The Best Part of Us asks: Who Are We without Our Lakes, Our Land, Our Treasured Family Places?

After a 30-year career in Great Lakes policy and environmental communications, Sally Cole-Misch has translated her life’s work into a new format: fiction. The Best Part of Us, a novel to be released Sept. 8, 2020, by She Writes Press, the 2019 Independent Publisher of the Year, immerses readers in a breathtaking natural world, a fresh perspective on loyalty, and the essential roles that family, nature, and place hold in all our lives.

The Best Part of Us tells the story of an American family who spends their summers on a pristine lake in northern Ontario, as told by the youngest child, Beth. She cherishes her family’s life on their island of granite and pines, where they revel in the sweet smell of dew on early morning hikes, the loons’ evening trills across the lake’s many bays, and their unshakeable bond with nature, family, and friends.

When that bond is threatened and then torn apart, Beth creates a new life in Chicago. She erects a solid barrier between the past and present, no matter how much it costs her—until her beloved grandfather asks her to return to the island to determine its fate. Will she choose to preserve who she has become, or will she risk everything to discover if what was lost still remains?

Author Sally Cole-Misch sought to write a story “where nature is as much a character as the people, where those characters’ best intentions result in collective outcomes that force them to realize the value of nature and place in their lives, and that helps readers to consider the same.”

Based on the advanced praise from reviewers, fellow authors and early readers, including NetGalley recently choosing The Best Part of Us as a top fifteen Book Club pick, Sally Cole-Misch has more than succeeded:

“The novel is informed by both Ojibwe and Welsh traditions and shows sensitivity regarding cultural differences. It also honors the natural world with dazzling imagery… A dramatic, rewarding story about a woman reconnecting with family, nature, and herself.” – Kirkus Reviews

“The Best Part of Us is one of the most compelling novels I’ve read about the relationship between the human heart and the natural world. This is not just storytelling, it’s a lived experience. The story’s depth and characterization are unforgettable. At a time when we seem to have lost our way, Sally provides a true compass to help us find home.” – Dave Dempsey, Great Lakes policy expert and 2009 Michigan Author of the Year

“Readers… won’t be able to resist the pull of this remarkable novel… the plot spanning past and present kept me enthralled and engaged throughout… this exceptionally good book. The Best Part of Us is most highly recommended.” – Readers’ Favorite Five-Star Review

“A luminous novel that expertly weaves exquisite descriptions, differing cultures, fraught but tightly bound relationships, and the wonder of coming of age—and every age—into a beautiful story that will keep you up reading and keep you company for a long time afterward.” – Barbara Stark-Nemon, Award-winning author of Even in Darkness and Hard Cider

The novel is available for preorder now or purchase after September 8 through the Cottage Book Shop, your favorite independent bookstore or wherever books are sold, including Bookshop, Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and Books-a-Million. For more information about The Best Part of Us, visit

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