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
"I loved Auraria, by Tim Westover, who based much of his mythos on southern Appalachian folklore. This story romps across those rugged mountains and splashes gleefully into springs flecked with gold. Westover presents us with a delightfully imaginative world, where trees sing and fish swim in the mist. His fluid, humorous style draws us right into that magical place. Highly recommended." -Jo Ann Butler, Historical Novel Society"When we decided to allow independent books in the Battle of the Books, it was with the hope that perhaps somewhere along the line we would find a hidden gem about which we could help spread the word. Auraria is it. Tim Westover writes at a professional level, and his quirky tale about a strange mining town where magic hides in plain sight is wonderfully fresh and original." -Aaron Hughes, Fantastic Reviews