A native of Greenville, South Carolina, USA, Courtney McKinney-Whitaker holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of South Carolina Honors College, a master's of library and information science from the University of South Carolina, and a master's in English from Illinois State University. She lives in Illinois with her family.
"The events of the Anglo-Cherokee War in 1759-60 in South Carolina are brought vividly to modern readers in a meticulously researched tale. . . . Patient and sophisticated readers will find the story compelling and deeply moving and its heroine unforgettable."--Kirkus Reviews (starred) "In The Last Sister Courtney McKinney-Whitaker has crafted a riveting account of life in backcountry South Carolina during the devastating Anglo-Cherokee War of 1759-60. This carefully researched book is so compelling that I read it in a single sitting. Catriona Blair courageously negotiates a perilous world where it is hard to know who is an enemy and who is a friend. Along the way, she finds love and crosses the threshold from childhood to adulthood."--Melissa Walker, George Dean Johnson, Jr., professor of History, Converse College "Courtney McKinney-Whitaker's first novel is a page turner. The introductory paragraph of The Last Sister pulls the reader into the world of an unknown, cold morning in 1759. The heroine, Catie, then divulges her own story of endurance in the backcountry of South Carolina. This seventeen-year-old literally fights to survive attacks of both men and beasts in the wilderness. Dealing with the strong emotions of grief and revenge, she never falters until she finally encounters her new life. This ordinary young woman stands up against all obstacles, and I cheered her on."--Sheila Ingle, author of Courageous Kate: A Daughter of the American Revolution "The novel is noteworthy for its setting, circumstances germane to Colonial American history yet little known. . . . A unique historical fiction title with a compelling plot and unique backdrop, taking place during a little-known skirmish in a pivotal time of American history."--School Library Journal "McKinney-Whitaker's gripping tale may startle readers with its brutal events, but it offers well-rendered characters, nuanced treatment of Native and colonial viewpoints, and an especially affecting look at a young woman's power in the face of catastrophe." --Booklist (Anne O'Malley) The Last Sister: A Novel by Courtney McKinney-Whitaker, Silver Medal Winner for Historical Fiction in the 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards "The Last Sister is suspenseful and touching. Through the eyes of a teenage girl coming of age, readers gain an appreciation of the contentious dynamics in the Carolina Upcountry from the French and Indian War through the decades leading to the American Revolution. The tale of McKinney-Whitaker's strong, tenacious heroine will inspire young readers."--Courtney Tollison Hartness, Furman University, author of World War II and Upcountry South Carolina