this is blissfield.
Can you really love someone more than anything on earth, your whole lifetime long? Stupid question. A child’s question, because Gideon was gone. His sister was gone. Nina and Gideon Price, like my Grandma, were fifteen years of gone.
Blissfield, North Carolina is a dead end town in the heart of empty.
Yet days after her 16th birthday Bethany Celeste Castle arrives in Blissfield from Akron Ohio, fleeing Copley Castle, her viciously abusive father. A witness from her earliest childhood of her father's escalating acts of violence, Bethany struggles to adapt to the quiet, small-town world of her grandmother, Corinthia Bibb Castle. Properly fed, clothed, and experiencing true stability for the first time, Bethany slowly blooms, protected by her grandmother's respected position in the Blissfield community.
Bethany soon meets Gideon and Nina Price, a brother and sister living alone on the outskirts of town. Bethany is drawn to Nina, whose quirky mind and love of books matches her own. But she is also attracted to Gideon, Nina's handsome, silently watchful younger brother, whose eyes speak of painful secrets neither of the Prices will share.
Coming to understand how poverty, a tangled family history and the treacheries of skin color have led to her friends' exile from Blissfield life, Bethany begins to question her own family story—and the origins of her father's cruelty. As her friendship with the Prices deepens to love, Bethany pledges to stand by them, no matter what challenges they face, and to never, ever leave them behind.
The events of one terrible afternoon force Bethany to return to Ohio, and she soon falls victim to her father's psychotic rage. Battered, broken and left for dead, Bethany faces an uphill struggle to rebuild her life. At the moment when she needs them most, however, Nina, Gideon and her grandmother seem to vanish, leaving Bethany to face her painful recovery alone.
Fifteen years later, on receiving news of Corinthia's death, Bethany embarks on a blind, but determined quest to find the two remaining people she loves most in the world — Gideon and Nina Price—convinced that without them she will never be whole. Her search for the Prices uncovers acts of betrayal and deceit perpetrated generations before that set the destruction of both their families in motion.
Cover photos by Heather Neff
Cover art by Cassie Lentz
Praise for blissfield
"I absolutely love this book! Another great read from this amazing author! The book takes you for an experience. No spoilers but you become engrossed in the main character’s journey and invested in their well being early in the story. Great character development, great story from start to finish. This is a must read! I really hope they make this novel into a movie. I would love to see this world brought to life. There is so much to learn from this novel. This is art."
"I read this novel over a long weekend because I couldn't put it down. It is a story of deep and faithful friendships that, though difficult, last a lifetime. It is also about children that are raised in violent situations and the damage they must overcome and heal from in order to become whole. I highly recommend this book."
"I picked this up on a friend's recommendation and could NOT put it down! Going to pick up some of Neff's other books asap!!!"
"Such a wonderfully well written book. But, such a tragic storyline. I truly enjoyed reading the book and learning the history of the southern way of living for Black families during the 60s and 70s."
Also available on Kindle.