Message from MiBurg:
After reading our post, Books that every West Virginian Should read, contributor Hannah Wilkes asked if we would feature a list of adult fiction novels set in West Virginia. Since we appreciate reader submissions, we gladly accepted the offer. We want to thank Hannah for taking the time to compile this list. Because there are several titles that we had never heard of before, we are looking forward to adding them to our ever expanding reading list.
Have you read any of these titles before?
What are your thoughts?
Share with us in the comments below.
Carrying Albert Home | Homer Hickam
Homer Hickam’s fantastical new book is a fictional account of his parents’ courtship and their alligator, Albert. It is described as “Big Fish meets The Notebook.”
Storming Heaven | Denise Giardina
This moving book tells the story of mine towns in the early part of the twentieth century, culminating in the Battle of Blair Mountain. Its characters’ stories continue in The Unquiet Earth.
It’s Halloween, and the zombie apocalypse has arrived. A teenager and his young brother, who has autism, fight their way through the mountains to Charleston, where the real action is. Even if you aren’t in to zombies or video games, it’s really neat to read about familiar places without the ever-present themes of poverty, barefootedness, and coal.
Keller’s debut novel is the first in her series of novels featuring Bell Elkins, prosecuting attorney for the fictional Raythune County. This first novel investigates a murder in the fictional town of Acker’s Gap. Elkins’ story continues in the books Bitter River and Summer of the Dead.
The Miner’s Daughter | Gretchen Moran Laskas
This fictional account based in Laskas’ family history explores the bleak life of a coal miner’s daughter in Depression-era Arthurdale. It explores the promises and compromises of the New Deal for West Virginians in the 1930s.
Tender Graces | Kathryn Magendie
After the death of her mother, Virginia Kate returns to her West Virginia birthplace. The story takes her on a journey through betrayals and abuse in her family history.
The Truth According to Us | Annie Barrows
This Depression-era book is set in fictional Macedonia, a mill town modeled heavily on Martinsburg and Romney, which Barrows has said were “the most exciting and glamorous places in the world” when she was a child! The book is a coming-of-age story about a young girl from Macedonia and a socialite from D.C. who is sent to live in Macedonia and write for the New Deal’s Writer’s Project.
Whisper Hollow | Chris Cander
This debut novel is set in a small coal-mining town. When a young girl is killed, her sister turns to a twisted version of Catholicism to cope with her guilt. Years later, a young boy begins to tell stories that ring surprisingly true to the town’s secrets, leading many to accuse him of being possessed by an evil spirit. It is a story of suspicion, love, and betrayal.
This series is a coming-of-age story about a girl from Pennsylvania who spends the summer with her cousins in Shepherdstown. It is set in the 70s and explores teenage love and heartbreak, growing up, and the burgeoning drug problem.
The Alex Crow | Andrew Smith
This science fiction novel tells the story of a fifteen-year-old refugee from the Middle East, who is living with a family in West Virginia. He spends his summer at a boys’ camp, and his story is set next to nineteenth-century diary entries recording a failed arctic expedition, and the adventures of a depressed bionic reincarnated crow.
Between River and Mountain | Sally Walker Brinkmann
Set in Morgan County, this book tells the story of a young man whose life is disrupted by the outbreak of the Civil War. It chronicles his life and loves as he joins his army and is pulled away from home.
Local artist Topper Sherwood’s debut novel is set during the Mine Wars of the 1920s. The book follows the title character as she fights for justice and her home during this violent time.
Lux series | Jennifer Armentrout
Martinsburg native Armentrout, who also writes as J. Lynn, has written a number of New York Times-bestselling contemporary and fantasy romances for teens and adults. The Lux series, which is a human-alien romance, is her only work set in West Virginia.
Strange As this Weather Has Been | Ann Pancake
A recent Common Reading selection at Shepherd, Strange As this Weather Has Been is set in present-day West Virginia. It is the story of several members of a family and explores issues related to mining, domestic abuse, and family.
The Marrowbone Marble Company | M. Glenn Taylor
Taylor’s second novel tells the story of a World War II soldier who tires of his job in a glass factory and joins with his cousins to start a marble manufacturing company. The book examines the impact of the rising civil rights movement on this company and the owner’s family.