Sumter County Museum kicks off 2023 'Meet the Author' series with 2 events


Sumter County Museum is excited to welcome two award-winning authors during the next few weeks. To open the museum's "Meet the Author" series, New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict will speak on her new novel, "The Mitford Affair," on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 6:30 p.m. Benedict is a lawyer with more than 10 years' experience as a litigator at two of the country's premier law firms who found her calling unearthing the hidden historical stories of women. Her novels have uncovered stories of fascinating women like Albert Einstein's first wife, the brilliant inventor Hedy Lamarr, the incredible Clementine Churchill, Andrew Carnegie's maid, the British scientist Rosalind Franklin and others.

This book focuses on the six Mitford sisters who dominated the English scenes between the world wars. The family fell into disarray when one sister divorced her wealthy husband to marry a Fascist leader, and another followed her sister's lead all the way to Munich, inciting rumors that she had become Hitler's mistress. The book follows their sister Nancy's efforts to stop the Nazis from taking over Great Britain, a task that forced her to choose between loyalty to country and allegiance to family.

"The Mitford Affair" has already been named to many must-read lists including Good Morning America's Top 15 Books Coming Out in January and Town and Country's Best Books to Read in January. New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini calls it an "immersive spellbinding novel."

The museum's Jan. 26 event will feature a talk by the author, Q&A session, book signing and hors d'oeuvres reception. Tickets are $30 for museum members and $35 for the public. This includes a hardcover copy of her new book that can be signed at the event. Books-A-Million will be on site with additional copies for sale of her new book and past titles.

The museum is also excited to welcome award-winning author John Cribb for a talk and book signing luncheon on Monday, Feb. 6, at noon. Cribb will speak on his new historical fiction novel, "The Rail Splitter." Bringing Abraham Lincoln to life as never before, the novel focuses on Lincoln's remarkable journey from a log cabin to the threshold of the White House.

"Part coming-of-age story, part adventure story, part love story and part rags-to-riches story, 'The Rail Splitter' is the making of Abraham Lincoln. The story of the rawboned youth who goes from a log cabin to the White House is, in many ways, the great American story. 'The Rail Splitter' reminds us that the country Lincoln loved is a place of wide-open dreams where extraordinary journeys unfold."

The museum's Feb. 6 event will feature a talk by the author, Q&A session and book signing along with a delicious lunch. Tickets are $10 for museum members and $15 for the public. Books-A-Million will be on site with copies of his books available for purchase and signing.

Register for either event on the museum's website at or call the museum at (803) 775-0908. Both events will take place in the museum's McKenzie Hall in the Heritage Education Center on the main museum grounds at 122 N. Washington St., Sumter.

Sumter County Museum explores historical experiences through programs and exhibits that allow all of us to inform and shape our future. Museum facilities include the Williams Brice House (1916), Heritage Education Center, Carolina Backcountry Homestead and the new Temple Sinai Jewish History Center.