2 Books Published by Terra Nova Books on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about Once Upon a Lie by Michael R. French Once Upon a Lie

by Michael R. French
Terra Nova Books (Mar 15, 2016)
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“Girl. Boy. White. Black. Two-parent family. Orphan. Rich. Desperately poor… The rights and privileges we claim for ourselves, we cannot deny to others unless we would be hypocrites.”
—LuAnn Braley, Blogger, Black Porchervation

“I couldn’t get enough, each page pulled me deeper into their story. I really enjoyed the alternating chapters, it made the book more complex...There were many surprises that shocked me. They were hidden perfectly and jumped out at the right moment. Once Upon a Lie is great! Five stars!”
—Emily C, Blogger, The Book Adventures of Emily

“Once Upon a Lie debunks the theory that you are a product of your environment. In this literary fiction novel, we have two characters who are absolute polar opposites. From their race, family dynamics, to the stability level of their homes… If you want a thought-provoking & intellectual read about love and the struggle of real life, pick this book up!”
—Bradley Knox, Blogger, Hogwash

Once Upon a Lie is both a family drama and a crime drama, as well as an exploration of interracial love, mother-daughter relationships, and redemption through courage.

Once Upon a Lie is about two strangers who become unlikely friends, only to unintentionally put each others life in jeopardy. Jaleel Robeson, a gifted, eighteen year old black man, falsely accused of murdering his father in a small Texas town, is on the run. He assumes a new identity in 1980s Los Angeles as a successful student on his way to college. Alexandra Baten, a restless sixteen year old white girl, lives in a privileged Toluca Lake family but feels trapped by her parents’ values.

One weekend, she rides her bike into a run down neighborhood, meeting a young black man selling lemonade. Thus begins a friendship between opposites, at least on the surface, but they learn they have more in common than they imagine. Told from each character’s point of view in alternating chapters, we become involved in a gripping tale of two Americas where discontent and violence always lurk under the surface. When they erupt, no one is safe.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder by Michael R. French The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder

by Michael R. French
Terra Nova Books (Jan 15, 2013)
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Life for five-year-old Will Ryder is defined by a face left horribly disfigured by fire. Though his English professor father and precocious sister comfort and support him, the mother who abandoned them all can never be forgotten.

Growing up, Will believes that looking at him is what drove her away. When a psychologist urges him to explore his memory of the fire, he chooses instead to suppress its pain and trauma. Will takes up painting for both solace and a refuge from bullying at school, and finds a path that offers a different kind of struggle—to find his own identity as an artist and a man.

His talent brings his mother, now a famous abstract expressionist, back into his life, and he discovers the real reason she fled from her family. Despite warnings from his father, he allows her role in his life to grow, leading to unexpected opportunity and a strange bond shaped by the artistic fires that drive them both.

Struggling to develop his ability, he must choose between the philosophies and ideals of his two very different parents—the father who raised him with loving care and the mother who considers feelings and emotions only roadblocks on an artist’s creative path.

Will’s talent grows as he acts out his anger. Struggling in the competitive art world of Chicago and New York, he desperately seeks his mother’s love and acceptance but instead must live with the only help she is able to give: subsistence money and the harsh counsel that has painfully shaped her own life.

An artist’s true way, she insists, must be through adversity. A brutal physical attack that leaves his family in crisis, and an eccentric girl whose strange wildness he comes to love, help lead Will to a series of bold, cathartic, searingly honest self-portraits?embracing the face he’s always run from.