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AJC, Richmond Times-Dispatch review Forsaken by Ross Howell Jr.: “An unforgettable debut novel”

Forsaken by Ross Howell Jr.Forsaken by Ross Howell Jr. had an auspicious publishing debut this week, with stellar reviews from the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in addition to being featured in O. Henry Magazine and The Charlotte Observer. The outstanding notices herald Ross Howell Jr.’s author tour; he will stop at dozens of bookstores and libraries throughout the South, and will be a guest presenter at several book festivals, beginning February 4.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch calls Forsaken, “An example of historical fiction at its best — and proof that fiction sometimes can reveal truth to greater effect than journalism or history. Forsaken generates anger, and pity, and ultimately hope. And it will leave you in awe of Howell’s deft hand in rendering a story of the benighted past that finds resonance in the present.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution adds, “A story unearthed from old newspapers, a searching look at the facts, eloquent testimony and behind-the-scenes evidence: Forsaken is the fair trial Virginia Christian never had, in which the innocent are justly treated, the guilty finally charged. Ross Howell Jr. captures the atmosphere of early 20th-century Hampton, Virginia, from courthouse to countryside, as vividly as he does its seething, racial inequities. An unforgettable debut novel.”

O. Henry Magazine’s Bookshelf column featured a profile of Ross Howell Jr. In the piece Howell recalls growing up in segregated Floyd County, Virginia. He talks about coming across the case of Virginia Christian while researching another crime, and discovering the dissertation of Dr. Derryn Moten, now acting chair of the history department at Alabama State University. An excerpt from Forsaken follows the interview with Howell.

The Charlotte Observer features a quote from novelist Jill McCorkle, who says that in Forsaken Howell has “vividly recreated a sensational crime firmly rooted in history.”

Forsaken is available from NewSouth Books or your favorite bookstore.