Eliza. I had the pleasure of getting a first and early look at her new book and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Once you pick up Finding Eliza you’ll be gracefully swept in to the world of Lizzie Clydell.  In this beautifully written story about family secrets and the power they hold, Stephanie introduces us to Lizzie, a young southern woman struggling as she approaches the anniversary of the death of her parents. Her grandmother intervenes and introduces Lizzie to an old bible and a family secret that proves to be very powerful. Lizzie soon learns the cost her family bared during an epic time in American History of interracial relationships and 1930’s segregation. 

Stephanie possesses the talent to transport us to another time and from the very first chapter you can taste the sweet tea and lemon bars while your feet are firmly planted in the red Georgia clay. Finding Eliza introduces us to charming relatable characters that Stephanie effortlessly brings to life on the page. It is the very characters of Gran and her gal pals and their strong-arming Lizzie into their genealogy group that convinces you; you’ve met these ladies before. I’m certain you’ll see yourself or maybe a fellow genealogist in the characters Stephanie lovingly calls “The Gals.”

Don’t confuse Finding Eliza with the influx of genealogical crime novels that are emerging almost daily. Finding Eliza while a genealogical mystery brings something different, a literary feel and a historical element that separates it from the other genealogical mysteries on the market today.  
You’ll laugh and cry with these charming characters as Stephanie effortlessly transitions the reader from the present story to a turbulent and confusing time. Stephanie compels the reader to know more and keeps you reading as she moves you back in time through the pages of the family bible. While at times, I did find a disconnect with Lizzie’s outward reaction to news; at moments, it seems excessive, Finding Eliza is an engaging story with characters and a storyline that are relatable and compelling.

While this is a fictional story, Stephanie has captured what many family historians believe about their genealogy research, it has the power to reach out and teach us, not just about the past but about ourselves. Family history is not just about finding our ancestors in documents but finding a piece of ourselves in their stories, this is the soul of family history. Stephanie Pitcher Fishman delivers this message beautifully in Finding Eliza.

Join us tomorrow when I interview Stephanie and we get to know the author, her writing process and her inspiration for Finding Eliza.

Want to add Finding Eliza to your summer reading list? We’re giving away two copies either in Kindle or book form, following tomorrow's interview post. For an added chance to win, you can head over to Goodreads, where the author is offering an opportunity to win a Kindle version of the book.