Grubbie Debut: Tessa Fontaine, author of The Red Grove, in conversation with Margot Livesey

Porter Square Books: Boston Edition and GrubStreet are delighted to present the latest installment of the Grubbie Debut event series, featuring debut novelist Tessa Fontaine! Join us for a celebration of her novel The Red Grove on Thursday, May 16 at Porter Square Books: Boston Edition (50 Liberty Dr. Boston, Ma 02210). Author Margot Livesey will join Fontaine in conversation, and the author talk will be followed by a signing line.

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This event is co-presented by GrubStreet and Porter Square Books



When her mother goes missing, a young woman uncovers the secrets beneath her protected community.

The women asked: How are they safe?

And Tamsen Nightingale said: In this red grove, no woman can be harmed. No violence may come upon her. No injury to her flesh from the flesh of another.

The Story of the Sisters, Welcoming Incantation

The Red Grove is a special place, protected. Some say a spell was cast by the community’s founder, Tamsen Nightingale. Some say the mountain lions who stalk the nearby hills guard its mysteries and its people. Some say the mighty redwoods keep them safe.

Yet Luce’s mother, Gloria, has gone missing. A man came seeking answers among the Red Grove’s mysteries—a connection to the beyond—and died. And then Gloria vanished. The Red Grove is Luce’s whole world. She is devoted to its mission, its rituals and myths. But she knows that her mother, frustrated free spirit though she might be, wouldn’t just leave without a word, wouldn’t leave her little brother, Roo, and especially their aunt Gem, whose care in that suspended state of everdream depends on Gloria in every way. But as Luce tries to figure out what has happened to her mother, she discovers that this special place is not what it seems and that protection comes at a cost.

The debut novel by the acclaimed author of The Electric Woman, Tessa Fontaine's The Red Grove is an exploration of the legacies of violence, the price of safety, and the choices we make to protect what we love.


“A daughter’s quest to find her vanished mother yields a scorching and suspenseful exploration of the complex architectures of families, the mysteries entrenched in landscapes, and the illusory nature of safety. Is the enigmatic Red Grove a sanctuary or a site of violence? Tessa Fontaine’s thrilling novel shines a bright light on the foundational myths on which lives are built.”
—Laura van den Berg, author of I Hold a Wolf by the Ears

The Red Grove is a deeply atmospheric, haunting, and propulsive missing-person tale that explores the reverberations of violence and our complex, sometimes mystical relationship with nature and with one another. In achingly beautiful language, Tessa Fontaine illuminates the space between reality and myth, story and history, utopia and dystopia. I loved this novel.”
—Angie Kim, author of Happiness Falls

“At once a haunting dream, a taut mystery, a level stare at gender violence, and an intricate generational tale of love and fear, Tessa Fontaine’s humane and stirring The Red Grove is unlike any other novel I’ve ever read.”
—Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World


Tessa Fontaine is the author of THE ELECTRIC WOMAN: A MEMOIR IN DEATH-DEFYING ACTS, a New York Times Editors' Choice, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, and best book of 2018 by Southern Living, Refinery29, Amazon Editors', and The New York Post. Other writing can be found in Outside, The New York Times, Glamour, AGNI, The Believer, LitHub, Creative Nonfiction, and more. Raised outside San Francisco, Tessa is a former professor and has taught in jails and prisons for five years. She co-founded and teaches the Accountability Workshops with writer and pal Annie Hartnett, and lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, daughter, goofy dog and sassy cat. THE RED GROVE is her first novel. 

Margot Livesey grew up on the edge of the Scottish Highlands and has taught in numerous writing programs including Emerson College, Boston University, Bowdoin College, and the Warren Wilson low residency MFA program. She is the author of a collection of stories and nine novels, including Eva Moves the Furniture, The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The Boy in the Field. The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing was published in 2017. She is a professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and goes back to Scotland whenever she can. Her tenth novel, The Road from Belhaven, was published in February, 2024.


Celebrating over 25 years as the nation's leading and largest independent center for creative writing, GrubStreet is the place where writers develop their craft – and themselves – through the power of writing and sharing their work. GrubStreet offers hundreds of creative writing programs and events for writers from all backgrounds and ages at its Center for Creative Writing in the Seaport, in many Boston neighborhoods, and online. Scholarships are available for all offerings, and many programs are free. At its center, GrubStreet also hosts a community lounge, a podcast studio, Porter Square Books: Boston Edition, and a Writers’ Stage. Learn more at

Event date: 

Thursday, May 16, 2024 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

Porter Square Books: Boston Edition
50 Liberty Drive
Boston, MA 02210

RSVP Form: 

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The Red Grove: A Novel By Tessa Fontaine Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374605810
Availability: In Stock: Click Title to See if it's in CAMBRIDGE or BOSTON
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 14th, 2024


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