Review: Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

"The thought of his friend plowing cotton when he longed to sail the sea left a weight on Pete that he didn't know how to carry."(25)

Title: Missing Isaac
Author: Valerie Fraser Luesse
Publisher: Revell
Release Date:  January 2, 2018
Genre: 1960s Fiction / Literary Fiction
Links*: Amazon l Goodreads l Book Depository l CBD l Itunes

Isaac believed in luck. But from Pete's point of view, Isaac's luck had all run out.

When Pete McLean loses his father in the summer of 1962, his friend Isaac is one of the few people he can lean on. Though their worlds are as different as black and white, friendship knows no color. So when Isaac suddenly goes missing, Pete is determined to find out what happened--no matter what it costs him. His quest will lead him into parts of town that he knows only through rumors and introduce him to a girl who will change his life. What they discover together will change the small Southern town of Glory, Alabama--forever.

With vivid descriptions, palpable atmosphere, and unforgettable characters, debut novelist Valerie Fraser Luesse breathes life into the rural South of the 1960s--a place where ordinary people struggle to find their footing in a social landscape that is shifting beneath their feet.


There's something about lost, about moving on, but also about remembering. Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse is about mourning but also about celebrating life. Set in the southern town of Glory, Alabama in the 1960s, there are a lot of uncertainties.

Life is hard for many, and many kept their distance. Then there are those that embrace friendship, not based on social status or one's skin color, but of honesty and grace. I love seeing that really shine in this book.

Missing Isaac may at first sound like a quest to find someone lost, but I think it's also about finding the lost that's in yourself - finding out who you are, or at least who you want to be. I was taken in a loop when I realized that it's not about Isaac, but more about Pete. Who he is. Though I really enjoyed the friendship between Isaac and Pete in the early chapters, I also appreciate the journey Pete took, along with Dovey. Other characters like Aunt Babe (my favorite), Hattie and Daddy Ballard were all great characters that added just the right touch to this story. In all, Missing Isaac is poignantly profound that touches and reveals the heart.

". . . you must walk in the light. No good comes under cloak of darkness."(87)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.


Valerie Fraser Luesse is an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently a senior travel editor. Her work has been anthologized in the audio collection Southern Voices and in A Glimpse of Heaven, an essay collection featuring works by C. S. Lewis, Randy Alcorn, John Wesley, and others. As a freelance writer and editor, she was the lead writer for Southern Living 50 Years: A Celebration of People, Places, and Culture. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana's Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. Luesse earned her bachelor's degree in English at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and her master's degree in English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She grew up in Harpersville, Alabama, a rural community in Shelby County, and now lives in Birmingham.

CONNECT WITH VALERIE: websitefacebook

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository



  1. this is a good review. thanks
    quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

  2. I enjoyed Missing Isaac, and I highlighted so many great lines. I love your graphics!

    1. Thanks Iola. I can't take the credit. It was from Missing Isaac's website.


Thank you for commenting. If you don't have any of the accounts listed in the pull down menu, just comment using "Anonymous" and put your name/nickname in the comment. Happy reading!