Panthers, and Witches, and Rabies – Oh My!
There might not be a wizard in this one but there’s definitely a bit of magic and a host of quirky characters.
The Winter Sisters is a FUN read. The prose is clever, the conversation is snarky, and the story takes you into a world of medicine, healing, and folklore, while introducing you to a host of peculiar personalities.
“A spellbinding blend of historical fiction and magic realism, THE WINTER SISTERS mixes science with superstition in this enchanting, lush novel.” -IndieReader, 5 stars
It’s 1822 in Lawrenceville, GA and there’s a rabies epidemic in the small mountain town. The pastor has summoned Dr. Waycross to come take care of the community in the traditional, medicinal way, after he has driven the only “healers” they’ve ever known out of town. The Winter sisters, who he believes to be witches, practice some unconventional methods including crushed herb concoctions, nails in skulls, and moldy bread pressed on wounds. But the town loves the sisters – and wants nothing to do with Waycross and his “scientific” bloodletting and amputating saw.
As he gets to know the “witches” and learns of their techniques and traditions, they decide to combine forces to try to heal the town and those with this incurable fatal affliction – but it’s looking like they might need a miracle.
“Tim Westover has a rare talent for putting the reader right into the story, his characters are complex and never stereotypical, and the world he creates is both beautiful and haunting. This is a fine example of Southern Literature at its most moving, enchanting, and compelling.” -Southern Literary Review
The story is quite imaginative with just a touch of whimsy, a dash of magic and a handful of humor, and is guaranteed to lift an ailing spirit.
Available now! You can get it here!
- Paperback: 322 pages
- Publisher: QW Publishers (August 7, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 098497489X
- ISBN-13: 978-0984974894
About the Book:
A stuffy big-city doctor. Three rural folk healers. An unexpected partnership could put lives on the line…
Georgia, 1822. Dr. Aubrey Waycross puts his faith in science, not superstition. So when he moves to a remote mountain town, he’s dismayed to see the townsfolk reject his scientific blood-letting methods in favor of potions and witchcraft. And with a rabid panther stalking the area, he’s running out of time to convince the citizens of the error of their ways.
Confronting the trio of spell-peddling sisters, he’s stunned to find their herbal remedies may contain the missing ingredient he needs for a cure. But with the local pastor hellbent on driving them out and the youngest sister unwilling to share her mysterious abilities, he worries he could lose the sick to madness and death.
Can Dr. Waycross discover the right combination of science and sorcery to save the townspeople?
The Winter Sisters is a spellbinding frontier-America historical fantasy. If you like unique twists on history, complex characters, and a touch of enchantment, then you’ll love Tim Westover’s richly woven tale.
About the Author:
I’m Tim Westover, (1982 – ?). I’m not a native Southerner – no accent, no family roots here. I’m Southern now through exposure and exploration and no small amount of good luck.
I was born in Rhode Island, and my family moved to Tennessee and then to London, England. We moved to Georgia when I was in high school. I graduated from Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, GA, and then went to Davidson College in North Carolina and the University of Georgia. I traveled for volunteer work and language studies, going to Russia, Iceland, Germany, Croatia, Cuba, and all over the United States.
But after all that, I came back to Lawrenceville. Today, it’s an Atlanta suburb, filled with chain restaurants and Interstate traffic. Right in the middle, there’s a pretty square with an old brick courthouse. Going on walks during my lunch break, I’d read the historic signs, and I learned that under the pavement, there’s a lot of history and tall tales. The present courthouse is actually the third one on the site: the first one burned in 1871, and the second one was so poorly constructed they tore it down in 1884. Lawrenceville used to be on the frontier of Cherokee territory; important trials and debates in the tragedy of the Trail of Tears happened here. There’s gold in the river and, tucked between subdivisions, there’s a line of mounds that might be in the shape of a giant serpent. Citizens protested puddles on the dirt roads by casting their fishing lines into them. Oak trees cast their shade on crumbling stone horse troughs. Men and women swapped horses and gossip and listened to the patent medicine sellers on Honest Alley. Mrs. Maltbie took her whacking cane and smashed up the saloon that sold her son one too many drinks.
Back in the day, Lawrenceville built a low black fence around its square because they’d leave the doors open on hot days, and pigs would wander into the courtroom and cause a ruckus. There’s a legend that anyone who sits and takes a rest on that fence will never leave Lawrenceville. I decided to sit down.
I learned how to make biscuits – we didn’t have a family recipe, so I had to start one. I’ve shoveled dead possums off my driveway. I taught myself to play the clawhammer banjo. I’ve met the mule that turns the wheel that grinds my favorite brand of grits (Red Mule Grits, the mule’s name is Luke). I say “y’all” unironically.
On the weekends, I drive to other little Georgia towns. Each one has a history just as rich as Lawrenceville’s. Some only exist as historic markers now, or as ghosts. A pile of stones in a traffic median north of Dahlonega is the grave of an Indian princess, Trahlyta, who drank from a fountain of youth but died when she was captured by rival warrior and carried away from her land. Outside of Winder was a boiling lake of mud that was known as “Cherokee Hell” until it exploded one day in the 1800s. A giant invincible turtle lived in the caves in the mountains; settlers knew they couldn’t kill it, but they kept throwing rocks and stones until it retreated in annoyance to depths unknown.
I tell people that I don’t make up anything that I write. Generations before me have already found the best stories. I collect what I can from old folks, young folks, museums, signs, pamphlets, and old newspaper articles. And I tie them up with a little narrative to save as many of the old stories as I can.
I’ve worked for a small medical software company in Lawrenceville for over twenty years. I live in Grayson, GA. From our back porch, we can look down to Big Haynes Creek and a place called Hope Hollow, where the Winter sisters may once have lived. I didn’t make them up. I think they’ve always been here.
The Winter Sisters: A Novel (2019)
Auraria: A Novel (2012)