March Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Bells for Eli by Susan Beckham Zurenda

Bells for Eli by Susan Beckham Zurenda
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Genre: Historical (recent)
Length: Full Length (282 pgs)
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Snapdragon
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Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

First cousins Ellison (Eli) Winfield and Adeline (Delia) Green are meant to grow up happily and innocently across the street from one another amid the supposed wholesome values of small-town Green Branch, South Carolina, in the 1960s and 70s. But Eli’s tragic accident changes the trajectory of their lives and of those connected to them. Shunned and even tortured by his peers for his disfigurement and frailty, Eli struggles for acceptance in childhood as Delia passionately devotes herself to defending him. Delia’s vivid and compassionate narrative voice presents Eli as a confident young man in adolescence–the visible damage to his body gone–but underneath hides indelible wounds harboring pain and insecurity, scars that rule his impulses. And while Eli cherishes Delia more than anyone and attempts to protect her from her own troubles, he cares not for protecting himself. It is Delia who has that responsibility, growing more challenging each year. BELLS FOR ELI is a lyrical and tender exploration of the relationship between cousins drawn together through tragedy in a love forbidden by social constraints and a family whose secrets must stay hidden. Susan Beckham Zurenda masterfully transports readers into a small Southern town where quiet, ordinary life becomes extraordinary. In this compelling coming of age story, culture, family, friends, bullies, and lovers propel two young people to unite to guard each other in a world where love, hope, and connectedness ultimately triumph.



  1. Kathie Bennett says

    Bells for Eli is one of the most beautiful novels I have read in quite some time. Susan Zurenda is master of plot who’s honed craft of writing with tale of childhood trauma, love and redemption.

  2. Charlene Linder says

    Bells for Eli

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