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Leslie Simmons, Red Clay, Running Waters

J Stanion, My Place Among Them

Dean Cycon, Finding Home

Michael Miller, High Bridge


Four Koehler Books authors have been short-listed for the Goethe Award. The Goethe Book Awards recognize emerging new talent and outstanding works in post-1750s Historical Fiction.  The Goethe Book Awards is a division of the Chanticleer International Book Awards (The CIBAs). The Goethe Book Awards competition is named for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who was born at the dawn of the new era of enlightenment on August 28, 1749.


Red Clay, Running Waters is the little-known story of John Ridge, a Cherokee man dedicated to his people, and his White wife Sarah Northrop, a woman devoted to his cause.

In 1824, John Ridge, the promising son of a Cherokee leader, returns from his New England education with his White bride, Sarah. John burns to realize the dream of an independent Cherokee Nation, using his eloquence, his education, and his Cherokee heart in defense of his people’s humanity and rights. Peace at home evades when tensions rise between the Southern states and the federal government, pulling the couple into the crossfire of a divided country on the brink of civil war.

As America wrestles for its soul over the fate of the Indians, John and Sarah unite to forestall a Cherokee diaspora, testing the limits of individual commitment and the meaning of sacrifice. The Ridges’ abiding love for the Cherokee compel them to join forces seeking justice, but with options eroding, and Andrew Jackson in office, John and Sarah must confront an agonizing choice about the future of the Cherokee Nation.

In a timely saga of one family’s search for justice in the 1830s Removal Crisis, this story of profound love, sacrifice, and the meaning of home weaves the complex strands of politics, race, religion, and love into the tapestry of the turbulent times before the Trail of Tears.

Grappling with universal themes – the meaning of love, commitment, and the courage to confront tyranny,  Red Clay Running Waters is a vibrant and heart-breaking portrait of the Antebellum Era and the fate of Native Americans. Readers will be propelled across true events on a stunning journey across true events leading to a haunting and moving conclusion.

Found alive after the massacre at Wounded Knee, twelve-year-old John Iron Horse is determined not to end up like so many others of his people. Then he learns the motto of the school he’s required to attend: “Kill the Indian, save the man.”

Carter Heath teaches in the government-run educational system and knows there’s more to his position than what’s happening in his classroom. He’ll soon learn that, in bureaucracy, politics, money, and ulterior motives are always intertwined.

Can the bond between an extraordinary student and a dedicated teacher survive in a world that pits red man against white?

For nine months in Auschwitz, eighteen-year-old Eva Fleiss clung to sanity by playing piano on imaginary keyboards. After liberation, Eva and the five remaining Jews of Laszlo, Hungary, journey home, seeking to restart their lives. Yet the town that deported them is not ready to embrace their return. Their former neighbors and friends resist relinquishing their newfound status and property, and they struggle with their roles as perpetrators, enablers, and bystanders during the Holocaust.

Longing for connection to her old life, Eva agrees to clean her former home, now the mayor’s home, in return for practice time on her piano. As her profound experiences allow her to access music at a depth she didn’t know existed, Eva’s performances begin to affect those around her-with unexpected consequences.

Upstate New York in the mid-19th century is a cauldron bubbling with the lure of fast fortunes, religious zealotry, and battles for civil liberties. This fervor centers on the Erie Canal, which successfully supports scores of villages brimming with opportunity. One such village, Fayetteville, shapes the lives of two future American leaders.

High Bridge tells the stories of a young newlywed, the only child of freethinking abolitionists, and a prankster lad who grows up in the large family of an austere reverend. Despite their different childhoods and worldviews, they form an unlikely friendship. Can they combine their skills to solve a mystery and vindicate a Black man accused of murder?