Friday, June 22, 2018

Spotlight: Trouble the Water by Jacqueline Friedland

Trouble the Water
by Jacqueline Friedland

Publication date: May 8, 2018
Trade paperback ISBN 978-1-94300-654-0
338 pages
E-book ISBN: 978-1-943006-55-7

In TROUBLE THE WATER, Jacqueline Friedland’s gripping debut novel, seventeen-year-old Abigail Milton arrives in Charleston, South Carolina from England with only one small bag, but a lot to carry. Her family has fallen destitute and sent her away to ease their burden, and she carries this loss—and a dark secret—across the ocean with her. But Abby—fiery, strong-minded, and haunted—is determined to carve a humble life from her new opportunity in America.

Douglas Elling takes Abby in as a favor to her father, a dear family friend. Douglas has almost completely withdrawn from society, due to the untimely loss of his wife and only child two years earlier. Before the tragedy, whispers arose about him being an Abolitionist. He sought to fit in, if only to protect his underground activism. Now he remains a source of suspicion and an outsider by choice. Slowly—pulled from his isolation by the need to be polite to his charge, if nothing else—Douglas’s attempts to guide Abby rekindle his deeply buried hopes of improving people’s lives—and something in him awakens.

Set twenty years before the Civil War and filled with authentic detail about The Underground Railroad and the Abolitionist movement, TROUBLE THE WATER is a memorable and moving debut novel about painful histories, new hopes, social change, and second chances. 

Praise for Trouble the Water:

Best Regional Fiction – South

“… will seize readers from the first page and not let go.”—KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Fans of Paulette Jiles and Julia Quinn will adore this triumphant novel of intrigue, secrecy, and redemption.”—BOOKLIST

“With compelling characters, a charming peek into Charleston society, a heart-racing romance, rich historical detail, and an epilogue that will have you holding your breath, Friedland has written a well-crafted novel that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.”—Susie Orman Schnall, award-winning author of The Subway Girls, The Balance Project, and On Grace

“The complicated history of the antebellum South comes alive in Friedland's debut novel and offers readers an exciting and fast-paced literary journey that explores complicated relationships, the importance of friendship, and the necessary power of love.”—Kris Radish, best-selling author of A Dangerous Woman From Nowhere

“Friedland is a modern Bronte sister remixed with Kathleen Grissom or Leila Meacham. Trouble the Water is the riveting story of Abby, who travels across the sea, fleeing Liverpool, poverty, and an unsavory uncle, for Charleston, where a wealthy friend of her father, Douglas, lives. Douglas has pledged himself to the fight to end slavery, and for that, he has made the ultimate sacrifice. Abby fights inner demons and tries to find her place in Charleston high society while her brooding guardian reconciles the past and returns to his beloved cause. Lovers of Civil War-era historical fiction will rejoice at Friedland’s triumphant novel of love, friendship, and the most important issues of the day.”—Bethany Ball, author of What to do About the Solomons

“With a plucky heroine, a dashing hero, and the backdrop of the clandestine abolition movement in the antebellum South, Jacqueline Friedland masterfully weaves a tale full of passion and honor, duty and survival, evil and the beauty of basic human decency. Trouble the Water will make your heart pound and swell, and keep you reading well into the night. Highly recommended!”—Loretta Nyhan, author of I'll Be Seeing You, All the Good Parts, and Digging In

“In a narrative tapestry woven of brilliant threads of history and Drama, Jacqueline Friedland introduces her readers to seventeen-year-old British born Abigail Milton, her generous but reluctant benefactor, Douglas Elling and the complex world of antebellum Charleston. The evil of slavery, the nascent abolitionist movement, the courage of an operative of the underground railroad are explored against the background of the vanished world of debutante cotillions, social intrigue and the slow maturity and melding of skillfully drawn protagonists. Friedland’s research is impeccable, her writing fluid. Trouble the Water is that rare pedagogic novel that engages as it teaches.”—Gloria Goldreich, author of The Bridal Chair

About the Author:

Jacqueline Friedland holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from NYU Law School. She practiced as an attorney in New York before returning to school to receive her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in New York with her husband, four children, and a tiny dog. This is her first novel. Visit her online at or


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  1. This fascinating and profound novel interests me greatly. Thanks for this wonderful feature and giveaway.

  2. I loved the review! The book sounds amazing, and is one I would really enjoy reading.

  3. I like books set during the antebellum time period. I look forward to reading this book.

  4. I'd love to win this, thanks for the chance!


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