In early June, Harvard Square Editions author, L.L. Holt, read from her new novel, Invictus, at A Novel Idea on Passyunk, one of Philadelphia’s most exciting small bookshops with a bohemian flair. The book launch coincided with a South Philly street fair, and there was music and the scent of delicious ethnic food in the air.
Visitors entered the bookshop as Holt shared some surprising information about the tumultuous early years of the composer Beethoven and brought her theatrical training to readings that included a vivid depiction of a family crisis.
“Two of the people Sunday came up to me with tears in their eyes after I read one of the domestic violence episodes from the book,” said Holt. One man said it really hit close to home for him. A woman said that the book reassured her that there is hope for those who escape from domestic violence. “If he could go on and make something of his life, then there’s hope for others, too,” she said.
By presenting Invictus in public readings, Holt has discovered aspects of the book, such as its dramatic retelling of incidents of prejudice and domestic abuse, that have struck a responsive note with the public. “It’s not just a book about a beloved composer,” she said, “but a guidebook for confronting and moving beyond the obstacles that others put in our way.”