I met Ann McLaughlin nearly 30 years ago when we were both adjuncts at American University and workshop leaders at The Writers Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
We were about to have our first novels published.
Since then, there has never been a time when Ann wasn’t working on a new book. Or two. No matter what else was going on in a life filled with family, friends, travel and teaching - she always found time to writer, rewrite, then write some more. She went on to publish 7 more novels. She’d found a home with Daniel and Daniel Publishers in California and found new ways to dig deep into her personal history to create stories with universal appeal.
I was honored when she asked if Bacon Press Books would re-issue Sunset at Rosalie, a novel based on her mother’s experience growing up on a Southern plantation. Because the story had personal meaning, she wanted to make sure it stayed in print. We published it in paperback and ebook in 2015.
Ann was especially pleased the book received these two terrific reviews when it was frist released.
"Luminous evocations of the last days of Rosalie, a Mississippi plantation brought down by the collapse of ``King Cotton'' in the early 1900s as observed by a young girl on the cusp of womanhood. McLaughlin (The Balancing Pole, 1991, etc.) begins the story in the summer of 1909 on the eve of Uncle Will's marriage to widowed Aunt Emily, and though many incidents accumulate in the course of the novel, the mood is always more important than the action. Ten-year-old Carlin McNair, precociously intelligent, is looking forward to the wedding. Will is her favorite uncle, and Aunt Emily is her mother's dearest sister and the mother of Carlin's playmates. But all may not be well . . .A clear-eyed, loving but never sentimental look at the Old South as it tries to adjust to a new order." Kirkus Reviews
“Sunset at Rosalie shimmers with the bittersweet magic of a young girl’s coming-of- age amidst the disintegration of her family’s traditional world. With exquisite delicacy, Ann McLaughlin interweaves the unfolding of Carlin’s imagination and the economic collapse of her father’s cotton plantation, and her words bring alive country life in Mississippi during the years before World War I. . . . A pleasure to read, Sunset at Rosalie draws readers into the sights, textures, voices, and customs of a rural South precariously balanced between past and future. This is a novel that will linger in readers’ minds like a cherished memory.” - Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, author of Within the Plantation Household and “Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life.”
She was a woman of great courage and kindness, generosity and grace. She will be missed.
October 8th is the first annual Indie Authors Day. Hundreds of libraries across the country will be participating.
It's a great time for readers to show their support for all the talented authors who have been brave enough to publish their work independently.
If one of your local libraries is participating, please stop by or watch the live Webcast at
Even better, pick up a book by an indie author.
Avrom Bendavid-Val knows the power of keeping a memory alive. The story of his search for the town where his father was born - a town that had completely disappeared - is the subject of two books and a film. This is his message to his readers, family, and friends.
The season of the holidays is about to begin, starting with Rosh Hashanah on October 2nd. What better gift could there be than the marvelous and poignant story of Trochenbrod and its people from the first settlers in 1803 to its disappearance in the Shoah? For young and old, and for your Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike.
Wishing you and your family a joyful and fulfilling new year,
Trochenbrod's Story in Two Books and a Movie
The Heavens Are Empty: Discovering The Lost Town of Trochenbrod grew out of twelve years of research on four continents by the author, Avrom Bendavid-Val.
Trochenbrod was a bustling commercial center of more than 5,000 people, all Jews, that was hidden deep in the forest in northwest Ukraine. The people of Trochenbrod were slaughtered in the Holocaust. Soon nothing remained of this vibrant 130 year-old town but a row of trees and bushes in a clearing in the forest
An imagined Trochenbrod was the setting for Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, Everything is Illuminated.
The Heavens Are Empty tells Trochenbrod’s story with maps, photographs, personal memoirs, and first-hand accounts. The first-hand accounts are those of Jews born in Trochenbrod, and of Ukrainians and Polish people who knew the town as children. The book’s storytelling emphasizes the life and vibrancy in Trochenbrod for many generations, before it was lost in the Holocaust. You can buy the book at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, and bookstores. Find direct links and more about Trochenbrod’s story at HeavensAreEmpty.com.
The Lost Town: Bringing Back Trochenbrod
In this book Trochenbrod’s story has been completely restructured, rewritten, and redesigned, including new photographs, to be accessible and appealing specifically to young readers ages 12–17. You can buy this book also at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, and bookstores. Find direct links and more information about this book, including information for young readers, at TheLostTownBook.com
In this documentary film, Trochenbrod’s story unfolds as the camera follows Avrom’s search to uncover the facts and spirit of his father’s home town, and bring together its descendants. The film features many fascinating Trochenbrod characters. You can view the trailer and buy the DVD or rent the download at 7thart.com. In addition to the NTSC version, there is a PAL version with Hebrew subtitles.
2nd Annual Bacon Press Books
News about our books, our authors, indie publishing, and maybe bacon.