The Rice Birds


*** Available now ***

In 1849, twin sisters fleeing Ireland’s famine arrive at New York’s seaport. Only one — Nora-is allowed to get on the boat to South Carolina to fulfill her work contract. On her master’s vast rice plantation, an enslaved worker — Pearl — befriends her. After one of them commits a crime, the girls flee to Charleston, a dangerous place for runaways. Nora frantically seeks to get back to her twin and Pearl tries to find her mother before heading north. Meanwhile, an old enemy’s illegal transatlantic scheme is about to derail the girls’ plans.

SKU: 978-1-929647-68-2 Categories: ,


Historically accurate, the book draws upon interviews with academics, historians, and educators, as well as dissertations, histories, Gullah stories, cookbooks, and the diaries of Lowcountry rice planters. The Rice Birds takes the reader beyond the well-known narrative about Charleston’s history to reveal real events and lives that have seen little light in contemporary books. Some stories were so compelling, they needed little embellishment before being woven into this tale.

Praise for The Rice Birds

“Like the hunted rice birds of South Carolina’s Lowcountry, two desperate women — an Irish indentured servant and an enslaved servant — flee antebellum Charleston in this meticulously-researched and beautifully-crafted race to freedom.

The Rice Birds is an atmospheric, unforgettable novel that dives into the tumultuous years preceding the Civil War to reveal the determination, perseverance, and courage of remarkable women in search of self, family, and home. I loved it.“

— Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author
     of more than 27 books

“In a poignant story of two runaway servants who befriend each other in 1849 Charleston to survive, The Rice Birds will steal your heart. The starving Irish immigrant and the enslaved house servant battle a common enemy while trying to find their loved ones snatched from their arms. Lindy Keane Carter’s transportive prose will carry you through this compelling and splendid story.“

— Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author

“Lindy Keane Carter is a captivating writer of historical fiction and a powerful storyteller. The Rice Birds has tension on every page, truth that shocks and exposes, and characters we come to love. Carter’s Irish brogue is transporting, and the pages are littered with magical phrases: “No bigger than a penny’s worth of soap“ and “A big-eyed waif folded up like a broken twig.“ I am a big fan of Carter’s writing talent, and her latest novel is a first-class winner!“

— Leah Weiss, bestselling author of If the Creek Don’t Rise and  
All the Little Hopes (Sourcebooks)

About the Author

Lindy Keane Carter is a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. After writing non-fiction for 30 years, she signed up for a fiction-writing class at a community college in Maryland. Her short stories won awards in 2003 and 2009 in the South Carolina Arts Commission’s Fiction Project contest. The Rice Birds is her third published novel. Lindy is the mother of two daughters and a son. Visit her at or