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Missing Isaac

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  631 ratings  ·  205 reviews
There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse's stunning debut, Miss ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 2nd 2018 by Fleming H. Revell Company
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Average rating 4.29  · 
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 ·  631 ratings  ·  205 reviews

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This was a win from for my honest (albeit late) review. Missing Isaac takes place in Glory, Alabama, during the mid 1960s when the country was exploding with racial strife, war protests, and political assassinations. Glory seems gloriously untouched by most of this news, which may be what I felt was missing from a book that has been tagged as historical fiction (as well as Christian fiction).

Pete McLean is the only child of a wealthy widowed farm wife, with Isaac being their bla
"Life throw (sic) you a hairpin turn sometimes - ain't nothing you can do but keep drivin' and try to keep it in the road."

This do know, I GREATLY liked this heartfelt, thought-provoking, enthralling story. Companionably readable, this is a storyteller's story, rich in atmosphere, colorful characters, culture-essence dialogue and a kinship storyline.

"All along the three-mile drive, every car and truck that they met pulled over to the side of the road in a silent show of respect. Ever since he w
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookish
Missing Isaac is a vivid portrait of a community in the 1960s South, concentrating on the story of a boy growing up and learning about class, love, family, faith, and community.

In the opening scene Pete's father has died in an accident; his field hand Isaac tried to save him. Isaac befriends Pete; later he disappears.

I expected Isaac's story to be the main one, but instead it is placed on the back burner while we watch Pete grow up. Looking for Isaac, Pete meets a girl from an isolated family
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Beautifully written debut. I was pulled in from the first page into the world of 1960s Glory, Alabama. I typically think of coming of age novels to be about women. Missing Isaac is the coming of age story of Pete McLean. Isaac is his best friend and as he grows through his teen years he has to do so without the benefit of Isaac nor his father.

Southern charm abounds in this lovely novel. So many fabulous secondary characters. Even those with cold hearts were well written.

With a style of writing that brings to life a Southern town of Glory, this author achieved many emotions in one book. Most of all was the laughter I experienced while watching Pete and Dovey grow close to one another, and Lila and John explore their different relationship. Then there was Geneva who literally had me choking back bursts of laughter. Talk about a woman who knows how to get her own way!!

The beginning of the book pulled me in, especially the interaction with Pete and Isaac. There was
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable debut novel that highlights a slice of Southern living back in the 1960s. Missing Isaac is a coming of age story that put me in mind of the Waltons and I'm not quite sure I can explain why. Because this isn't a large family struggling to eke out a living in the Depression Era. Pete is an only child and though his family are farmers, they are the wealthy kind. I guess it's the southern small town atmosphere and a young man growing up and learning hard lessons along the way that creat ...more
Maureen Timerman
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This is a debut novel by this author, and it sure won’t be my last to enjoy by her, she sure has won me over, a read that felt like I was watching as this story unfolded.
There is a lot of pain and heartache here and when we face growing up in the 1960’s Alabama, and meet prejudice head on. This is Pete’s story and his family that found the town of “Glory”, the setting of this story.
While the author has us walking in Pete’s shoes, we experience and walk with others in this community, and learn a
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy discovering new author’s stories and debut author Valerie Fraser Luesse’s story, Missing Isaac, is one for the keeper shelf. When I first started this story I really did not know what I was getting into. I was happily surprised by this novel and its message of love and community that was written between its pages.

As the title suggests, we are introduced to a young boy, Pete, who has latched on to his father’s field hand, Isaac, after some terrible circumstances. Isaac is like the big br
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won, real-book
I enjoyed this book so much and I can't really put my finger on exactly why. The writing was done really well and the plot had a little bit of everything - tragedy, murder, mystery, young love, found love - but I think it was how well drawn the characters were that really endeared me to this story. The author has a easy talent at creating characters that are instantly familiar without ever forcing anything on the reader. Each of the characters in the book were given the same amount of fluid and ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A coming of age and slice of life story, not my typical choice, but there were two simple romance threads that kept me happy. :) Especially the older couple's. The title made me think there would be more to the search than there was and the cover and first chapters made me think this was a story of a young boy (which I don't think I would have enjoyed as much as what the book truly turned out to be). The story extends over years and sees him into adulthood and other characters share a lot of the ...more
Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?
Pete McLean is a young man living in Glory, Alabama during the mid 60's. After school each day and all summer long he helps his grandfather and his father work the farm they own. In his family, black and white work along together to get the job done. When Pete's father dies suddenly and tragically, Pete quickly befriends Isaac who was his dad's right hand man. Isaac helps Pete through his grief my taking him away from the farm to go fishing or to grab a bite to eat. When Isaac goes missing witho ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
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I was so excited to start this debut novel from author Valerie Fraser Luesse. The first thing I usually notice about a book is its cover and I totally loved this one. Missing Isaacis a beautifully written story that takes place during the 1960’s in the small southern town of Glory, Alabama.

The main character was Pete, an eleven year old boy who loses his father to an accident at the beginning of the book.

Beth Erin
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full review on Faithfully Bookish

Southern rural community culture plays an essential role in Missing Isaac, the setting is more than a simple canvas for this story to be painted on. It is the South and the collective pride and prejudices of her people that form the foundation and framework of this immersive experience. 

Pete McLean is just a nice young man and I'm sure his mama is over the moon proud of him. Isaac Reynolds might be employed by the McLean family but Pete is unconcerned by age, soc
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I see why this won a Christy Award! Poignant!
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to be honest here, which, of course, is what you're supposed to be with reviews. MISSING ISAAC is not a book I would've ever picked up to read. In fact, I was dismayed when it showed up in my mailbox because it is not a book I wanted to read. This book is a historical - to me, although I am not sure it would be considered one by the industry professionals, simply because it is set before my time. It starts with the mandatory historical book death, but moves on to an unlikely friendshi ...more
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've read in years. Beautifully written, intricately plotted, it hooked me from the first page. And, while I kept turning pages, anxious to see what would happen next, part of me didn't want it to end. This is a true keeper, a book to savor and read again and again.
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Missing Isaac is a good debut novel by Valerie Fraser Luesse. The characters are interesting with a wonderful setting. The plot, for the most part, was enjoyable but at times was slow and hard for me to get through. There are a few humor scenes that I liked between Pete and Dovey. They were fun together. Overall, I think Missing Isaac is worth a read and I am wondering what other stories the author will come up with next. I give this one 3 1/2 stars.

I received this book from the publisher. This
Although Missing Isaac was not what I expected at first, it turned out to be a great read. I loved the story and the characters. I will definitely read more from this author.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Absolutely loved this book. Review will go live on Jan. 6, 2018.

Set in the 1960s in rural Alabama, Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse is a quick-read that's rich in content, imagery, and emotionally-filled southern dialect. The book opens ... Full review posted:

Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: postlit
Meh. Not the worst thing I've ever read, but not great, either. I kept reading because I wanted to know what happened to Isaac, not because I cared about any of the other characters. Once that was revealed, I found it difficult to finish the book.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Missing Isaac is the first novel of Author Valerie Fraser Luesse. This is a very heart warming story that takes place in Alabama in the 1960's. When Pete's father dies, we see the relationship Pete has with his father's employee and friend, Isaac. Isaac often takes care of Pete, taking him fishing as well as secretly taking Pete to visit Isaac's family and friend. When Isaac goes missing, Pete and his grandfather are convinced things are not what law enforcement says. Pete leaves home early one ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Missing Isaac is Valerie Fraser Luesse’s first novel, and I hope it won’t be her last. Her writing style runs counter to some of the modern writing conventions. She uses dialect and non-standard spelling. There are unnecessary adverbs and repetition. The dialgoue tags are often clunky. The point of view is often distant, and slips into omniscient at times.

Yet it works despite these “errors”. Or perhaps because of them. When Pete’s father dies in a farm accident, Pete’s relationship with Isaac is
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a coming of age novel set in the South in the 1960s. It has everything in it that makes a novel great - well done characters, mystery, love and family. This is a debut for this author and I am looking forward to her next book based on how well I liked this one.

The novel starts in 1962, when 11 year old Pete loses his father in a farming accident. One of the workers on the farm, Isaac, tries to fill in for Pete's dad when he can - taking him fishing and sharing life lessons with him. Isaa
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I won this book from the BookishFirst site.
I was really excited to win this won because after my sneak peek, it was a book I wanted to read. It did not disappoint me.
When I first started reading, Pete is a child and idolises his father. His father works in the cotton fields, which is the family business. Not far into the book, Pete looses his dad from an accident in the cotton fields and this is where Isaac comes in. Isaac is a 30 year old black man who has worked for Pete's grandfather (daddy B
Darcia Helle
Valerie Fraser Luesse has a captivating writing style. With minimal words, she paints us a picture that places us right in the midst of the characters' world. The dialogue is exceptional, giving a strong sense of realism to the story.

But I didn't love the story as much as I thought I would.

Given the title and the book's description, I expected Isaac's disappearance to be a major part of the story. In truth, his disappearance only casts a vague shadow throughout most of the book. In fact, Pete w
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
This story encompasses much of life in the south in the 1960’s. While there is some strife and conflict, most of the story is positive and upbeat which makes for an enjoyable read.

Missing Isaac is billed as a coming of age story, which I do believe it is, not only for Pete but for his love interest, Dovey. The story follows Pete’s life from about 11 to 17 and how he reacts to the passing of his father; his friend Isaac that goes missing; and meeting the love of his life by chance while searching
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: librarything
I can see this book being adapted into a Hallmark movie. Unfortunately, it is not a book I enjoyed; it is much too saccharine.

In Glory, Alabama, in 1964, Isaac Reynolds, a black field hand goes missing. When Jack McLean, Isaac’s friend and employer, was killed two years earlier, Isaac took Pete, Jack’s son, under his wing and the two were almost inseparable. Thirteen-year-old Pete sets out to try and find out what happened to Isaac; in the process he finds a new friend and learns about the worl
Raechel Lenore
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
3.5 stars
Set in the south, “Missing Isaac” gave a very interesting look into life during the 1960’s, in a town where both rich and poor, black and white, consisted. What first drew me to this debut novel was the time period – I don’t see a lot of Christian fiction set during the 1960’s, so that immediately caught my attention along with the fact that I’ve been looking for more CF set during this time. :) However, this was primarily a southern 1960’s view and what they had to go through, not so
Nadine Keels
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it
In the 1960s in the southern town of Glory, Alabama, a black field hand, Isaac, disappears. Pete, who’s white, wealthy, and a young friend of Isaac’s, is determined to find out exactly what befell the missing man in Missing Isaac, a novel by author Valerie Fraser Luesse.

Well. Even with this novel’s title and the beginning, ending, and some pieces of the mystery in the middle, much of the book doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Isaac, or Pete’s connection to him. It’s a coming of age/love story
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern-fiction
For me, this book didn't live up to its promise. Set in the Alabama of the 1960's, the story revolves around the disappearance of Isaac, a black field hand. Isaac was the unlikely friend of young Pete McLean, grandson of Ned Ballard. Daddy Ballard headed a wealthy family by small town Glory, Alabama, standards. Isaac rescued the young Pete when his father died in a farm accident - fishing and conversation helped the lost boy find his way. Race and class came into play in the search for Isaac as ...more
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Bookish First Rea...: Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse 1 3 Oct 22, 2019 09:56AM  

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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 w ...more

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