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About the book

In the autumn of 1941, amid rising racial tensions in Washington, D.C., Amelia McGee, a young woman of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish descent, and an outspoken pamphleteer for the NAACP, hastily sends her daughter, Ella, on a bus home to Georgia in the middle of the night accompanied by no one other than her dog. But before Ella can reach the safety of Hopewell County and the extended family awaiting her, a chance encounter leads her instead to the mountain homestead of Willie Mae Cotton, a hoodoo practitioner and former slave, and her partner, Mary-Mary Freeborn. As the child flourishes in their care, her true family history is cracked open, linking Ella’s present to the two women’s past, a lineage rooted in Hopewell County’s frontier days and the Cherokee’s expulsion from the land.

Told in five voices spanning a century, Glow transports the reader back to the arrival of pioneering ancestor Solomon Bounds, and forward again to the nation’s capital on the eve of World War II—when hundreds of African-American men are jailed for resisting the draft, Ella’s father among them. In this saga full of ghosts both real and imagined, Tuccelli reveals the underlying societal and political history of an enchanted pocket of the South, reminiscent of Edward P. Jones’s The Known World and Amy Greene’s Bloodroot.

A sweeping tale of resilience, rebellion, and the fiercest of all bonds—mother love—Glow offers a riveting new perspective on American history.
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