Beth cherished her family’s summers on an pristine northern Canadian lake,  where she reveled in the sweet smell of dew on early morning hikes, the loons’ evening trills across the lake’s many bays, every brush stroke of her brother’s paintings celebrating their cherished place, and their grandfather’s laughter as he welcomed neighbors to their annual Welsh harvest celebration. Theirs was an unshakeable bond with family, friends and nature, renewed every summer on their island of granite and pines. 

But that bond was threatened and then torn apart, first as rights to their island were questioned and then by nature itself, and the family is forced to leave. Beth creates a new life in urban Chicago, where she erects a solid barrier between the past and present, no matter how much it costs—until her grandfather asks her to return to the island to determine its fate. Will she choose to preserve who she has become or risk everything to discover if what was lost, still remains? 

The Best Part of Us will immerse readers in a breathtaking natural world, a fresh perspective on loyalty, and an exquisite ode to the essential roles that family, nature and place hold in all of our lives. 

Purchase your copy here.


2021 15th Annual Indie Excellence Juror’s Choice Award Winner
2021 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist in New Fiction
2021 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist in Regional Fiction: Midwest
2020 Sarton Book Awards Finalist for Contemporary Fiction

“The novel . . . honors the natural world with dazzling imagery. . . . A dramatic, rewarding story about a woman reconnecting with family, nature, and herself.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Sally Cole-Misch’s novel is a lush and lovely homage to the natural places where her protagonist grew up. . . . The plot spanning past and present kept me enthralled and engaged throughout my reading of this exceptionally good book. The Best Part of Us is most highly recommended.”—Readers’ Favorite

“This is not just storytelling, it’s a lived experience. Sally’s description of the cold, crystal waters and magnificent landscape of the North Country is so vivid I feel as though I paid it a visit. The story’s depth and vivid characterization are unforgettable. At a time when we seem to have lost our way in navigating the human relationship with place, Sally has provided a true compass to help us find home. ”—Dave Dempsey, 2009 Michigan Author of the Year, author of ten books and renowned Great Lakes environmental policy expert

“With exquisite descriptions of Canadian lake and forest country and the Ojibway life rooted there, Cole-Misch expertly weaves the elements of those differing cultures, fraught but tightly bound family relationships, young love, old love, and the wonder of coming of age—at every age—into a luminous novel. The Best Part of Us is a beautiful story that will keep you up reading, and then keep you company for a long time afterward.”—Barbara Stark-Nemon, award-winning author of Even in Darkness and Hard Cider

“A story so evocative you can smell the lake and hear the loons. . . . The Best Part of Us draws in lyrical strokes the many shades of grief and the healing magic of place.”—Jenni Ogden, bestselling author of A Drop in the Ocean

“Place plays a key role in this novel, with an island in northern Ontario lovingly observed through the eyes of our protagonist, Beth. Troubles come in the form of her family’s attachment to the land and issues around who rightfully owns it—their Welsh ancestors or the Native peoples of earlier times—and the book raises and explores these important, contemporary questions with care and sensitivity. Their resolution is complicated—at once hopeful and messy, like all imperfect decisions. The Best Part of Us is a lovely, engrossing book about place, family, history, and cultural sensitivity.”—Angela Pneuman, award-winning author of Home Remedies and Lay It on My Heart

The Best Part of Us is a captivating celebration of nature that pushes us to consider our connections to the Earth. . . . Her words paint the Earth as our ultimate refuge, a source of strength to draw from and live intimately within. . . . Each character is multi-layered and built beautifully to show how variable the human relationships to the environment can be.”—The Michigan Daily


Author visits with Sally Cole-Misch are available via NovelNetwork.com.