Next Tuesday we will welcome Jackson Ellis, author of Lords of St. Thomas and Sarah Ward author of Aesop Lake to the library. Ellis and Ward will be reading from, discussing, and signing their novels. Books will be available at the event.
Ellis’s poignant family story takes place in the Mojave Desert, at the southern end of the isolated Moapa Valley, in the town of St. Thomas, Nevada. A small community that thrived despite scorching temperatures and scarce water, St. Thomas was home to hardy railroad workers, farmers, shopkeepers, teachers, and a lone auto mechanic named Henry Lord. All lived happily until the stroke of a pen by President Coolidge authorizing the construction of the Boulder (Hoover) Dam. Within a decade, more than 250 square miles of desert floor would become flooded by the waters of the Colorado River, and St. Thomas would be no more.
Ward’s young adult novel tells the story of eventeen-year-old Leda Keogh who is present when her boyfriend, David, commits a hate crime against a gay couple at the town reservoir on a warm May night. When David threatens to narc on her mother’s drug dealing if Leda confesses to what she’s seen, Leda tries to escape the consequences, by taking a summer job out of town. Jonathan Eales is one of the victims. When he and his boyfriend, Ricky, are caught skinny dipping by two high school thugs, Jonathan manages to swim out of reach, but watches in horror as Ricky is severely beaten. Jonathan wants to fight back, but fears the small rural community, where he is an outsider, will protect their own. Two voices weave a coming-of-age story that confronts diversity and bullying in rural America.