At First Light
By Vanessa Lafaye
A story of an epic love and an unsolved murder from the author of the Richard and Judy Summer Book Club hit, Summertime
1993, Key West, Florida. When a Ku Klux Klan official is shot in broad daylight, all eyes turn to the person holding the gun: a 96-year-old Cuban woman who will say nothing except to admit her guilt.
1919. Mixed-race Alicia Cortez arrives in Key West exiled in disgrace from her family in Havana. At the same time, damaged war hero John Morales returns home on the last US troop ship from Europe. As love draws them closer in this time of racial segregation, people are watching, including Dwayne Campbell, poised on the brink of manhood and struggling to do what's right. And then the Ku Klux Klan comes to town...
Inspired by real events, At First Light weaves together a decades-old grievance and the consequences of a promise made as the sun rose on a dark day in American history.
Includes the first chapter of Summertime, Vanessa's debut novel.
Vanessa Lafaye was born in Tallahassee and raised in Tampa, Florida, where there were hurricanes most years. She first came to the UK in 1987 looking for adventure, and found it. After spells of living in Paris and Oxford, she now lives in Marlborough, Wiltshire, with her husband and three furry children. Vanessa leads the local community choir, and music and writing are big parts of her life.
- Other details
- Publication date:
01 Jun 2017
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I loved it! I was completely riveted to this book, and couldn't put it down. Such a heartbreaking, beautiful story, told with such style and panache. It really brought Key West at that time alive for me - all the wildness, the vitality, the brutality, injustice and beauty were recreated with a mesmerizing clarity, and embodied in characters who lived and breathed. I could not put it down — Katherine Webb, bestselling author of The Legacy
Brilliantly paced and utterly immersive, I savoured every sentence of this wonderful novel. Vanessa Lafaye's vivid prose transported me to 1919 Key West, with its brothels and bars, beaches and swamps, conjuring a place where love can flourish - but danger lurks. At First Light uncovers a disturbing era of American history, offering an unflinching insight into the dark and bizarre world of the Ku Klux Klan. While the political backdrop is fascinating, it never overwhelms the driving force of the novel - a love story which is both tragic and uplifting — Juliet West, author of The Faithful
With characters and a story as warm and colourful as its Key West setting, Vanessa Lafaye's At First Light illuminates a shady period of American history with panache, style and a hearty punch to the gut. In Alicia Cortez she has created one of the most engaging heroines to walk across the pages of a historical novel in a long while — Jason Hewitt, author of Devastation Road
I loved this dark yet sunlit story of love and revenge, set against a fascinating backdrop of convergent events — Lissa Evans, author of Their Finest
An unputdownable, intriguing story of vengeance with tragedy at its heart — Fanny Blake, WOMAN AND HOME