In Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, fourteen-year-old Bobbie Grey is crazy about cowboy movies. Gene Autry’s code of honor guides her into an adult society she's not sure she wants to enter. The KKK, her stepfather's alcoholism, and her mother's love for another woman set her spinning in confusion. Ultimately, Bobbie learns that love transcends race and gender and that it sometimes requires the ultimate sacrifice—letting go.
“This story of an intelligent, sensitive girl stumbling her way into womanhood in 1940s Appalachia is meticulously crafted and artfully delivered. Bryant shows us the tastes of Christmas meals, the stench of a mill town mixing with bakery donuts, the shame of masturbation and racism, the brutal power of violence, jealousy and death. The author weaves her story with the sensitivity and style of Harper Lee.”
~ Jim DeFilippi, author of Duck Alley
"Readers will adore sharing Bobbie's secrets and observations; she feels like a real friend, capable and determined, and full of love." ~ Julie Chibbaro, author of Redemption
Cowboy Code, finalist for the Exeter Award, available from Black Rose Writing https://www.blackrosewriting.com/historicaladventure/louellabryant
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While In Darkness There Is Light chronicles the events leading up to the 1974 disappearance and execution of Charlie Dean, brother of the Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Although several articles have been published about the recovery of Charlie’s remains in 2003, none has investigated in any depth what Charlie was doing in Southeast Asia when he was taken prisoner by the communist Pathet Lao. The research and writing are based on journals, letters, and interviews.
"A bittersweet coming-of-age story that wanders from Harvard Yard to the Australian outback to the jungles of Laos, While in Darkness There is Light recaptures some of what was most inspiring and some of what was most heartbreaking about America in the early 1970s. This book is both a celebration and an elegy; it filled me with an enduring sense of wonder and of loss." ~ George Howe Colt, author of The Big House, A Century in the Life of a Summer Home
"A well-researched, straightforward recounting of the adventures and misadventures of a group of privileged young expatriates during the Vietnam era. The book explores how—with idealism, a deeply engrained sense of entitlement, and, in the case of Charlie Dean, tragic results—they tested themselves against the world." ~Laurie Alberts Lost Daughters
Winner of SouthWest Nonfiction Award.
Nominated for the 12th Library of Virginia Literary Award and the Devil's Kitchen Nonfiction Award.
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Full Bloom is alive with 14 award winning stories told with a sharp eye for detail. These tales of the heart deal with grief, abandonment, the possibility of explosive rage, and the essential hope of healing. The characters are ordinary people who feel trapped or bewildered but who always persevere.
"Full Bloom, which includes characters in every stage of life, pulls no punches, offers no easy answers but only the consolation of Bryant's consistently sharp eye and luscious language." ~ Louise Hawes, author of Anteaters Don't Dream.
"Full Bloom is alive with lucid tales told in a deft voice, grown out of the observations of a sharp eye and a knowing heart. Bryant cuts right to the things that really matter: grief and abandonment and the possibility of explosive rage and the essential hope of healing. She takes us into the lives of people trapped, desirous, bewildered, persevering. Ordinary People. People you might know very well indeed. People whose stories you absolutely have got to read. ~ Jeanne Larsen, author of Silk Road trilogy
Winner of the Premier Book Award for Fiction,
Kindle version available at https://www.amazon.com/Full-Bloom-Louella-Bryant-ebook/dp/B007N2OXQU
Father By Blood tells the story of Annie Brown, daughter of the famous abolitionist John Brown. His crusade against slavery is more than a cause. It is an obsession that consumes him. Haunted by frightening visions that foretell disaster, Annie learns about her father's latest plan: an attack on a government armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. How can she overcome John Brown's iron will and convince his loyal followers that he is leading them into disaster?
"Father By Blood is a wonderful book that takes readers beyond the cold facts about John Brown's life and into the heart of his daughter, Annie. In a style that is both realistic and at times poetic, Bryant helps the reader see Brown through Annie's eyes and feel the contradiction she feels about his use of violence to end the violence of slavery." ~ Clinton Cox, author of Fiery Vision, The Life and Death of John Brown.
Winner of the Silver Bay Children's Literature Award,
Father By Blood is out of print but is available from the author or from third party sellers or email me for a signed copy.
The Black Bonnet tells of the little chance slaves had of ever living in freedom before the Civil War. What hope they had was found in the hidden cellars and friendly faces along the shadowy route known as the Underground Railroad. Two sisters, Charity and Bea, escape slavery in Virginia in the late 1850s, and their perilous journey leads them to the frozen north. But until they reach the Canadian border, one mistake can lead them back to slavery, or worse. In Burlington, Vermont, so close to freedom, the girls stop to rest. There the sisters and their helpers must stay one step ahead of the slave hunters.
With the help of an old black bonnet, Charity glimpses the freedom and adventure she yearns for, but she finds herself pulled between two worlds, one black and one white. As the slave hunters close in, Charity must confront her past, even as she fights to keep her dreams from slipping away.
Finalist for the Vermont Book Award for young adult readers,
The Black Bonnet is out of print but is available from third party sellers or email me for a signed copy.
The nonfiction story "Rum Running Queen" is included in Southern Sin, True Stories of the Sultry South and Women Behaving Badly. In the steamy South, temptation is as wild and plentiful as kudzu. In these true stories women defy tradition and forge their own paths through life—often learning unexpected lessons from the experience.
As Dorothy Allison writes in her introduction, “The most dangerous stories are the true ones, the ones we hesitate to tell, the adventures laden with fear or shame or the relentless pull of regret. Some of those are about things that we are secretly deeply proud to have done.”
Southern Sin is available at
Other anthologies in which my work appears:
Tartts2: Stories from Emerging Writers
Far From Home, Father-Daughter Travel Adventures
Lessons From My Parents: 100 Shared Stories That Changed Our Lives