Two Wings to Hide My Face by Penny Mickelbury


Award-winning author and journalist Penny Mickelbury returns to pre-Civil War Philadelphia to continue the powerful saga of Genie Oliver and Abigail Read.


In 1857 the US Supreme Court ruled that Blacks were not—and could never be citizens. Black lives were already in peril from the hooligans who would capture and sell them South under the protection of the Runaway Slave Act, even if they weren’t runaway slaves. By 1861 Southern states spoke openly of seceding from the Union to form the Confederate States and protect what they believed was their right to own slaves. If the South were to win, slavery would become the law of the land. So for many Blacks, leaving was the only option.

Genie Oliver, who frequently dresses as a man to move about the city, is no longer safe in her disguise. White people find themselves just as imperiled for providing any assistance to Blacks—which means that the former Pinkerton’s agent Ezra MacKaye, his fiancé Ada Lawrence, and heiress Abigail Read, are in as much danger as Genie and her friends, the Juniper family.

Not knowing what to expect, Ezra, Ada, and the Juniper family join Genie and Abigail as they pack up their lives and head to Canada. Their goal is to stay at least one step ahead of the brutalities of the uncivil war, but can they outpace the dangers that cross their paths every step of the way?

Praise for Two Wings to Fly Away, Book No. 1 of the Two Wings Series by Penny Mickelbury

“Two Wings to Fly Away is a beautifully written, imaginative novel of pre-Civil War era interracial love. Penny Mickelbury transports us to mid-nineteenth-century Philadelphia and introduces us to a cast of characters we won’t soon forget: runaway slaves, abolitionists, as well as all of the horrible forces working against them. As usual, her prose is masterful, sprinkled throughout with the slow burn of desire between women, and the precariousness of African American life before the Civil War.”  —STEPHANIE ANDREA ALLEN, A Failure to Communicate

Two Wings to Fly Away makes us care about those who yearn for freedom, despise a system that gives license to hatred and subjugation, and cheer for the love that gives wing to Genie’s greatest happiness.” —CHERYL A. HEAD, author of the Charlie Mack Motown Mystery Series and Time’s Undoing

“Historical fiction like this doesn’t come around often, and it shouldn’t be missed.” —TARA SCOTT, Lambda Literary Review

Two Wings To Fly Away brings some intensely-desired diversity to the lesbian historical field.” —HEATHER ROSE JONES, The Lesbian Review.

“Mickelbury writes with such elegant prose that she stands as one of America’s more important literary artists of the day. She continues to have that magnetic ability to draw the reader into her well-sculpted storylines while at the same time creating a significant commentary on the issues she so rightly finds important. She is a powerful presence.” —GRADY HARP, San Francisco Review of Books

PENNY MICKELBURY is a trailblazing author and an award-winning playwright. She is a two-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, was a writer in residence at Hedgebrook Women Writers Retreat, and is a recipient of the Audre Lorde Estate Grant. In 2001 she was awarded the Gold Pen Award for Best Mystery/Thriller from the Black Writers Alliance, and the Prix du Roman d’Adventures from Les Éditions du Masque. In 2017, she was commissioned by the Jo Howarth Noonan Foundation for the Performing Arts to write a ten-minute play in celebration of “women of a certain age”. Prior to focusing on literary pursuits, Penny was a pioneering newspaper, radio and television reporter, based primarily in Washington, D.C., wrote journalistic non-fiction, and was a frequent contributor to such publications as Black Issues Book Review,, and the Washington Blade.

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