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Lightningstruck, A Novel by Ashley Mace Havird. Set during the Civil Rights Era in the South.


Winner of the 2015 Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction

Mercer University Press

"Full of mystery, tension, and the very real and often turbulent history of rural South Carolina, Lightningstruck is an engrossing and enchanting story."

    Tim O’Brien, National Book Award Winner and author of The Things They Carried

"The voice of Etta McDaniel mesmerizes us from the first sentence to the final page of Ashley Mace Havird's novel, Lightningstruck. It is an elegantly crafted coming of age story of a girl on the verge of adolescence. Etta's insights about family, friends, her tiny town and American society in the mid-1960s are beautifully intertwined with her story and that of a mysterious horse that survives a direct hit from lightning. The depth of Etta's tale and its indelible characters makes it a novel for readers of any generation."

     Robert L. Pincus, former art critic and books editor of The San Diego Union-Tribune

​"It's rare these days to find a good poet who can also write fine fiction. It turns out Ashley Mace Havird is one of these. I read Lightningstruck with great pleasure, and felt entirely in the spell of her prose. I won't soon forget Etta McDaniel and her journey."

    Richard Bausch, author of The Stories of Richard Bausch and editor of The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction


In May of 1964, eleven-year-old Etta McDaniel's horse is struck by lightning—dead and gone, she hopes, out of her life "as though he'd never come in the first place, bringing with him one catastrophe after another." But Troy, gruesomely scarred, not only survives but seems to have gained supernatural powers, which Etta sets her mind on harnessing in her search for treasure. Troy has other plans.

"While the story centers on a girl of 11, Lightningstruck is not only a book for young readers. It is also for adults looking back on childhood and the complexities of the world that reveal themselves as we come of age. Like the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it can be read in different ways by people of different stages in their lives." Robert L. Pincus

Click here to read the complete review by Robert L. Pincus of an exhibit featuring Lightningstruck.

Click here to listen to a Red River Radio Spotlight interview with Ashley about Lightningstruck.

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