Praise & Accolades
#1 Amazon Bestselling Author
“Crawdads meets the Crawleys in Jordan-Lake’s latest, where she offers up a powerful location in the Biltmore House of Asheville, North Carolina. Pitting rugged locals against Gilded Age interlopers and threaded throughout with a meticulously researched, well-crafted mystery, this is historical fiction at its best.”
—Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
"Under A Gilded Moon"
Historical Southern Fiction
Dec 1, 2020
"The best books to read this December."
"The Most Engaging Books of 2020."
"The Most Anticipated 2020/21 Winter Books That Will Keep You Cozy All Season Long"
“A gorgeously written tale that transports you to the mountains of North Carolina in the late 1800s, as George Vanderbilt is finishing construction on his iconic, palatial Biltmore mansion. Protagonist Kerry MacGregor is the kind of character you root for from page one—a strong, smart young woman forced to leave college to come home to North Carolina and care for her poverty-stricken mountain family. The MacGregors, like many Appalachian mountain people, live in the shadow of the opulent Biltmore, just desperately trying to survive.
With elements of mystery and intrigue, glamour, and pure grit, UNDER A GILDED MOON is historical fiction at its finest. I can’t recommend it enough!
—Jane Healey, Washington Post bestselling author of The Beantown Girls and the forthcoming The Secret Stealers
“Elegantly written and expertly crafted, Under a Gilded Moon soars as high as any piece of literature can reach. You’re transported to a time and place in history that begs [to be] read late into the night.”
—Robert Dugoni, international bestselling author of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell and the Tracy Crosswhite series
“I was swept away by this dazzling, masterfully written tale of the clash of classes and cultures around the Biltmore in North Carolina. Joy Jordan-Lake brings the past alive with impeccable details, raw emotion, and parallels to our present world. A triumph.”
—Emily Carpenter, bestselling author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls
“This is historical fiction at its finest. With pitch-perfect dialogue and details so rich and so right, Joy Jordan-Lake sets us squarely—lock, stock, and barrel—in 1895 Asheville, NC, in not just one but two distinctive worlds. The grand Vanderbilts and their luxurious Biltmore fascinated me, and the mountain people with their human struggles pulled at my heart.”
—Bren McClain, author of One Good Mama Bone, winner of the 2017 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction and the 2019 Patricia Winn Award for Southern Literature
“Dr. Joy Jordan-Lake has mastered the art of navigating story-telling risks. She sets Under a Gilded Moon in an era and place where stereotypes could dominate every aspect of her exquisite novel. Not so in the hands of this gifted author! Joy respects her characters too much to allow shallowness to creep in, and she respects her readers too much to serve up anything short of originality, depth, and excellence—in the loveliest page-turner I’ve read in years.”
—Carolyn Curtis, author of Women and C.S. Lewis
A Tangled Mercy
"Editor’s Choice for November "
Historical Novel Society
"Named one of 12 Heartbreaking New Historical Fiction of Fall"
"#1 Bestselling Novel"
"Named one of the 18 Best New Historical Fiction Books to Read With Your Book Club."
"Named one of November’s
"Fall/Winter Reading List 2017"
Deep South Magazine
A Goodreads Hot Reads Selection
“Satisfying…[A Tangled Mercy] will appeal to admirers of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings.”
“A novel of secrets, racial tensions, family, and a love that withstands the passage of time, A Tangled Mercy is truly enthralling.”
—Historical Novel Society (Editor’s Choice)
“Jordan-Lake brings us the aroma, taste, and view of Charleston as vividly as if we stood in the middle of the scene. The depth of emotion and veracity of the story sets this novel apart, as it brings a lost and critical piece of southern history to light. [It] is about the important things in our life—how art undoes our chaos; how history is part of our present; and how defiant love and forgiveness conquer hatred and bigotry.”
—Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis
“A must-read novel for today. Weaving the story of a slave uprising in 1822 Charleston with one set during the 2015 massacre at Charleston’s AME Church, A Tangled Mercy reminds us of yesterday’s atrocities and today’s ongoing racial travesties. Throughout the novel, author Joy Jordan-Lake offers readers compelling characters, evocative writing, and an engrossing and appalling look at a time past and time present.”
—M.K. Tod, author of Time and Regret
“Joy Jordan-Lake has done a masterful job with her new novel, A Tangled Mercy. She captures the beauty, charm, and challenges of one of America’s great cities, Charleston, South Carolina. In the historical-cultural context of Charleston, her writing is an inspiration. Through rich character development, she gives us an intimate view of its African American life. A Tangled Mercy is a must-read for those who want to experience the South. We meet a variety of people, both living and dead, that represent the iconic, ‘Emmanuel Nine.’”
— John Richard Bryant, retired African Methodist Episcopal Bishop
“Joy Jordan-Lake’s A Tangled Mercy is an incredibly compelling and meticulously researched historical novel that will have you thinking about it long after you turn the last page. The dual narrative interweaves the story of Harvard grad student Kate Drayton’s journey to Charleston, South Carolina, to find answers about her deceased mother’s troubled past, with the little known but fascinating story of the Charleston slave uprising of 1822. It is a powerful and culturally relevant tale that should be on everyone’s must-read list this year.”
—Jane Healey, author of The Saturday Evening Girls Club
"A Tangled Mercy "
Historical Southern Fiction
Blue Hole Back Home
Christy Award Winner:
"Best First Novel"
Blue Hole Back Home continues to be selected as critical classroom and summer reading at various public and private high schools, middle schools, colleges, and universities, including Baylor University.
"Blue Hole Back Home"
Southern Historical Fiction
Sir Drake The Brave
"A gorgeous and imaginative bedtime book about facing your fears and battling bullies with kindness."
—Mike Nawrocki, co-creator of Veggie Tales and author of The Dead Sea Squirrels series
"Sir Drake The Brave"
Children's Book | Sept 2021
Illustrator: Susan Eaddy
A Crazy-Much Love
“The standout illustrations burst with energy and are as saturated with color as the subject of the story is showered with love. A perfect gift for an adoptive family—and every family that has a deep and abiding love for their young children.”
“An honest and encouraging story about a transracial adoption.”
“Although adoptive families will especially appreciate this book, all families will enjoy the message of how crazy-much parents love their children…”
—New York Journal of Books
“Vibrant and bright images fill the pages of this genuinely charming story. This is a realistic portrayal of a modern foreign adoption from the adoptive parents’ point of view. Eye-catching and heartwarming, this is an excellent choice for anyone wishing to share the loving bond between parents and their children.”
—School Library Journal
"A Crazy -Much Love"
Children's Book | Sept 2019
Illustrator: Sonia Sánchez
Joy's Other Notable Mentions
“. . . careful analyses show the interlocking relationships between race, class, and gender in antebellum Southern society.
—Choice for Whitewashing Uncle Tom's Cabin: Nineteenth-Century Women Novelists Respond to Stowe
"An extremely valuable book. Trained as both a literary critic and a theologian, Jordan-Lake exposes the racist ‘theology of whiteness’ embedded in the white Southern plantation myth embraced by women writers countering, "Uncle Tom’s Cabin," from Stowe’s day to our own. She shows how their novels self-destruct intellectually —how the writers participate, unwittingly, in their own disempowerment. This is an excellent, clear, jargon-free book, with important things to say about both the past and the future."
—Elizabeth Ammons, Tuff University for
Whitewashing Uncle Tom's Cabin: Nineteenth-Century Women Novelists Respond to Stowe
#1 Amazon Bestselling Author
"A collection of stories, poems, and essays which The Chicago Tribune described this way: “Written with much heart and wit, this little gem of a book touches on the ordinary and profound experiences that make up a woman’s life . . . a poignant and satisfying collection . . . funny and sad, inspiring and awfully surprising.”
—Chicago Tribune for Grit and Grace: Portraits of a Woman's Life (Wheaton Literary Series)
“Writing with sharp humor and snappy prose. . . refreshing for its social conscience. . .she draws heavily on her own experiences as well as interviews with other women about how they manage the competing expectations of career and family. One of the more thoughtful guides to Christian family life for the 21st century.
—Publishers Weekly for Working Families: Navigating the Demands and Delights of Marriage, Parenting, and Career
“In its review of Joy’s fourth book, Publishers Weekly again praised the author: “A professor at Belmont University and a former Baptist chaplain at Harvard University, the author mines her personal history…to illumine and interpret ideas such as…hope. Sometimes wry, occasionally stern, Jordan-Lake, with a touch of Southern gothic sensibility…has a gift for welcoming, lucid and insightful prose….”
—Publisher's Weekly for Why Jesus Makes Me Nervous: Ten Challenging Words of Faith
"Joy continued her doctoral dissertation work, exploring the interweavings of literature, theology, and race in American culture."
—Vanderbilt Press for Whitewashing Uncle Tom's Cabin: Nineteenth-Century Women Novelists Respond to Stowe
"It’s a story of an extraordinary faculty, staff, scholars, and industry experts guided by a far higher calling than merely making a living. It’s a story of risk and innovation, of thinking outside the box—as well as the courtroom, the classroom, the corporation, the gym floor. It’s a story of faith that God has created each student—and Belmont itself— for a purpose. It is a story worth hearing."
—Belmont University for From Here to Anywhere: A Story of Belmont Universit 1890-2015 125th anniversary edition