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Auraria: A Novel Paperback – March 3, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: QW Publishers (March 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984974806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984974801
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #804,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred review. This baroque alternate history reimagines the town where America’s first gold rush started, weaving tall tales and legends, Carrollian surrealism, and a fascinating cast of characters into a genuinely inventive novel that reads like steampunk via Mark Twain. Auraria, Ga., was the site of a gold strike that presaged the California gold rush by 20 years and was the original cause of the Cherokees’ forced exodus along the Trail of Tears. Westover describes it as a town of spirits and portents, populated by piano-playing ghosts, potatoes that bite back with “starchy fangs,” and snowball hens that lay ice cream eggs. The valley proves more than a match for the speculator Shadburn and his lieutenant, Holtzclaw, whose plan to create a lakefront resort falls victim to the lust for gold. Meanwhile, Cherokee princess Trahlyta is determined to rid her domain of the alluring but useless metal. Fact and fancy are intertwined cleverly and seamlessly in a top-notch, thoroughly American fantasy.


"Fact and fancy are intertwined cleverly and seamlessly in a top-notch, thoroughly American fantasy." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Envision Lewis Carroll on a romp through the mountains of Georgia, discovering a land of shimmery mystery and spirits, humble monsters, quirky characters, singing trees and vengeful fish. The best part is that Tim Westover can really write." -Josephine Humphreys, Hemingway/PEN Award Winner, author of Rich in Love

"Mr. Westover brings my beloved Georgia to life, complete with spells, haints, and moon maidens. Not since Wendell Berry has an author woven such a beautifully intricate southern community." -Ann Hite, author of Ghost On Black Mountain

"For those who like Georgia-based folklore and history, this is an enlightening read and may encourage you to learn more about the actual accounts that inspired this novel." -Gainesville (GA) Times

More About the Author

Tim Westover, a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Georgia, lives in suburban Atlanta. Born in the north, educated in England, and frequent visitor to Russia, he found his home in the North Georgia mountains.

In addition to writing, Westover enjoys programming, playing the clawhammer banjo, and raising his three-year-old daughter to be a modern American eccentric.

Customer Reviews

Tim Westover has written a wonderfully intelligent fantasy folklore tale.
Zabeth Marsh (book, tv and movie reviewer)
I tried really hard to get into it, but after about half of it, I started scanning just to get to the end of it.
I like for things to happen in my books, and this wasn’t that sort of book.
Eneasz M. Brodski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. Sozaeva VINE VOICE on August 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Book Info: Genre: Magical Realism Reading Level: Adult

Disclosure: I received a free eGalley eBook edition of this text from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis: 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.

My Thoughts: I live in Georgia, but haven't really been into the north Georgia mountains. I was charmed by the fantastic happenings that Holtzclaw experiences in and around the community of Auraria. I've become interested in learning more about the lore and legends of this area as a result of reading this book. Since I have absolutely no knowledge, I can't comment on whether the creatures and ghosts used in the book are based upon real legends and lore, but the legends and such he uses/creates for this book are very fun.

I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite among the many characters - living, dead, and supernatural - that people this excellent story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Sparks on July 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
They say "don't judge a book by its cover," and sometimes I agree with that and sometimes I don't. In the case of Auraria, however, I'm begging you to not judge it by the cover. When I was first asked to review Tim Westover's latest, I was left a little flat by its nondescript gray tones, and I couldn't imagine what this book was supposed to be about. But the story caught me completely off guard, and I'm here to tell you Auraria is a book worth reading, and I am recommending it without hesitation.

Filled with folktales and magical imagery, Auraria is the tale of two men, Shadburn and Holtzclaw, who try to turn the small, mountainous town of Auraria, Georgia into a world-class vacation resort. The first sentence of the book sets the tone for what's to come:

"Holtzclaw hadn't heard of Auraria until his employer sent him to destroy it."

Holtzclaw is given the task of buying up all the land parcels in Auraria so that his employer Shadburn can launch his plan. But when he arrives and starts getting to know the townsfolk, he discovers a wild and unpredictable place full of ghosts, singing trees, and moon maidens that bathe in the springs of Auraria in order to wash the gold off their skin. At first Holtzclaw is skeptical of the piano-playing ghosts and fish that jump out of the mist, but the longer he stays in Auraria, the more he becomes enchanted by the magical forces at play. Most of the land owners he approaches sell their property willingly enough after seeing the pile of money and gold coins Holtzclaw pulls out of his bag, and before long Shadburn joins Holtzclaw in Auraria to begin putting his plan into action: building a huge dam to stop the waters that flow throughout the town to create an immense lake, which will literally bury Auraria underwater.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Meg @ A Bookish Affair on July 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book was definitely different than I expected. It's sort of hard to categorize it. The story is definitely unique. I could see this story appealing to a wide variety of readers. As a historical fiction lover, I really liked the historical elements. The story takes place in the late 1800s. It was interesting to see what things were like then. There is also a really interesting fantasy element to it, mostly having to do with the characters, which I will get into later.

Auraria is in the middle of nowhere Georgia. It's not all that notable except for the people or rather beings that make their home there. I loved all of the different beings in this book. Westover does a great job with making them feel really real. That's definitely a talent! I love when authors are able to turn the fantastic into something familiar. It's sort of magical realism in a way. My favorite character was the Princess of the lake. She is just a really cool and very well written character.

The downside of this book to me really had to do with the main character, Holtzclaw. There is all of this fantastic stuff going on around him and he's just not that exciting on his own. He's definitely a good guy and is trying to do right by his employer, Shadburn, and by the people of the town but he struck me as a little bit flat. On the upside, he did help to make the more unique characters stand out a little bit more.

Bottom line: This book is great for those who like a little fantastic with their literary.
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