Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

Events and Signings

Thurs., Apr. 5 The Bridge Run Show: Annual Staff Reading

Tues., May 1 Cinelle Barnes, Monsoon Mansion at the Charleston Library Society

Fri., May 4 — Author Luncheon with Holly Herrick, New Charleston Chef’s Table

Fri., May 4 – 5 — YALLWEST Young Adult Book Festival in Santa Monica, Calif.

Tues., May 15 — Author Luncheon with Dorothea Benton Frank, By Invitation Only

Tues., May 15 — Vera Stewart, VeryVera Cookbook CANCELLED

Sun., May 20 Panel on School Integration: Then and Now — Rachel Devlin and Pamela Grundy

Wed., May 23 Margaret Thornton, A Theory of Love

Sun., May 27 Piccolo Fiction

Thurs., May 31 — Author Luncheon with Cinelle Barnes, Monsoon Mansion

Tues., Jun. 5 Rachel May, An American Quilt

Fri., Jun. 8 Ethan Kytle and Blaine Roberts, Denmark Vesey’s Garden

Mon., Jun. 11 Karen White, Dreams of Falling

Thurs., Jun. 14 — Ali Rosen, Bring It

Fri., Jun. 15 Mary Alice Monroe, Beach House Reunion


Author Luncheon with Mary Alice Monroe, Beach House Reunion, Fri., June 15, 12 pm

Join us Fri., June 15, 12 pm for lunch at Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.), as Mary Alice Monroe discusses and signs her new book Beach House Reunion (Gallery Books, hb., 400 pp., $26). Tickets are $32 for the three-course luncheon, or $58 to add a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

In Beach House Reunion, Mary Alice Monroe weaves together a tale of the struggles and triumphs of the historic Rutledge family of Charleston. Beautifully wrought and rich with keen insight, this is an illuminating tale of new beginnings, resilience, and one family’s enduring love. Three generations of the Rutledge family gather together to find the strength, love, and commitment to break destructive family patterns and to forge new bonds that will endure long beyond one summer reunion.

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. She has received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, and the International Book Award for Green Fiction. An active conservationist, she lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

School Integration: Past and Present, Sun., May 20, 4 pm

Sun, May, 20, 4 pm, Blue Bicycle Books presents a special mini-symposium on School Integration: Past and Present. Join us for a look at five decades of integration, from groundbreaking heroes of the 60s, through busing in the 70s and 80s, to present-day schools like James Simons and Charlotte’s Shamrock Gardens.

420 King St, downtown Charleston. Free and open to the public. For more information please call 843.722.2666.

Featured speakers:

Pamela Grundy, author of Color and Character: West Charlotte High and the American Struggle over Education Equality.

Rachel Devlin, author of A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women who Desegregated America’s Schools.

Millicent Brown, professor at Claflin University, who as a young woman desegregated Rivers High School on Upper King Street, featured in A Girl Stands in the Door.

Color and Character (UNC Press, hb., 248 pp., $26) tells the story of West Charlotte High School. The historically black school was integrated through Charlotte’s busing program in the early seventies, when white students from some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods were reassigned. For two decades, West Charlotte was a national model for integration, excelling in academics, arts, debate and athletics. Grundy uses the history of a community’s beloved school to tell a broader American story of education, community, democracy, and race—all while raising questions about present-day strategies for school reform.

Pamela Grundy is a historian, author, and activist. She is also the author of the award-winning Learning to Win: Sports, Education, and Social Change in Twentieth-Century North Carolina. She blogs about her children’s experience at Shamrock Gardens Elementary, one of the many high-poverty, high-minority schools created as Charlotte dismantled its celebrated busing program, at

In A Girl Stands at the Door (Basic Books, hb., 384 pp., $20) historian Rachel Devlin tells the remarkable stories of desegregation pioneers. She also explains why black girls were seen, and saw themselves, as responsible for the difficult work of reaching across the color line in public schools. Highlighting the extraordinary bravery of young black women, this bold revisionist account illuminates today’s ongoing struggles for equality.

Rachel Devlin is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University, where she teaches courses on women, gender, sexuality, and childhood. She is the recipient of numerous grants, from the American Academy of Learned Societies and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute among others.

Dr. Millicent Brown is a Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor of History in the Department of History and Sociology at Claflin University (Orangeburg, SC)., and serves as Principal Investigator for the “Somebody Had to Do It” Project. She has a B.A. from the College of Charleston, a Master’s of Education from The Citadel and a Ph.D. in 20th Century U.S. History from Florida State University, but credits a transformative year as a Ph.D. student at Howard University for cementing her academic attachment to issues of race, gender and class struggle.




Piccolo Spoleto Event with Ethan J. Kytle and Blain Roberts, Denmark Vesey’s Garden, Fri., June 9, 5 pm

Join us Tues., May 15, 5:30 pm as Professors Ethan J. Kytle and Blain Roberts will be here to discuss their new book Denmark Vesey’s Garden (The New Press, hb., 464 pp., $29).

A book that strikes at the source of the recent flare-ups over Confederate symbols in Charlottesville, New Orleans, and elsewhere, Denmark Vesey’s Garden reveals the deep roots of these controversies and traces them to the capital of slavery in the United States: Charleston, South Carolina, where almost half of the slaves brought to the U.S. stepped onto our shores, where the first shot at Fort Sumter began the Civil War, and where Dylann Roof murdered nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, which was co-founded by Denmark Vesey, a black revolutionary who plotted a massive slave insurrection in 1822.

As early as 1865, former slaveholders and their descendants began working to construct a romanticized memory of the antebellum South. In contrast, former slaves, their descendants, and some white allies have worked to preserve an honest, unvarnished account of slavery as the cruel system it was.

Examining public rituals, controversial monuments, and competing musical traditions, Denmark Vesey’s Garden tracks these two rival memories from the Civil War to recent decades—when a segregated tourism industry reflecting these opposing visions of the past took hold in the popular vacation destination. Denmark Vesey’s Garden exposes a hidden dimension of America’s deep racial divide, joining the small bookshelf of major, paradigm-shifting interpretations of slavery’s enduring legacy in the United States.

Ethan J. Kytle is a professor of history at California State University, Fresno. The co-author, with Blain Roberts, of Denmark Vesey’s Garden (The New Press) and the author of Romantic Reformers and the Antislavery Struggle in the Civil War Era, he lives in Fresno, California.

Blain Roberts is a professor of history at California State University, Fresno. The co-author, with Ethan J. Kytle, of Denmark Vesey’s Garden (The New Press) and the author of Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women, she lives in Fresno, California.

Author Luncheon with Karen White, Dreams of Falling, Mon., June 11, 12 pm

Join us Mon., June 11, 12 pm for lunch at Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.), as Karen White discusses her latest novel Dreams of Falling (Berkley, hb., 416 pp., $26). Tickets are $32 for the author talk and three-course luncheon, or $58 to add a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

About the book: Nine years ago, a humiliated Larkin Lanier fled Georgetown, South Carolina, knowing she could never go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she realizes she has no choice but to return to the place she both loves and dreads–and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home.

Larkin’s mother Ivy is discovered badly injured and unconscious in the burned-out wreckage of her ancestral plantation home. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly fifty years–whispers of love, sacrifice, and betrayal–that lead back to three girls on the brink of womanhood who found their friendship tested in the most heartbreaking ways.

About the author: Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, known internationally for her mystery series set in Charleston. She spent most of her growing-up years in London and is a graduate of the American School there. She now lives near Atlanta with her husband, two children, and her dog Quincy (who appears in several of her books).

Author Luncheon with Cinelle Barnes, Monsoon Mansion, Thurs., May 31, 12 pm

Join us Thurs., May 31, 12 pm for lunch at  Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.)., as Cinelle Barnes will talk about and sign her debut memoir Monsoon Mansion (Little A, hb., 252 pp., $25). Tickets are $31 for the three-course luncheon, or $56 to add a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

Cinelle Barnes was barely three years old when her family moved into Mansion Royale, a stately ten-bedroom home in the Philippines. Filled with her mother’s opulent social aspirations and the gloriously excessive evidence of her father’s self-made success, it was a girl’s storybook playland. But when a monsoon hits, her father leaves, and her mother’s terrible lover takes the reins, Cinelle’s fantastical childhood turns toward tyranny she could never have imagined. Formerly a home worthy of magazines and lavish parties, Mansion Royale becomes a dangerous shell of the splendid palace it had once been.

Told with a lyrical, almost-dreamlike voice as intoxicating as the moonflowers and orchids that inhabit this world, Monsoon Mansion is a harrowing yet triumphant coming-of-age memoir exploring the dark, troubled waters of a family’s rise and fall from grace in the Philippines. It would take a young warrior to survive it.

Cinelle Barnes is an essayist, memoirist, and educator with a BA in media studies in journalism from Hunter College and a master of fine arts in creative writing from Converse College. She is a fellow of the Kundiman Creative Nonfiction Intensive at Fordham University and the Voices of the Nations Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, a founding member of the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference, and a presenter-member for the Creative Writing Studies Organization. Her writing has appeared in Literary Hub, Skirt, Hub City Press’s online anthology, and TAYO Literary Magazine, among others.

VeryVera Cookbook with Vera Stewart, Tues., May 15, CANCELLED


A Theory of Love — Margaret Bradham Thornton, Wed., May 23, 5 pm

Join us at the bookstore, Wed., May 23, 5 pm  as Margaret Bradham Thornton will sign her new novel A Theory of Love (Ecco, hb., 288 pp., $28). 

About A Theory of Love: Helen Gibbs, a British journalist on assignment on the west coast of Mexico, meets Christopher Delavaux, an intriguing half-French, half-American lawyer-turned-financier who has come alone to surf. Living lives that never stop moving, from their first encounter in Bermeja to marriage in London and travels to such places as Saint-Tropez, Tangier, and Santa Clara, Helen and Christopher must decide how much they exist for themselves and how much they exist for each other.

About the Author: Margaret Bradham Thornton is also the author of Charleston: A Novel, which has become a Blue Bicycle Books mainstay since its debut in 2014. She is the editor of Tennessee Williams’s Notebooks, for which she received the Bronze ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award in autobiography/memoir and the C. Hugh Holman Prize for the best volume of southern literary scholarship published in 2006, given by the Society for the Study of Southern Literature. She was born and raised in Charleston, is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in Florida.

An American Quilt by Rachel May, Tues., June 5, 5 pm

Join us Tues., June 5, 5 pm as Rachel May will be here to talk about her new book An American Quilt (Pegasus Books, hb., 426 pp., $28).

Following the trail left by an unfinished quilt, this illuminating saga examines slavery from the cotton fields of the South to the textile mills of New England―and the humanity behind it. May brilliantly stitches together the often-silenced legacy of slavery by revealing the lives of these urban enslaved women and their world. Beautifully written and richly imagined, An American Quilt is a luminous historical examination and an appreciation of a craft that provides such a tactile connection to the past.

Rachel May, PhD, MFA, is the author of The BenedictinesThe Experiments: A Legend in Pictures and Words, and Quilting with a Modern Slant, which was named a Best Book of 2014 by Library Journal & Her embroidered illustrations accompany two novellas published by Jaded Ibis Press and have been shown in galleries in the midwest. She’s been a resident and fellow at The Vermont Studio Center, the VCCA, and The Millay Colony, and is an Assistant Professor of English at Northern Michigan University.

Author Luncheon with Dorothea Benton Frank,By Invitation Only, Tues., May 15, 12 pm

Join us Tues., May 15, 12 pm for lunch at  Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.)., as Dottie Frank will talk about and sign her new book By Invitation Only (William Morrow, hb., 400 pp., $28). Tickets are $62 for the buffet luncheon plus a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

The Lowcountry of South Carolina is where By Invitation Only begins at a party thrown by Diane English Stiftel and her parents to celebrate her son’s engagement. The bride’s father is a wealthy power broker whose unbelievably successful career in private equity made him one of Chicago’s celebrated elite, while the mother of the bride dabbles in the world of public relations and believes herself deserving of every square inch of her multimillion-dollar penthouse and imaginary carrara marble pedestal.

By Invitation Only is a tale of two families, one struggling to do well, one well to do, and one young couple—the privileged daughter of Chicago’s crème de la crème and the son of hard-working Southern peach farmers.

Dorothea Benton Frank offers a funny, sharp, and deeply empathetic novel of two very different worlds—of limousines and pickup trucks, caviars and pigs, skyscrapers and ocean spray—filled with a delightful cast of characters who all have something to hide and a lot to learn. A difference in legal opinions, a headlong dive from grace, and an abrupt twist will reveal the truth of who they are and demonstrate, when it truly counts, what kind of grit they have. Are they living the life they want, what regrets do they hold, and how would they remake their lives if they were given the invitation to do so?

Dottie is the author of 18 novels placed in and around the Lowcountry of South Carolina. She was born and raised on Sullivan’s Island, attended Bishop England High School and graduated from General William Moultrie High School in 1969. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from The College of Charleston and a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Bloomfield College. An avid cook who also enjoys fly-fishing, reading, and travel, Dottie now divides her time between South Carolina and New Jersey.