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Full Recommendations

George Singleton

Author of Staff Picks

"Somewhere between Scout Finch and Mattie Ross comes the remarkable voice of Adeline Green in Susan Beckham Zurenda’s Bells for Eli. This is a heartwarming story of two families, their triumphs and tribulations, all of it enveloped, really, in love and compassion. Ms. Zurenda knows the human heart, and her narrator knows the human soul."

Jill McCorkle

Author of Life After Life

"Bells for Eli, Susan Beckham Zurenda's finely detailed, debut novel, paints a vivid portrait of Adeline Green who is growing up in the seventies and maneuvering class differences, peer pressure, and first love. The sexual confines of her southern town as well as taboo family secrets from the past, bring her face to face with life changing decisions and losses in ways both moving and profound."

Cassandra King Conroy

Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author of five novels and the memoir Tell Me A Story: My Life with Pat Conroy

"A stunning debut, Bells for Eli establishes Susan Beckham Zurenda as one of the most exciting new voices in Southern fiction. In this tender, beautifully-rendered novel, the powerful connection between cousins Delia and Eli takes them on a journey fraught with longing, desire, and heartbreak. Through loss, Delia comes to understand that the bonds of love can never truly be broken."

Ann Hite

Award winning author of the Black Mountain series and Roll Away The Stone, a granddaughter's memoir of racism and madness

"Susan Beckham Zurenda is a vibrant new Southern voice. Bells for Eli, her debut novel, will remind readers of Pat Conroy’s rich storytelling. Vivid and Beautiful. The book will capture the hearts of those who love the South and in particular South Carolina."

Mary Alice Monroe

Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author of The Summer Guests

"Susan Beckham Zurenda’s exquisite debut novel transports readers into the small-town South of a supposedly simpler time and place where tragic circumstances and malicious consequences shouldn’t happen. With genuine emotion and a mastery of atmosphere and action, Bells For Eli is a consummate story of determination and love prevailing in a world where cruelty and exclusion threaten to dominate. Stories of the heart don’t get any better than this."

Kristina McMorris

New York Times best-selling author of Sold on a Monday and The Edge of Lost

"Bells for Eli is a compelling coming-of-age tale set in a South Carolina small town during the 1960s and ‘70s, an era rife with rebellion, passion, and change. Zurenda’s skillful writing and depth of characters swiftly pulled me into this unique story and didn’t let go until its heartrending final pages. A memorable, atmospheric novel of love, friendship, and bonds that surpass all reason."