Each year the librarians at the Orem Library pick one book to read as a community. For Orem Reads 2021 we travel to the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina for The Ballad of Frankie Silver by Sharyn McCrumb. Based on actual events, this is the true story of an 18-year-old frontier girl, hanged for murder in Burke County North Carolina in 1833. Click here for a full line up of events, supplemental resources, and to find out how you can receive a free copy of the book. As we get ready to read The Ballad of Frankie Silver and explore the legends, natural wonders, history, culture and contemporary issues of Appalachia, here is a list of the 5 more great adult fiction books set in the Appalachian region.

Top 5 Books Set in Appalachia | Librarian List

Where All Light Tends to Go

By David Joy
Adult Fiction

Set in North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains, eighteen-year-old Jacob McNeely is torn between appeasing his meth-dealing kingpin father and leaving the mountains forever with the girl he loves


Bull Mountain

By Brian Panowich
Adult Fiction

A multigenerational saga set in the mountains of north Georgia, where the Burroughs family has been running shine, pot, and meth for decades. Rogue son Clayton Burroughs has become a local sheriff to keep what peace he can, until an ATF agent who’s not quite what he seems throws a wrench into the works


Cold Mountain

By Charles Frazier
Adult Fiction

Cold Mountain is a novel about a soldier’s perilous journey back to his beloved near the Civil War’s end. At once a love story & a harrowing account of one man’s long walk home, Cold Mountain introduces a new talent in American literature. Based on local history & family stories passed down by Frazier’s great-great-grandfather, Cold Mountain is the tale of a wounded Confederate soldier, Inman, who walks away from the ravages of the war & back home to his prewar sweetheart, Ada. His odyssey thru the devastated landscape of the soon-to-be-defeated South interweaves with Ada’s struggle to revive her father’s farm, with the help of an intrepid young drifter named Ruby. As their long-separated lives begin to converge at the close of the war, Inman & Ada confront the vastly transformed world they’ve been delivered.


The Giver of Stars

By Jojo Moyes
Adult Fiction

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion.


Something Rich and Strange

By Ron Rash
Adult Fiction

No one captures the complexities of Appalachia as evocatively as Ron Rash. This collection of short stories demonstrate his ability to evoke the heart and soul of this land and its people.

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