Barbara Ridley with Kate Jessica Raphael — 'Unswerving: A Novel'

A story of courage, resilience, and love, Unswerving challenges readers’ preconceived notions of disability, of limitations, and of the inevitability of fate.


Third Place Books welcomes Barbara Ridley to our Lake Forest Park store for a presentation of her new novel, Unswerving! Ridley will be joined in conversation by Kate Jessica Raphael, author of The Midwife's In Town. This event is free and open to the public.

For important updates, registration is highly recommended in advance. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

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About Unswerving. . .

When Tave wakes up alone in the hospital, she barely remembers the car wreck. Far from home, dazed, and despondent, she struggles to face the challenges of her new paralysis—all while worrying about her partner, Les, also severely injured in the accident, now cared for by her homophobic parents who refuse to allow contact.

In rehab, Tave relearns life skills and comes to recognize that her future will be completely different than she’d imagined. Where will she live? How will she find the help she needs? Can her friends rise to the occasion? Or will she be forced to move back in with her mother, putting up with endless talk of faith healers? Her one beacon of hope is Beth, her physical therapist. But Beth’s relationship problems with her own girlfriend push her toward overinvolvement—and risk damaging both her career and Tave’s recovery.


Praise for Unswerving. . .

Unswerving is fresh, vital, and important, with a well-drawn plot that moves the narrative along briskly. There is no miraculous recovery, but there are small victories here.”
—Anne Finger, author of A Woman, in Bed

“It is rare for a work of fiction to tackle such topics; filled with engaging characters and vividly depicted, Unswerving’s account of injury and healing is detailed and believable.”
—Amy Hoffman, author of Dot & Ralfie

Unswerving will have you cheering on the main character, Tave, as she navigates the trials and triumphs of her life as a young, newly disabled lesbian. Ridley paints a realistic but not heroic story of spinal cord injury recovery, full of complex relationships, tragedy, humor, and all the messiness of life that we can all relate to.”
—Judith Smith, director emerita of Axis Dance Company and SCI quad

“Gripping. . . . In the insightful novel Unswerving, a woman facing tremendous losses transforms because of her courage, resilience, and community.”
Foreword Reviews

Barbara Ridley is the author of When It’s Over, winner of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal for Historical Fiction. Before turning to creative writing, she worked for many years as a spinal-cord-injury nurse practitioner.

Kate Raphael is a Lambda-nominated novelist, journalist, anarchafeminist and queer activist based in Seattle. Her published work includes the Palestine mystery series, Murder Under the Bridge and Murder Under the Fig Tree, and The Midwife’s In Town, a prescient story of underground abortion published in early 2022. She received a 2011 Hedgebrook residency and is a producer on KPFA radio Women’s Magazine, where one of her joys is interviewing authors. She has an MFA in Writing at Goddard College and has taught at Hugo House and SCRIB LAB. She hosts the Radical Fiction Facebook Group.

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

Third Place Books Events Code of Conduct: Third Place Books is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of event attendees and guest authors, during both online and in-store events. By registering for this event, you are agreeing to refrain from engaging in inappropriate behavior and harassment of any kind throughout the course of this event (i.e. racial slurs, profanity, hate speech, spam comments, etc.). Please note that any participants who engage in inappropriate behavior or harassment of any kind will be immediately ejected from the event.

For media inquiries, access inquiries, or questions about our Covid-19 policies, please email or call our Lake Forest Park store at (206) 366-3311.