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In the fall of 1945, eight children, brothers and sisters ranging in age from three months to ten years, vanished from a rented bungalow in Morganton, Georgia. They were taken by mule and wagon to a remote shack in the Blue Ridge foothills of Fannin County, near the North Carolina line. For the next four years they would live mostly alone, without mother or father, roaming the mountains and valleys of what had been Cherokee Territory, scouring for food and scrambling to take care of themselves and each other.
Few people ever knew what happened. Over time the children themselves became silent about their childhoods, and the history was buried.
Then in 2015 the children, long grown and many of them now grandparents, began to reveal the story to Janisse Ray, award-winning author of a bestselling memoir, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood. The Woods family wove a sometimes painful, sometimes jubilant, and always astounding revelation of their abandonment and survival in an Appalachian wilderness.
Ray is known for her literary nonfiction, with its rich lyricism, deep knowledge of the natural world, and sincere embrace of the ecology of the heart. Now comes The Woods of Fannin County, a fiction based on a true story. Here Ray weaves threads of resilience and hope in this powerful first novel about children who overcome.