My next installment of “Books You May Not Know of….but Ought to Try” is Auraria by Tim Westover.
Water spirits, moon maidens, haunted pianos, headless revenants, and an invincible terrapin that lives under the mountains. None of these distract James Holtzclaw from his employer’s mission: to turn the fading gold-rush town of Auraria, GA, into a first-class resort and drown its fortunes below a man-made lake. But when Auraria’s peculiar people and problematic ghosts collide with his own rival ambitions, Holtzclaw must decide what he will save and what will be washed away. Taking its inspiration from a real Georgia ghost town, Auraria is steeped in the folklore of the Southern Appalachians, where the tensions of natural, supernatural and artificial are still alive.
To be honest, I don’t think this is a self-published novel. It is very well-done, but I would not have heard of the author if it weren’t for Kindle’s book recommendations. I truly am thankful for that program, as I love to read wide. Looking further, I see that it is doing well on the charts, and it has 186 reviews averaging four stars.
This book took me outside of myself. It is at once historical and fantastical. You can imagine the main character in this situation 100 years ago, faced with the decision of turning a charming Southern town on its head or leaving them to live in their own idyllic ways. Only, add magical singing beings, sheepfruit, (what IS that anyway? I’d like to see it), and ghosts, and you have a joyride of a story based on a true Georgia ghost town. Don’t expect to understand it all right away. The author has created an alternate world in this town. Personally, I’d love to visit! Read this book for a quick, imaginative get away.