At First Light

by Vanessa LaFaye

eBooks of the Month Family Drama Historical Fiction Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on At First Light

A heart-breaking, provocative, and powerful story, with love, murder, and justice sitting at the core. This tale was inspired by real events that occurred from 1919 to 1921 in Key West, Florida. The story starts in 1993 when a 96 year old woman shoots dead a Ku Klux Klan official and will say nothing but admit her guilt. The explanation for the shooting begins in 1919, when a mixed-race relationship crosses boundaries. The prologue fully captured my attention, I fell head first into the tale, and didn’t draw breath until the last page. Vanessa Lafaye has created characters who feel authentically real and very much alive. The descriptive detailing set the time and surroundings vividly and clearly in my mind. As understanding grew, so did the tickle of fear and foreboding for what was to come. ‘At First Light’ is a beautifully written tale, one that prods and provokes and yet encourages hope - highly recommended. Liz Robinson

Liz Robinson

At First Light Synopsis

Meet Alicia Cortez: survivor, healer...murderer?

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.

At First Light Press Reviews

An unputdownable, intriguing story of vengeance with tragedy at its heart -- Fanny Blake * WOMAN AND HOME *

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 *

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 *

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 *

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 *


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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781409155430
Publication date: 16/11/2017
Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781409155430
Publication date: 16th November 2017
Author: Vanessa LaFaye
Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 368 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Vanessa LaFaye

Vanessa LaFaye grew up in Tampa, Florida, but but made the UK her home from 1987. She worked for academic publisher Wiley in Oxford, commissioning online resources.  She detailed the impact of living with cancer in her popular blog Living While Dying, which was picked up in a number of media outlets such as the Daily Mail. She wrote two acclaimed historical novels, Summertime published in 2015 and First Light two years later, both published by Orion, with another recently acquired by HQ. She died in February 2018 aged 54.

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