by Michelle Muriel

Publication Date: January 11, 2022

Series: Essie’s Roses, Book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction



From bestselling author Michelle Muriel comes the sequel to the #1 bestseller Essie’s Roses, set during the Reconstruction Era post Civil War, Westland is a moving, gripping historical novel about family secrets, forgiveness, and the meaning of home.

Evil men wait a lifetime to get even.

On an Alabama plantation before the Civil War, two little girls find freedom, Evie the planter’s daughter and Essie Mae, a slave. Now, women, divided by the aftermath of war they must find their way back home.

Alabama, 1866. The Civil War’s aftermath tests family bonds as the women at Westland: Miss Katie, kind mistress and heiress, Evie, her daughter, Essie Mae, an intelligent freed slave, and Delly a former slave and Westland’s sassy matriarch, confront the mysteries and secrets of Westland’s past to hold on to freedom and each other.

As Rebel fires and lawlessness rage in the South, Evie and Essie Mae return to the home of their troubled pasts: Westland, an unproductive plantation. With a new vision, renewed hope, and the tranquility of Miss Katie’s secret garden, they learn to dream again, but a mysterious stranger from Westland’s past threatens to tear them apart. Delly warns unearthing family secrets may do it for them.

When Evie’s stepfather James receives letters threatening Westland and Essie, he will move heaven and earth to keep Evie and Essie safe with a surprising twist he prays will usher in the true freedom they all deserve. Westland is an unforgettable, moving novel about the power of forgiveness, the families we create, and the consequences of the secrets we leave behind. One woman will pay the ultimate sacrifice as the women at Westland learn: freedom isn’t free.

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WESTLAND (Essie’s Roses Book 2) BOOK TRAILER (HD) – A novel by Michelle Muriel from Michelle Muriel on Vimeo.

Praise for Westland

“. . . skillfully structured, with dramatic truths revealed unexpectedly. An often engaging look into the complex history of the American South.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Emotions are running high from the very beginning . . . the plot of the story is fantastic. It has just the right amount of twists, action, and suspense to keep the story flowing seamlessly.” 5 stars! — Readers’ Favorite

“Flowers bloom and families split apart in this sequel to Muriel’s historical fiction debut.
The characters of pre–American Civil War era Essie’s Roses are back in Westland, an Alabama plantation where the ‘willows hold secrets, until the night air sweeps through their leaves, scattering them in the wind and into our ears.’ The novel explores themes of forgiveness, freedom, and found families through the voices of diverse women: Katie, Evie, Essie Mae, and Black matriarch and housekeeper Delly. The multiple perspectives put the focus on what is perhaps the novel’s most complex character—Westland itself—and its essential nature. Questions of what it means to be free and independent as a woman, and especially as a Black woman, are addressed with nuance and care through Evie’s and Essie Mae’s voices. . . . the plot is skillfully structured, with dramatic truths revealed unexpectedly. An often engaging look into the complex history of the American South.” — Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Essie’s Roses

“Michelle Muriel’s tremendously impressive debut centers on the experiences of four remarkable women. A richly moving reading experience.” — Historical Novel Society

“Impressively well written from beginning to end, Essie’s Roses is an inherently absorbing and skillfully presented read, establishing author Michelle Muriel as an exceptionally talented novelist.” — Midwest Book Review

“Miss Muriel’s novel is a thing of beauty. Overall, Essie’s Roses will make you laugh and cry, but most of all, appreciate the innocence of children’s friendship. 5 stars!” — Readers’ Favorite

“ . . . Ms. Muriel writes in four such distinct voices I felt like I was in the space with each one. . . . exceptionally well written and it was very hard to put down. 5 Stars!” — Patty Woodland, Books, Cooks, Looks

“. . . all I can say is – wow, what an amazing read. Michelle Muriel has penned a wonderfully moving work of fiction – and one that will leave no reader with a dry eye. Five stars!” — Feathered Quill

About the Author

Michelle Muriel is the award-winning, bestselling author of the #1 historical fiction bestseller ESSIE’S ROSES, WESTLAND (Essie’s Roses 2), and WATER LILY DANCE. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, magna cum laude, and worked as a professional actress, a member of Actors’ Equity and The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists for twenty years, doing theater, voice-over, and commercial work. Michelle transferred her skills in complex character development and historical research into writing heartbreaking, heart-mending historical, literary fiction. Her novels poetically explore the secret sides of life, stories told from multiple points of view by strong female characters in history harboring secrets and breaking norms fighting for freedom. She is also a songwriter and musician. Michelle lives in Missouri with her husband, Michael.

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