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Auraria by Tim Weston

What do you expect when a book bills itself as being a blend of folklore, fantasy and the U.S. South? Not what I found that’s for sure…

I get loads of submissions here at stuffwhatiwrote mansions and this book stood out from the rest not just because of the story which is inspired by a real Georgia ghost town but also for its author Tim Weston. He is an award winning writer in Esperanto and this is his first English-language novel.

In Auraria we find Waterspirits, moonmaidens, 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, G.A, 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.

The writing in the book is beautiful at times and really draws you into the book. This is fortunate because the plot takes a while to kick in. The first few chapters read like short stories and the only continuity between them is the Holtzclaw character.

For me, Weston focussed on the folklore of the region that he’s been inspired by and not enough on stitching them together into a detailed story. Take out all the chapters that focus on introducing you to a moonmaiden, headless ghost or whatever and the book is cut in half. Even this leaves you with a story of man building a hotel.

That is until the hotel and the dam are built and everything starts to coalesce into a thoroughly enjoyable ending. You start to appreciate the themes that he has been weaving gradually (a little too gradually) through the book and understand his point. The characters become well rounded and their true intentions are explored.

I enjoyed all the folklore but I enjoyed the ending much more, if they could swap places in the focus for the book then it would be even better. What holds you to the end though is the writing, Tim Weston has a gift and will go on to write great things I’m sure.

I can’t compare this book to anything I have ever read so can’t recommend this if you liked blah blah by blah-di-blah, so read Auraria if you’re looking for something different.

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