New Novel Available on June 14, 2022
Dead Letters from Paradise, Ann McMan’s newest novel will be exclusively available in paperback and eBook formats at Bywater Books on June 14th, 2022.
And, it will be available everywhere eBooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks are sold on June 28, 2022.
The audible audiobook will be read by Christine Williams.
A spinster postal investigator for the Winston-Salem Dead Letter Office finds herself enmeshed in the mystery of solving who is sending undeliverable letters to the Moravian community’s 18th-century hortus medicus.
It’s April 1960 and Gunsmoke is the most popular show on TV. Elvis Presley tops the Billboard charts. A charismatic young senator named John F. Kennedy is running for president. And, in North Carolina, four young Black men sit down at a Woolworth’s lunch counter and demand service. Enter Esther Jane (EJ) Cloud, a forty-something spinster who manages the Dead Letter Office at the Winston-Salem post office. EJ leads a quiet life in her Old Salem ancestral home and spends her free time tending the town’s 18th-century medicinal garden.
One sunny Spring morning, EJ’s simple life is turned upside down when the town’s master gardener unceremoniously hands her a packet of handwritten letters that have all been addressed to the garden and a woman who does not exist. This simple act sets in motion a chain of events that will lead EJ on a life-altering quest to uncover the identity of the mysterious letter writer—and into a surprising head-on confrontation with the harsh realities of the racial injustice that is as deeply rooted in the life of her community as the ancient herbs cultivated in the Moravian garden.
When EJ is forced to read the letters to look for clues about the anonymous sender, what she discovers are lyrical tales of a forbidden passion that threaten to unravel the simple contours of her unexamined life. EJ’s official quest soon morphs into a journey of self-discovery as she becomes more deeply enmeshed in the fate of the mysterious letter writer, “Dorothea.” Her surprising accomplice in solving the mystery of the letters becomes one, Harrie Hart: a savvy, street smart ten-year-old, wielding an eye patch and a limitless supply of aphorisms. Together, Harrie and EJ make seminal pilgrimages to the tiny town of Paradise to try and uncover the identity of the mercurial sender and, ultimately, learn a better way to navigate the changing world around them.
Dead Letters from Paradise will be available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook formats.
Check out Dahlia Adler’s exclusive cover + excerpt reveal of Dead Letters from Paradise on her LGBTQ Reads blog.
Early Praise for Dead Letters From Paradise:
“From one of our best—a blend of literary mystery and history in a pitch-perfect evocation of a pivotal year of growth in our nation. Featuring a solitary woman and the new, sassy, ten-year-old neighbor who opens the world to her, this tender, humane story illuminates the nature of discovery and courage.” —Katherine V. Forrest, author of Curious Wine and the Kate Delafield Mystery Series
“If you’re looking for hardcore bullets, booze, bodies, blonds, and blood—this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re after a beautifully crafted story, one that blends elements of mystery, history, and romance, I guarantee this clever, intelligent and surprisingly gentle novel will not disappoint.” —Ellen Hart, Mystery Writers of America Grand Master
“Within the construct of a fascinating mystery, Ann McMan asks important questions and unflinchingly implores us to explore our own ideas about who we are, where we come from, and the assumptions we make. Rich language, characters to root for, and a precocious ten-year-old from whom we could all learn a great deal. Brava!” —Lynn Ames, award-winning author of Secrets Well Kept
“Dead Letters from Paradise is a brilliantly wrought, multi-layered work made sweet and tender by an emerging community of loving and lovable characters. The richness of Ann McMan’s achievement has seldom been equaled in contemporary lesbian literature.” —Lee Lynch, trailblazing author of The Swashbuckler