Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Reader's Opinion: On Tour with Michelle Muriel, Author of ESSIE'S ROSES

Growing up in the Deep South during the years leading to the Civil War, two young girls find freedom on a hillside overlooking Westland, an Alabama plantation. Essie Mae, an intuitive, intelligent slave girl, and Evie Winthrop, the sheltered, imaginative dreamer and planter's daughter, strike up a secret friendship that thrives amidst the shadows of abuse.

Told from the viewpoint of four women: Katherine Winthrop, kind mistress and unexpected heiress to her father's small, cotton plantation; Delly, her sassy and beloved house slave; Essie Mae, her slave girl; and Evie Winthrop, Katherine's only child, Essie's Roses tells of forbidden relationships flourishing in secret behind Westland's protective trees and treasured roses.

After scandal befalls Westland, Evie and Essie, aged nineteen, travel to Richmond, Virginia, to escape their abusive pasts. There, they face the gross indecencies and divisions leading to the War Between the States. Though the horrors of slavery and discrimination prompt action, Evie and Essie's struggles lie within. The secrets they hold and the pain of the past lead them away from one another and back home again.

A story about a black slave who frees a white woman, Essie's Roses reveals the innocence of children's friendships, the diverse meanings of freedom, the significance of a dream, and the power of love. In their efforts to save each other, will the women of Westland find the true freedom they desire?

Publication Date: March 23, 2015
Publisher: Little Cabin Books LLC
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0990938301
Pages: 346
Genre: Historical Fiction

Essie’s Roses Available At:

Praise for Essie's Roses
"Miss Muriel's novel is a thing of beauty. I loved the changing perspectives. It was refreshing to see various points of view of the same story, and the author did it seamlessly. I could tell the author took a great deal of time researching the era, and that is something I always appreciate in a historical novel. Overall, Essie's Roses will make you laugh and cry, but most of all, appreciate the innocence of children's friendship. Michelle Muriel should be very proud of her accomplishment in this novel and I will happily recommend it on to others." -Heather Osborne, Readers' Favorite

"...all I can say is wow, what an amazing read. What a well-written, completely believable and insightful book. Essie's Roses is a 'fictional' novel, yet it encompasses the same importance of message, and will certainly remind readers of their intrinsic knowledge of right versus wrong with the same quiet strength of conviction that Harriet Beecher Stowe provided to her readers when she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. Michelle Muriel has penned a wonderfully moving work of fiction. I fully expect to see Essie's Roses on the silver screen someday. Five Stars!"-Charline Ratcliff, Feathered Quill Book Reviews

From the Author
The journey of writing for me is more than filling that blank computer screen. It's more than spending years of research coming up with a unique story you pray will engage and entertain a reader. It's most defiantly more than sales numbers, reviews, or recognition. It's about learning, sharing, illuminating history in a unique way and inspiring others.

Yes, I truly hope you are entertained. After all, that is why we read fiction... to escape... to be transported somewhere else. And when that happens, even for a moment, it's magical. It's wonderful! But I also hope you're encouraged and inspired.

Stories and history have a way of coming together to inspire us, perhaps make us look at things differently. Look at ourselves. I chose to explore the diverse meanings of freedom in my first novel because ironically, living in the freest country in the world, freedom can be so allusive for many.

My desire is that the message of Essie's Roses will inspire you to be everything you've ever dreamed to be. To revisit dreams. Dust them off. Pay attention to them. Do them. To step out of fear. Silence critical, harsh, maybe even abusive voices. Stand up tall and be free.

Essie's Roses has taught me not only about history, but about myself. I'm changed forever writing this book. Many writers say it's a long, hard journey writing a book: it's a long hard journey knowing yourself. Discovering and knowing your worth. What is it tied to? When things are tied down they can't fly. Writing a book is easy.

No matter who is screaming, you are not. You are. You matter. Your dreams are not over. And if anything in your life is holding you back, you can face it, knock it down, banish it, release it, and never look back. So my dear friend and reader, thank you. Thank you for saying yes to Essie's Roses. Enjoy!

A Reader's Opinion
Authentic Southern dialect, beautiful setting, and a unique story await readers in Essie's Roses. Touching childhood friendship rooted in a moving story set before and after the Civil War, a time of great change, and that change is translated to the pages of the book. I'll admit I had a difficult time getting into the story, but that's my own fault as I had trouble following the dialect, which in turn broke my connection with the characters in the beginning. The writing is wonderful and the story well-paced. 

About the Author
Michelle Muriel holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, magna cum laude, and after graduating, she worked as a professional actress, a member of Actors' Equity
and The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists for almost twenty years, doing theater, voice-over, and commercial work. She is also a songwriter and musician. Michelle lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband and two quirky Border collies. She first developed Essie's Roses as a screenplay. This is her debut novel. She is currently at work on her second.


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