At First Light
1993, Key West, Florida. When a Ku Klux Klan official is shot in broad daylight, all eyes turn to the person holding the gun: a 96-year-old Cuban woman who will say nothing except to admit her guilt.1919. Mixed-race Alicia Cortez arrives in Key West exiled in disgrace from her family in Havana. At the same time, damaged war hero John Morales returns home on the last US troop ship from Europe. As love draws them closer in this time of racial segregation, people are watching, including Dwayne Campbell, poised on the brink of manhood and struggling to do what's right. And then the Ku Klux Klan comes to town...Inspired by real events, At First Light weaves together a decades-old grievance and the consequences of a promise made as the sun rose on a dark day in American history.

At First Light Details

TitleAt First Light
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 1st, 2017
PublisherOrion Publishing
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Mystery

At First Light Review

  • Vanessa Wild
    June 17, 2017
    Well, this is quite the page turner! It's set in Key West in Florida and is inspired by true events. The story begins in 1993 when an elderly lady is arrested for shooting a member of the Ku Klux Klan during a rally. The tale is then taken back in time to 1919 where a forbidden love affair develops between a white man and a mixed race woman with disastrous consequences.This is a fabulous book. It's beautifully written and vividly told with some interesting and fascinating characters. The imagery Well, this is quite the page turner! It's set in Key West in Florida and is inspired by true events. The story begins in 1993 when an elderly lady is arrested for shooting a member of the Ku Klux Klan during a rally. The tale is then taken back in time to 1919 where a forbidden love affair develops between a white man and a mixed race woman with disastrous consequences.This is a fabulous book. It's beautifully written and vividly told with some interesting and fascinating characters. The imagery is just fantastic and the thread of fear which runs through it is just spine tingling. It had me on the edge of my seat at times. I found it so absorbing and I was eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened next. I hadn't realised just how much like the Nazis the Ku Klux Klan were or are. If it wasn't such a serious subject, I would find the titles they gave themselves quite comical. I feel I have gained some knowledge and it brings home the fact that, sadly, there have always been and always will be extremists. A captivating, exciting, poignant and thoroughly enjoyable read which I can highly recommend.Reviewed for TBC on Facebook.
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  • Louise Beech
    March 30, 2017
    Every so often a book comes along that you know you're going to read again, that you want to keep like a treasure on your bookshelf, that you know you'll be recommending to everyone... At First Light is this book. I was lost in the hot, sticky, long-gone world of Alicia and John, Thomas and Dwayne, and Pearl's Tea Room. Not only is there a beautiful story - both 'small' (the central love story) and 'large' (the bigger period story) - but the language is divine. It's 'of the time', yet also I fee Every so often a book comes along that you know you're going to read again, that you want to keep like a treasure on your bookshelf, that you know you'll be recommending to everyone... At First Light is this book. I was lost in the hot, sticky, long-gone world of Alicia and John, Thomas and Dwayne, and Pearl's Tea Room. Not only is there a beautiful story - both 'small' (the central love story) and 'large' (the bigger period story) - but the language is divine. It's 'of the time', yet also I feel the author's own lyrical voice strongly too. All of this comes together and means a beautiful, epic, and absorbing read, that I feel will be something that makes everyone truly sit up and take notice of Vanessa - at least those who haven't already, anyway! Highly recommended.
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  • Anne
    April 10, 2017
    Whilst At First Light is a companion story to the author’s debut novel, Summertime, they are both wonderful stories on their own, and con most certainly be read alone.Summertime was one of my favourite books of 2016 and I have been eagerly awaiting this second novel for a long time. I was lucky enough to meet the author some time ago and when she told me about the story behind her new novel, I was so excited. I have not been disappointed, as much as I adore Summertime, I have to say that At Firs Whilst At First Light is a companion story to the author’s debut novel, Summertime, they are both wonderful stories on their own, and con most certainly be read alone.Summertime was one of my favourite books of 2016 and I have been eagerly awaiting this second novel for a long time. I was lucky enough to meet the author some time ago and when she told me about the story behind her new novel, I was so excited. I have not been disappointed, as much as I adore Summertime, I have to say that At First Light is even better. When I closed the book I felt bereft at the thought that I would no longer be spending time with these extraordinary characters.Inspired by and based on real events, At First Light begins in 1993, in Key West. It begins with the murder of an old man; a frail and elderly man, in a wheelchair. Shot at point-blank range, with a vintage Colt pistol. That pistol is shot be Alicia Cortez; ninety-six years old, mixed-race and previously of good character. It is a shocking crime, and Alicia owns up immediately.Chief Roy Campbell is nearing the end of his career, he’s new to Key West, and when Alicia’s name is revealed as the killer, he is the only officer not to gasp in shock. Everyone else knows exactly who Alicia is ~ ‘La Rosita Negra’.The story then goes back to 1919, as Alicia arrives in Key West as a young woman, exiled from her home in Cuba. With a failed, violent relationship behind her, and threats of death following her. At the same time, John Morales is returning from war in Europe. Battle worn, angry, bitter and haunted by what he saw, he’s a tough, no-nonsense sort of guy.What follows is their story. The story of their unlikely relationship, accompanied by Minister’s son Dwayne Campbell and scarred giant Thomas, and how their determination to live and love without hatred and bigotry causes pain and sorrow, and tragedy for them and those closest to them.Vanessa Lafaye creates beautiful imagery with her carefully chosen words. Her descriptions of Key West as it grows are vivid and colourful, the reader can almost smell the cow dung and the smoky bars. The sights and sounds are so realistic, with characters who are so powerfully created that they become almost human, part of the reader’s life.The author exposes the evil that permeated the US, with the Ku Klux Klan taking a central role, and whilst this is a glimpse into the history books, it is quite frightening to realise the similarities to modern-day politics and world happenings that are going on all around us now.At First Light is absolutely wonderfully written, it is seductive, heart-breaking and compassionate. At times is it almost unbearably moving, but it is always compelling.A true love story, that is also an enlightening slice of social history. Vanessa Lafaye is hugely talented. I adore this book.http://randomthingsthroughmyletterbox...
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  • Anne
    May 6, 2017
    When I reviewed Summertime, I mentioned the wonderful descriptions, the carefully chosen words, and the languorous quality of the writing, the way the detail was etched in my memory by a writer at the peak of her powers. I rather left myself with no more superlatives to use, but I’m going to need to find a few: I’m delighted to report that I think At First Light is even better.I called Summertime “one hell of a story” – but this one is absolutely stunning. It’s a love story full of aching passio When I reviewed Summertime, I mentioned the wonderful descriptions, the carefully chosen words, and the languorous quality of the writing, the way the detail was etched in my memory by a writer at the peak of her powers. I rather left myself with no more superlatives to use, but I’m going to need to find a few: I’m delighted to report that I think At First Light is even better.I called Summertime “one hell of a story” – but this one is absolutely stunning. It’s a love story full of aching passion, a story of a remarkable woman who learns to be strong, of the rising tide of hatred as the Klan gain a grip, corrupt officialdom, naive enchantment… with a set of characters within both the past story and the current who grasp your heart and refuse to let go. The writing is just breath-taking in its assurance – perfectly rounded characters, a vividly detailed backdrop, a stirring of deep emotion quite perfectly handled. This isn't a full review - I’ll do things properly when I return from my holiday and have more time to do it justice. But I just wanted to tell everyone how much I loved this book – I always thought Vanessa Lafaye’s writing was something rather special, but this book really is something very special indeed.
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  • Thebooktrail
    February 28, 2017
    A frightening true story of how the Klu Klux Klan came to town and how one man stayed to fightVisit the locations in the novel - Come to Key West At First LightRead this book as soon as you can. It punched me in the gut and I'm still feeling the effects. Based on true facts. So tragic. Makes you think about a lot of issues. The arrival of the KKK in Key West for one and how a person can get sucked in to events without realising how the chain of events is going to pan out.Vanessa stunned me with A frightening true story of how the Klu Klux Klan came to town and how one man stayed to fightVisit the locations in the novel - Come to Key West At First LightRead this book as soon as you can. It punched me in the gut and I'm still feeling the effects. Based on true facts. So tragic. Makes you think about a lot of issues. The arrival of the KKK in Key West for one and how a person can get sucked in to events without realising how the chain of events is going to pan out.Vanessa stunned me with her first novel. This is even better. She's a writer to watch for sure and I will be first in line for book three. The stunning, sunny, lazy locations, the humidity the dust bowl of the lazy town .....with evil in its midst.The ugly tragic side to Key West came to life in this novel and instead of shade, those palm trees created dark dark shadows on life below. The women brought there to work, not a holiday destination but a stay in hell....I felt so immersed in the events, so helpless at what was to come, and utterly captivated by events as they played out. And all this is based on true facts. My book is now tear stained. Deep breaths needed after this one. OMG. Highly recommended
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  • Michelle Ryles
    June 19, 2017
    I have fond memories of Vanessa Lafaye's debut, Summertime, that I reviewed quite some time ago, so I positively jumped at the chance to read an early copy of her new novel, At First Light. As with Summertime, this is another novel based on real events that has you screaming in anger, clapping in delight and sobbing with devastation. Vanessa Lafaye is such a wonderfully talented author who creates such depth in her writing that ensures the characters bore into your very soul and remain there unt I have fond memories of Vanessa Lafaye's debut, Summertime, that I reviewed quite some time ago, so I positively jumped at the chance to read an early copy of her new novel, At First Light. As with Summertime, this is another novel based on real events that has you screaming in anger, clapping in delight and sobbing with devastation. Vanessa Lafaye is such a wonderfully talented author who creates such depth in her writing that ensures the characters bore into your very soul and remain there until the end of your days.Alicia arrives in Key West on the boat from Cuba, somewhat under a cloud, although we need to invest a bit of time in the story before we learn the reason for her exile. She has come to live with her cousin, Beatriz, and work in her tea rooms but Alicia is shocked to find that her cousin answers to the name of Pearl and isn't known for serving tea in her establishment.Also arriving in Key West is John Morales, returning from war in Europe. He finds much has changed in Key West as he returns to his rightful place behind the bar of The Last Resort, the establishment he owns right next door to Pearl's Tea Rooms. With such a close proximity to Alicia it isn't long before the pair fall in love and their story is as tragic as it is poignant because Alicia is brown and John is white. In an era when the Ku Klux Klan were sweeping America there are many who will strive to tear John and Alicia apart, using any means necessary, but theirs is a love that is destined never to die.At First Light is another masterpiece from the pen of Vanessa Lafaye. It is shocking and heartbreaking to learn that this is based on a true story which makes it all the more poignant. I had goosebumps reading certain passages and applaud Vanessa Lafaye for bringing this period of history to light. In the current day and age of so much uncertainty and innumerable prejudices, it's a story that will resonate with so many people. An absolutely breathtaking masterpiece that will be going on my read again pile. Very highly recommended - I want to give it more than 5 stars!I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
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  • Della Rainey
    June 25, 2017
    At First Light is an emotional read. It tells of the struggles, heartache and hatred experienced in Florida between the non-whites and the Ku Klux Klan. It starts with the present day with a murder committed by a 96 year old woman. You are then transported back in time to 1919 and her story as well as others are told. It is beautifully written, I got swept up with the strength, determination and love that the two main characters had as well as the heartache and devastation. From the very beginni At First Light is an emotional read. It tells of the struggles, heartache and hatred experienced in Florida between the non-whites and the Ku Klux Klan. It starts with the present day with a murder committed by a 96 year old woman. You are then transported back in time to 1919 and her story as well as others are told. It is beautifully written, I got swept up with the strength, determination and love that the two main characters had as well as the heartache and devastation. From the very beginning the story grabs hold of you. It is heartbreaking to know that this story is based on facts. This story will stay with me a long time. I would recommend this book to others and look forward to reading other books by Vanessa Lafaye.
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  • Mo
    June 26, 2017
    I simply loved this book . A story based on truth and predominantly set in 1919 , this is a book of forbidden love between a white man and a mixed race girl and how the klu klux klan were involved in its demise . Beautifully written and truly captivating ! I now must read summertime by the same author . My thanks to tbc for the opportunity to read and review
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  • Linda Hill
    May 31, 2017
    When banished Alicia Cortez arrives in Key West in 1919, events will unfold to shape the next seven decades.Oh my goodness. At First Light is EXACTLY my kind of read. Beautifully crafted with atmospheric prose that enchants and ensnares from the first word, I loved everything about Vanessa Lafaye’s story. The smattering of Spanish lends an authenticity to utterly gorgeous prose so that it is impossible not to become immersed in the action. I didn’t feel as if I were reading a book, but rather I When banished Alicia Cortez arrives in Key West in 1919, events will unfold to shape the next seven decades.Oh my goodness. At First Light is EXACTLY my kind of read. Beautifully crafted with atmospheric prose that enchants and ensnares from the first word, I loved everything about Vanessa Lafaye’s story. The smattering of Spanish lends an authenticity to utterly gorgeous prose so that it is impossible not to become immersed in the action. I didn’t feel as if I were reading a book, but rather I felt as if I became part of the narrative.Based on real events, At First Light told me more about American history and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) than I had consciously internalised before. Vanessa Lafaye has made me look at my previous visit to Key West in a whole new light. She manages to convey both the ridiculousness of the KKK and their far reaching menace with such skill. Part crime thriller, part love story, part historical novel At First Light is a fabulous weaving of fact and fiction that left me reeling. The violence and threat lurks beneath the surface so that I felt tense as I read, desperate for there to be happy ever after endings but fearing there wouldn’t be.The plot races along. Some elements are what could almost be termed prosaic, relating to the everyday life of the characters, but this adds credibility and genuineness to the people and events so that other aspects are all the more shocking. I mustn’t spoil the plot for others, but I can’t see either how anyone could read At First Light and not be moved, horrified and enraptured.The characterisation is outstanding. Alicia, John, Thomas and Dwayne will live long in my heart as real people I wish I had known. I wanted to apologise to them for their treatment, feeling almost partly to blame for what happens to them. At one point, so intense was my feeling along with Alicia’s that I found I was sobbing. Vanessa Lafaye has the power both to educate and to move without the reader’s permission.Having read At First Light, there’s an ache in me that I don’t think I’ll ever quite recover from. I feel almost bereft that I have finished it. At First Light is, quite simply, a life changing, wonderful book that everyone should read.
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  • Monica Mac
    June 26, 2017
    This was a really interesting book for me because right at the start you knew that Alicia had shot a man and then the story unfolded from there.Alicia Cortez was clearly an amazing lady and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her story, her exile from Cuba and how she made a new life for herself in Florida. It was not easy reading at times as her life was far from simple but certainly she had a very interesting one, nevertheless. I could feel the sticky humidity of living in Florida and I could just ab This was a really interesting book for me because right at the start you knew that Alicia had shot a man and then the story unfolded from there.Alicia Cortez was clearly an amazing lady and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her story, her exile from Cuba and how she made a new life for herself in Florida. It was not easy reading at times as her life was far from simple but certainly she had a very interesting one, nevertheless. I could feel the sticky humidity of living in Florida and I could just about hear the insects and see the flowers too. This author is obviously very skilled at depicting life for Alicia and the other characters at that time and in that place and I got very emotionally involved with the story. I don't know very much about Cuba and I don't know very much about racial segregation or the Ku Klux Klan either but I learned quite a bit about all these things by the time I had finished this book. It is still astonishing to me that people can treat others like dirt because of the colour of their skin and I am sad that even though most of the book was set nearly a century ago, those attitudes are still in the community to this day, in some sectors. This was a highly recommended read from me.I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. Thank you to THE Book Club.
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  • Susan
    June 18, 2017
    At first light by Vanessa Lafaye. 1993, Key West, Florida. When a Ku Klux Klan official is shot in broad daylight, all eyes turn to the person holding the gun: a 96-year-old Cuban woman who will say nothing except to admit her guilt.1919. Mixed-race Alicia Cortez arrives in Key West exiled in disgrace from her family in Havana. At the same time, damaged war hero John Morales returns home on the last US troop ship from Europe. As love draws them closer in this time of racial segregation, people a At first light by Vanessa Lafaye. 1993, Key West, Florida. When a Ku Klux Klan official is shot in broad daylight, all eyes turn to the person holding the gun: a 96-year-old Cuban woman who will say nothing except to admit her guilt.1919. Mixed-race Alicia Cortez arrives in Key West exiled in disgrace from her family in Havana. At the same time, damaged war hero John Morales returns home on the last US troop ship from Europe. As love draws them closer in this time of racial segregation, people are watching, including Dwayne Campbell, poised on the brink of manhood and struggling to do what's right. And then the Ku Klux Klan comes to town...Inspired by real events, At First Light weaves together a decades-old grievance and the consequences of a promise made as the sun rose on a dark day in American history.This was a fantastic read with brilliant characters. I liked Alicia. She was my favourite character. A moving read. 5*. Tbc on fb.
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  • Kelly Mason
    June 4, 2017
    Based on true events this story captured me from the offset. Brilliantly written to make you feel as if you can see the events written unfolding. The story focuses on a love story of forbidden love and how the Ku Klux Klan influenced life in America and how 70 years later the unjust treatment of individuals had not been forgotten. A truly brilliant read, written in a very honest and factual manner, demonstrating both a love story and an insight into years gone by. I absolutely loved this book an Based on true events this story captured me from the offset. Brilliantly written to make you feel as if you can see the events written unfolding. The story focuses on a love story of forbidden love and how the Ku Klux Klan influenced life in America and how 70 years later the unjust treatment of individuals had not been forgotten. A truly brilliant read, written in a very honest and factual manner, demonstrating both a love story and an insight into years gone by. I absolutely loved this book and loved the story as well as the language and how I felt I was spectating their story unfolding. Highly recommended
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  • Gail Atkins
    June 24, 2017
    This book was loosely based on a true story set in Key West in the early 1920's, just as the Klu Klux Klan are beginning to infiltrate the Ethnic areas of Florida.A mixed couple at first form a friendship, working against prohibition. Gradually this leads to a romance which angers some people.A great page turning book, which lead me to research the real characters behind the story.Lots of action, romance as well as sadness regarding the beliefs of those who believed in white supremacy.
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  • Book Literati
    June 5, 2017
    At First Light is a stunning novel that recaptures a period of American Culture of extreme violence and prejudice. Vanessa Lafaye’s writing and vivid descriptions bring the Key West off 1919 to life. We feel the heat of the sun, we smell the sewage and smell of unwashed bodies, and see the brothels, bars, houses and people with such clarity that we feel like we are there. The same writing brings the characters to life. Alicia is the heroine of this book. She arrives in Key West from Cuba where s At First Light is a stunning novel that recaptures a period of American Culture of extreme violence and prejudice. Vanessa Lafaye’s writing and vivid descriptions bring the Key West off 1919 to life. We feel the heat of the sun, we smell the sewage and smell of unwashed bodies, and see the brothels, bars, houses and people with such clarity that we feel like we are there. The same writing brings the characters to life. Alicia is the heroine of this book. She arrives in Key West from Cuba where she lived a privileged life and was accepted as a mixed race young woman. In Key West, where segregation is part of life, as a woman of mixed race she is neither dark or white skinned which makes her worse in some ways than those of colour, she is neither one nor the other. Not only is race a problem she finds herself living in a brothel, a big change from the luxuries she is used to in Cuba. Alicia rises to the occasion and shows strength and resilience, in her attitude to the situation she finds herself in. It is her strength and her love for John that comes through in this book, and her fight against prejudice. I found the character of Dwayne a symbol of hope in this story. Like most young boys he seeks his father’s approval and love and wants to believe him to be a good man. When his father becomes a member of the Klu Klux Klan he wants to believe their ideology, on the premise that if his father is part of this then it must be right and just. But the more he hears and the more he sees make him question both his father and the KKK. He is able to work out for himself and take action and to do the right thing, he is a symbol of the future in his ability to walk away from prejudice of his others and make his own mind up.At First Light is a book that tackles the issues of prejudice, based on religion, race, gender, and a hatred of those who are different. What makes it more shocking is that it is based on a true story. It was strange that I was reading this this weekend with the Manchester One Love Benefit Concert after the bomb in Manchester and attack in London, it really resonated with me that as a society we still have the same prejudices. Maybe the way hatred is shown has changed but we still live in a world where there are certain sections of society who are still intolerant and use terror to kill. I have to say I find this quite a sad comparison to make.At First Light is a very emotive read, for the reader and the characters; it has love and hate, strength and weakness, revenge and forgiveness, hope and despair. It’s atmospheric prose, colourful characters, and its uplifting and heartbreaking story line make it the perfect read, a brilliant book.
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  • Sandra Danby
    June 17, 2017
    Having loved ‘Summertime’, the debut novel of Florida-born Vanessa Lafaye, I was looking forward to reading ‘At First Ligh’t. I was not disappointed. As with her first book, Florida in the period after the Great War is the setting. But the story starts with a bang in 1993 when an elderly Ku Klux Klan official is shot dead at a rally in Key West. The murderer is a 96-year old Cuban woman. ‘At First Light’ is the story of Alicia Cortez.This is an intense story in many ways. Love, politics, racial Having loved ‘Summertime’, the debut novel of Florida-born Vanessa Lafaye, I was looking forward to reading ‘At First Ligh’t. I was not disappointed. As with her first book, Florida in the period after the Great War is the setting. But the story starts with a bang in 1993 when an elderly Ku Klux Klan official is shot dead at a rally in Key West. The murderer is a 96-year old Cuban woman. ‘At First Light’ is the story of Alicia Cortez.This is an intense story in many ways. Love, politics, racial hatred, prostitution and Prohibition. In 1919 Alicia arrives on a boat from Cuba, running from shame though for a while we don’t know the exact details. On the same day, John Morales disembarks from the troop ship which brought him from Europe where he fought with distinction in the Great War. Watching from the dock is fourteen-year-old Dwayne Campbell, who falls a little in love with Alicia, is in awe of John, and who becomes entangled in what is about to unfold. When John, a white man, a local man, is seen with a ‘brown’ stranger, Alicia, the newly established Klan of the Keys takes notice.Although we know from page one that Alicia shoots someone, we do not know the identity of the victim. As she will not talk to the police, her motivation is unknown. So as the story of her arrival in Key West in 1919 unfolds, the guessing game begins as the Ku Klux Klan plans its attacks. This story segment takes place over a short few months and the speed at which events unfold is mesmerising. There are many thematic contrasts: the beauty of the location, the poverty and depravation; the global politics of war, the local politics run by corrupt men; the lack of women’s rights, the moral and emotional strength of women.Inspired by a true story – the murder by the Ku Klux Klan of a white man in 1921 because he refused to end his relationship with a mixed-race woman – this is a novel about freedom. The freedoms fought for in war which are too often, and too rapidly, forgotten in daily life when hate is allowed to overcome tolerance and people become too quick to judge. And once a wrong is committed, who has the right to determine the nature of justice and how it should be implemented? Once the police cannot be trusted, the disintegration of society begins.I read this book very quickly and didn’t want it to end. Second novels are often a disappointment, this one is not.Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-revie...
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  • Katrina Oliver
    May 17, 2017
    Having read this author's previous novel, Summertime, I was delighted to receive an egalley copy of this new book, At First Light, for review, and I was not disappointed when I started reading! What a story! Based on fact, this book details the introduction of the Ku Klux Klan to Key West, USA in the 1920s, and an 'unsolved' murder from the time, highlighting the impact of the Klan on the local people. The descriptions of Key West resonate with sound, colour and smell, enabling the reader to rea Having read this author's previous novel, Summertime, I was delighted to receive an egalley copy of this new book, At First Light, for review, and I was not disappointed when I started reading! What a story! Based on fact, this book details the introduction of the Ku Klux Klan to Key West, USA in the 1920s, and an 'unsolved' murder from the time, highlighting the impact of the Klan on the local people. The descriptions of Key West resonate with sound, colour and smell, enabling the reader to really see the town in their imagination. Soldiers are returning from WW1, Spanish flu is taking hold and Prohibition is just about to start, when the Klan come to town. This is a love story between a coloured woman and a white man and so much more besides. I found myself gripped from the very beginning as an elderly lady, Alicia Cortez, is arrested for shooting a man dead at a Ku Klux Klan march in 1993. The book then goes back to the 1920s, and tells the story of Alicia and John, and their love affair. The story builds and builds, the tension increasing towards an inevitable climax, which kept me gripped throughout, desperately hoping that things would work out for them. It also made me keen to investigate further into the Key West of this period. Highly recommended read, particularly if you enjoy historic fiction!
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  • Elisabeth
    June 19, 2017
    1993, an old woman is out walking in Key West when she comes across a Klu Klux Klan rally in the park. Quickly she returns home, picks up her gun and returns to shoot one of the elderly members dead. When she is arrested she goes quietly and doesn't deny the charges against her. Is Alicia Cortez truly a cold blooded killer?1919, escaping the enraged family of her estranged husband, Alicia Cortez arrives in Key West from Cuba to work in her cousins tea shop. As racial tensions rise in Key West, t 1993, an old woman is out walking in Key West when she comes across a Klu Klux Klan rally in the park. Quickly she returns home, picks up her gun and returns to shoot one of the elderly members dead. When she is arrested she goes quietly and doesn't deny the charges against her. Is Alicia Cortez truly a cold blooded killer?1919, escaping the enraged family of her estranged husband, Alicia Cortez arrives in Key West from Cuba to work in her cousins tea shop. As racial tensions rise in Key West, the choices that Alicia has made begin to draw the attention of the local Klu Klux Klan who have recently established themselves on the island and intend to make an impact on the location community.A truly gripping read which held my attention right from the beginning. Perfect for those readers who enjoyed ‘The Help’ , ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and the books of Jodi Picoult.
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  • Cal
    June 24, 2017
    A brilliant factually based story that drew me in from the very first page and didn't let go until the final page had been turned. Set against the background of the Ku Klux Klan and told from the perspective of two different timelines in Key West, Florida, this is a book that will stay with me for a long time to come. Beautifully written, 'At First Light' has romance, murder, heartache and everything in between. It is heartbreakingly beautiful and brought me to tears on more than one occasion. V A brilliant factually based story that drew me in from the very first page and didn't let go until the final page had been turned. Set against the background of the Ku Klux Klan and told from the perspective of two different timelines in Key West, Florida, this is a book that will stay with me for a long time to come. Beautifully written, 'At First Light' has romance, murder, heartache and everything in between. It is heartbreakingly beautiful and brought me to tears on more than one occasion. Vanessa Lafaye's superb writing brings the unforgettable Alicia Cortez vividly to life and I felt every emotion right along with her, so much so that I felt bereft when the time came to leave this wonderful book and its characters behind.Thank you to TBC and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of this outstanding book. A highly recommended and emotional 5 stars.
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  • Helen
    June 10, 2017
    This book totally blew me away, nothing at all like I expected. By turns a love story set in 1919 Key West where a somewhat naïve Alicia Cortez arrives having been banished from the family home, pitched against the harrowing decades of history of the Ku Klux Klan, the prohibition, the segregation of race. It is the kind of book which once you start reading you become totally immersed in, you want to savour it slowly whilst at the same time finding yourself devouring it at speed. This book was se This book totally blew me away, nothing at all like I expected. By turns a love story set in 1919 Key West where a somewhat naïve Alicia Cortez arrives having been banished from the family home, pitched against the harrowing decades of history of the Ku Klux Klan, the prohibition, the segregation of race. It is the kind of book which once you start reading you become totally immersed in, you want to savour it slowly whilst at the same time finding yourself devouring it at speed. This book was sent to me by Real Readers Reviews in return for an honest review.
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  • Louise
    June 30, 2017
    This book begins with a murder in the recent past, beautifully drawn characters from the outset.We are then transported back in time to the 1920s and the sense of impending dread builds because we know the outcome. The relationship between a mixed race Cuban and a white Great War veteran is lovely, damaged but 'good' people who find peace and love despite a difficult past.But at the edges and moving to the middle is the spectre of the Ku Klux Klan..... Highly recommended
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  • Claire
    May 18, 2017
    2.5. Not a bad book, the description of Key West were vivid and believable. Just not my type of read.
  • Margaret Madden
    May 9, 2017
    4.5 stars. Review to follow...
  • Laurel
    June 8, 2017
    I was given an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and independent review. This book is set in two different time periods - 1993 and 1919 in Key West Florida. The descriptive narrative is so vibrant that I almost felt like I was there. A novel set amongst the background of the Ku Klax Klan, which from a historical perspective was of particular interest to me, albeit made for shocking reading. I loved the way this book was written and thought all the characters were interesting and well I was given an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and independent review. This book is set in two different time periods - 1993 and 1919 in Key West Florida. The descriptive narrative is so vibrant that I almost felt like I was there. A novel set amongst the background of the Ku Klax Klan, which from a historical perspective was of particular interest to me, albeit made for shocking reading. I loved the way this book was written and thought all the characters were interesting and well developed.
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  • Jennifer
    April 26, 2017
    a book that had me hooked from the start. Why would a little old lady on an island say she has murdered a man ? but when the police arrive at a crime scene in a park they find a woman standing holding a gun and saying just that. She doesn't give her name or any other details but as she is taken in for questioning her identity is found. A story then unravels leaving you questioning whether justice has been served or should the outcome be different.A great book - loved it - will read it again
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  • Claire Sinclair
    June 25, 2017
    This book sucked me in from the beginning and did not let me go. I really loved the main characters and how their back stories told a tale in themselves. These back stories helped explain the actions of the characters throughout the main story. I really felt for the main characters and I was behind them all of the way through everything they were going through. If I could I would give this book 4.5 stars. I will definitely be reading Vanessa's other book.
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