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"Molly Patterson is a writer of the first order, and her debut novel is a revelatory, immersive miracle. Ambitious in scope and exacting in its language, Rebellion becomes a grand exploration of fate and circumstance."—Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus
A sweeping debut that crosses continents and generations, Rebellion tells the story of Addie, Louisa, Hazel, and Juanlan: four women whose rebellions, big and small, are as unexpected as they are unforgettable.
At the heart of the novel lies a mystery: In 1900, Addie, an American missionary in China, goes missing during the Boxer Rebellion, leaving her family back home to wonder at her fate. Her sister Louisa—newly married and settled in rural Illinois—anticipates tragedy, certain that Addie’s fate is intertwined with her own legacy of loss.
In 1958, Louisa’s daughter Hazel has her world upended by the untimely death of her husband. It’s harvest time, and with two small children and a farm to tend, she is determined to keep her land and family intact. Yet even while she learns to enjoy her independence, Hazel realizes that the tradeoff for some freedoms is more precious than expected.
Nearly half a century later, Juanlan has returned to her parents’ home in Heng’an. With her father ill, her sister-in-law soon to give birth, and the construction of a new highway rapidly changing the town she once knew, she feels pressured on every side by powers outside her control. Frustrated by obligation and the smallness of her own dreams, Juanlan at last dares to follow desire, only to discover an anger that cannot be contained.
Moving from rural Illinois to the far reaches of China, Rebellion brilliantly links through action and consequence the story of four women, spanning more than a century. From the secrets they keep and the adventures they embark on, to the passions that ultimately drive them forward, the characters at the center ofthis electric debut dramatically fight against expectation in pursuit of their own thrilling fates.