Praise for TROUBLE THE WATER
I just finished reading Trouble the Water. It kept me turning the pages, one after another. I loved the goodness of the character Robert, his courage and kindness, the complexity of his relationship with the McKees. I loved returning to the low country, and my God, that writing toward the end about the tides: “When the tide is out, all the way out, you can smell creation…” That passage made me breathless. ~ Robin Oliveira, author of My Name is Mary Sutter
With this stunning debut novel, Rebecca Bruff establishes herself as an exciting new voice in historical fiction. ~ Cassandra King Conroy, author of Moonrise, and Founding Honorary Chair of the Pat Conroy Literary Center
A must-read, Trouble the Water is a beautifully-crafted novel inspired by the powerful life of Robert Smalls, a brave American hero who was born into slavery and left us all a tale worth telling. Debut author, Rebecca Bruff, has made her mark with this exceptional examination of family, freedom, and what it really means to fight for the light. ~ Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials
Rebecca Bruff has told the remarkable story of the life and times of Robert Smalls. Escaped slave, Civil War combat hero and natural political leader of the Sea Island freedmen. Using all available scholarship, the author has created a believable and sensitive portrait of Smalls and the characters, black and white, who created a true American hero. Trouble the Water may become a Carolina classic. ~ Lawrence S. Rowland, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Univ. of South Carolina Beaufort
In her brilliant new novel, Trouble the Water, Rebecca Dwight Bruff skillfully uncovers an American odyssey, long lost in the camouflage of history. It is the unlikely journey of Robert Smalls, born a slave in Beaufort, South Carolina. While suffering the heartache and horrid indignities of chattel slavery, Smalls dreams of freedom for himself and his family. In what has to be one of the most daring and nail-biting escapes ever attempted in the low country, Smalls succeeds in changing the lives of many while becoming a Civil War hero and a paragon of civic leadership. Bruff gifts her readers a stunningly dramatic narrative. Gripping, heartrending and at last, inspirational. A testimony to hope through the darkest of times and a testimony to the triumph of the human spirit, not soon to be forgotten. Kudos to Rebecca Dwight Bruff! ~ Jeffrey Blount, award-winning author of two novels, Almost Snow White, winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and Hating Heidi Foster, winner of the 2013 Readers Favorite Book Award for young adult literature, and Emmy award-winning television director and a 2016 inductee to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.
Publication date: June 4, 2019!
Inspired by the true story of an unsung American hero, Trouble the Water navigates the rich tributaries of courage, family, betrayal, faith, forgiveness, and redemption. In this inspiring, layered, and ultimately satisfying journey, Robert Smalls — born enslaved and witness to both great privilege and great suffering — grows up alongside his owner’s daughter and the dangerous son of a firebrand secessionist. At the age of 12, he’s sent to work in Charleston, where he loads ships and learns to pilot a cotton steamer. When the Civil War erupts and the cotton steamer becomes a confederate warship, he seizes a high-risk opportunity to pursue freedom for himself and the woman and children he loves.
Fans of My Name is Mary Sutter, Invention of Wings, and Song Yet Sung will want Trouble the Water to share the bookshelf.