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RAINWOOD HOUSE, lightly haunted by civil rights struggles, rampant houseplants and musical plumbing, is home to University of Maryland groundskeeper Marlie Mendíval and her bat-loving granddaughter Samantha. Marlie rents a room to Demetrius, a good-natured radical horticulturist, unaware that prior to knocking on her front door Demetrius has been hiding in her basement, on the run after escaping a hail of police bullets.

MARLIE battles mounting bills, bellowing pipes, a lecherous boss, her ex’s scheme to evict her from Rainwood House, isolation, decay and self-doubt, as Samantha becomes embroiled in playground culture wars. Demetrius wanders through Rainwood House’s shuttered rooms pondering how to beat accusations of cop-shooting and terrorism while remaining incognito under Samantha’s friendly but sharp-eyed gaze. Increasingly entangled in each others’ lives, the characters join glamorous union shop steward Laranda Moss and a lively crew of supporters to launch, in the words of Labor Notes editor Jane Slaughter, “a cascade of idyllic solutions to very real-world problems,” including a friendship club, a people’s history museum, a university workers movement and a present-day Underground Railroad stop.


RAINWOOD HOUSE SINGS, a “social justice mystery” for youth and adults, paints a truthful yet mildly magical picture of activists tackling mysteries with creativity, humor and collective action.

BOOK ONE in the Rainwood House Series, Rainwood House Sings is published by Life in the Liberated Zone, which promotes engaging, stereotype-busting fiction about the fascinating, ferocious, funny and inspiring lives of activists of diverse backgrounds living in the belly of the beast while struggling to transform it.

“Blazing vitality…refreshing… funny…the characters are original, convincing, indeed compelling.”
–Judith Viorst

“A strong literary work with social justice narratives throughout its fabric. Should be widely read and discussed. A true gem!”
–Solomon Comissiong

“Estupendo libro! De verdad! Rainwood House Sings was like  an extension of my life the whole time I was reading it!…So engrossing, realistic, vivid.”
–Anaelisa Vanegas Jacobsen

“…Captivating [and] beautifully written, Rainwood House Sings does a masterful job of posing thought-provoking situations and inviting the reader in… ”

–Alden Lancaster

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