Southern Scribe
       our culture of storytelling


Historical Fiction Review    


Nowhere Else on Earth
By Josephine Humphreys
Penguin Books, 2001
ISBN: 0141002069 (paper)




Nowhere Else on Earth, Josephine Humphrey's celebrated novel, has recently been reissued in paperback. The new Penguin edition includes a Reader's Guide for reading groups as well as an interview with the author. 

Inspired by actual events, this award winning novel, is set in North Carolina during the Civil War. Told by Rhoda Strong, the daughter of a Scotsman and his Lumbee wife, the story takes place in the Lumbee settlement of Robeson County. Rhoda loves her family and her community but her love for Henry Berry Lowrie is a stronger force. 

Some readers may not be familiar with the Lumbees. They were the largest tribe east of the Mississippi and the ninth largest tribe in the nation, are rumored to be an amalgam of North Carolina Indians and the 117 descendents of Sir Walter Scott's "Lost Colony" on Roanoke Island. The Lumbees were never conquered or put on reservations but, historically, they have always encountered discrimination. During the days when Southern schools were segregated, there were three school systems in Robeson county for whites, African-Americans, and Indians. 

With the American Civil War, there was a steady erosion of Indian rights in the Carolina swamplands. Eventually, Henry Berry Lowrie, recreated memorably as a fictional character by Humphreys, led the Lumbee community in their campaign against oppression by their neighbors. 

Nowhere Else on Earth, praised for its' writing and haunting characters, earned acclaim for Josephine Humphreys' willingness to write about an era long forgotten. 

The author is a recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and letters. She is the author of Dreams of Sleep, which won the 1985 Ernest Hemingway Award for first fiction, Rich in Love, and The Fireman's Daughter. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

2001 Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved