The Crocodile Bride
Fiction

The Crocodile Bride

by: Ashleigh Bell Pedersen
Release date: Apr 19th, 2022

Set during the swampy summer in 1982, this stunning debut novel follows eleven-year-old Sunshine Turner and her troubled father Billy as the secrets of their family’s past swirl around them in the one-road town of Fingertip, Louisiana. Read More

Hardcover - $26.00
(ISBN: 978-1-938235-91-7)

Set during the swampy summer in 1982, this stunning debut novel follows eleven-year-old Sunshine Turner and her troubled father Billy as the secrets of their family’s past swirl around them in the one-road town of Fingertip, Louisiana.

During a hot summer of June moods, grubworms, and dark storms, Sunshine discovers stones in her chest – and learns the dangers her coming-of-age will bring about in the yellow house she shares with her father. Without the vocabulary to comprehend Billy’s actions or her own changing body, Sunshine turns to an apocryphal story passed down from her grandmother: in the dark waters of the Black Bayou lives a crocodile with an insatiable appetite and a woman with a mysterious healing gift. As Sunshine’s summer unspools, she turns to the one person who will need no explanation of the family secrets she carries—the crocodile bride.  
 
The Crocodile Bride is at once a heartbreakingly tender coming-of-age tale and a lyrical, haunting reflection on generational trauma. Reminiscent of Jesmyn Ward and Helen Oyeyemi, Ashleigh Bell Pedersen is a promising new voice in American fiction.
 

Praise for The Crocodile Bride

"Told with vision and compassion, The Crocodile Bride is a novel about a strong-minded, resourceful girl who breaks
from her dark family history and hopes to live out a better story herself." —Foreword Reviews
"Ashleigh Pedersen’s The Crocodile Bride brings us Sunshine, an unforgettable girl who stands alongside our region’s greatest literary protagonists. As Sunshine and her family face a transformative summer together, the author captures the secrets of the Louisiana bayou perfectly—its spooky fairytale magic, the brooding fortitude of its denizens. With indelible images and a beautifully crafted, multigenerational cast, The Crocodile Bride cradles us confidently as we watch this mystic, poignant saga unfold through the fractured lens of Southern childhood." —Leah Hampton, author of F*ckface
"Ashleigh Bell Pedersen reinvents the coming-of-age story. In her gifted hands, the world of budding girlhood is dangerous, marvelous and strange. This novel is transcendent." —Irina Reyn, author of What Happened to Anna K. and Mother Country
"I can’t stop thinking about this brilliant debut novel about generational secrets and family silences, and the healing powers of storytelling. In the sweltering, lush, rich landscape of rural Louisiana circa 1982—with swamps, crocodiles, Junebugs, myths, and ghosts—11-year-old Sunshine Turner is acutely perceptive and heartbreakingly trusting, and a resilient survivor. With echoes of Carson McCullers and Dorothy Allison, Ashleigh Bell Pedersen writes in a style all her own. The Crocodile Bride is a generous, tender novel with unforgettable characters and a perfect, transcendent ending." —Carter Sickels, author of The Prettiest Star
 
Ashleigh Bell Pedersen
Author

Ashleigh Bell Pedersen

Ashleigh Bell Pedersen’s fiction has been featured in New Stories from the South, The Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, Design Observer, The Silent History, A Strange Object, and the New York Public Library’s Library Simplified app. Her story “Small and Heavy World” was a finalist for both Best American Short Stories and a Pushcart Prize, and her story "Crocodile" won The Masters Review 2020 Flash Fiction Contest. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was the recipient of a teaching fellowship and Turow-Kinder Award. She currently resides in Austin, Texas where she writes, acts in theater and film, and attempts to teach her dog, Ernie, proper leash manners.

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