Walsh (Becoming Bonnie) hits the jackpot with an impressive fictionalization of the life of Eleanor Dumont (formerly Simone Jules), a blackjack dealer in the Old West. In 1849 New Orleans, Simone, 19, is happy to be marrying trader David Tobin. But after Simone’s parents and sister die in a fire and David reveals his interest in taking over her father’s jewelry shop, Simone boards a ship bound for San Francisco for a fresh start. With a mind for numbers and memories of her mother playing 21, Simone endears herself to a gruff saloonkeeper when she brings in thousands of dollars at the blackjack tables, using her velvety feminine voice to throw the drunken gold panners off their game. A romance with Black freedman Arthur Reynolds is cut short after a New York merchant named Reuben Withers accuses Simone and Arthur of card sharping, then stabs him to death. Simone tracks Reuben across the West and sets up a gambling club in Nevada City, Calif., where she changes her name to Eleanor, earns the nickname “Madam Moustache,” and wonders if Reuben will show his face. Walsh weaves emotion and suspense with historical details of a woman persevering in the face of inequality as she finds a way to earn a living. Readers will relish Walsh’s fully developed portrait.
First reviewed on Publishers Weekly site on 7/14/21: https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-948018-95-1
"Walsh’s easy, flowing prose breathes life into colonial America.... Middle-grade historical fiction fans will be swept up in the bravery of one young woman’s fight to save her country against a British attack." - Publishers Weekly, Editor's Pick
Walsh (I Am Defiance) again brings a powerful woman from history to life with this middle-grade adventure featuring 16-year-old Revolutionary War hero Sybil Ludington. Based on true events, By the Light of Fireflies takes on George Washington’s inner spy ring in the heat of the battle between Patriots and Loyalists, spotlighting the role that young Sybil played during an all night, 40-mile ride through colonists’ territory to muster the militia against an impending British attack. In Walsh’s spirited depiction, Sybil is a courageous, quick-thinking Patriot who dreams of growing up to be something more than a farmer’s wife–and realizes that ambition is within her reach through the fight to advance the revolutionary cause.
Sybil’s father, Henry Ludington, is a Loyalist captain in name only and spends his free time helping Patriots spy on the British. When pressures mount, he enlists Sybil and her sister, Rebecca, to help decipher code written with invisible ink on letters bearing crucial information about the British army, its troops, and their planned maneuvers. This opportunity is a dream come true for Sybil, who idolizes Paul Revere and hopes for her own chance to prove her mettle–a chance that emerges when she gets asked to ride all night in a terrifying crusade to save her family and her country. “I didn’t realize it was weird for me to want to be brave or daring or courageous like a man was,” she memorably declares.
Walsh’s easy, flowing prose breathes life into colonial America. Readers will find themselves in the thick of the Revolutionary War as well as eighteenth-century living: Walsh uses period appropriate language (“Mama shook her head bigly”) and detail, such as a family strategy game of “Nine Man’s Morrice in the parlor,” to capture the feeling of the past, and her handling of the long ride is crisp and suspenseful. History-minded young readers will be roused by this stouthearted protagonist’s unflinching dedication.
Takeaway: Middle-grade historical fiction fans will be swept up in the bravery of one young woman’s fight to save her country against a British attack.
Great for fans of: Celeste Lim’s The Crystal Ribbon, Pam Munoz Ryan’s Riding Freedom, Augusta Scattergood’s Glory Be.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
Print Date: 05/31/2021
It's all because of the wonderful (so wonderful) support and excitement over Becoming Bonnie that I can announce: there's going to be a sequel, Being Bonnie!
I adore this story and these characters and I cannot wait to share the second half with my soon-to-be readers, which will focus on the depression desperation of Bonnie and Clyde, and the crime spree that made them world-famous American outlaws.
Becoming Bonnie hits shelves on May 9, 2017 and Being Bonnie will follow in the summer of 2018. Being Bonnie is up on Goodreads here, if you'd be so kind to add!
If you haven't yet added Becoming Bonnie on Goodreads, you can do so here! Becoming Bonnie is also available for preorder, including options for signed hardcovers. Please also consider signing up for my newsletter. I'm sending out the first one soon, and there may be some exclusive content and a giveaway of (hint, hint) this mug...
Now, finally, the official announcement from Publisher's Weekly!
Thank you, again. I'm so excited to share my version of Bonnie and Clyde's infamous story with you all! Also, sending so much gratitude to my agent, editor, and publisher for making my dreams a reality <3
Inspiring our kiddos is so important, and I'm so excited to work on a new middle grade series, Brave Like Me, with Scholastic that tells true stories of young woman, who at a young age, accomplished great feats of perseverance and bravery.
Here are the two official announcements from Publishers Weekly!
Give me a moment to catch my breath after writing that headline.
My agent, Stacey Glick, joked, "when it rains, it pours," and that's because only four days after selling Becoming Bonnie to Bess Cozby at Tor/Macmillan, Edyson Entertainment said they'd like to extend an offer to make Becoming Bonnie into a TV series.
Seeing your novel on TV or in film is every author's dream and I am beside myself with giddiness to *maybe* one day see Bonnie, Clyde, Blanche, and Buck come to life on the small screen.
I don't have many details to share right now, but I'll be sure to provide updates if/when they become available.
In the meantime, here's the official TV option announcement from Publishers Weekly!
First and foremost, I'd like to thank my agent, Stacey Glick, for making it possible for me to even write that headline. Her enthusiasm and dedication to this project is something in which I'll be forever thankful.
So what is this project? Becoming Bonnie is my debut historical novel that tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes part of the infamous Bonnie & Clyde duo doing the Roaring 20s. It also happens to be my debut! Wahoo!
I am beyond excited to be working with Bess Cozby from Tor/Macmillan, releasing Becoming Bonnie through their Forge imprint in Spring 2017. I was secretly pining for Bess ever since Stacey pitched her, and I couldn't have been happier when she proclaimed how she loved Bonnie as much as I did/do.
Without further ado: here is the official book deal announcement from Publishers Weekly *squees*
I'd also like to give special shout outs to my husband, Matt, my mom, Susanne, and my author friends, Carolyn Menke and Megan Herman, for their encouragement and support. God knows I wanted to give up many times. He also wouldn't let me.