Appalachian Nature Fiction

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#Springathon involves nature writing. Nature fiction is not always as easy to find as nonfiction titles though. Here is a short list of some of the “nature novels” I’ve enjoyed. While the story itself is not necessarily about nature, the writing is vivid in bringing the nature surrounding people and events to life.


Map of Appalachia. Click for map credit.

The Books


Although a middle grades book, I highly recommend this story for the nature story within it–that of the herbs and medicinal plants the family collects and sells. Where the Lillies Bloom by Vera and Bill Cleaver.


This novel brings to life the migration of the monarch butterflies. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.


Marshes and wetlands can be beautiful. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.


While this book focuses on the family of a coal miner, the surrounding nature is an integral part of the story. This is “the” classic of Appalachian literature. River of Earth: A Novel by James Still.  


The Awakening Land trilogy covers the settling of Southeastern Ohio and include magnificent descriptions of the area. It is very good read as well. The Trees, The Forrest, and The Town all by Conrad Richter.


Like River of Earth, this book is not “about” nature, but due to work and way of life of the characters. a great deal of nature is included. Like Where the Lillies Bloom there is a good deal of discussion of medicinal plants, too. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and The Book Woman’s Daughter both by Kim Michelle Richardson.


I wanted to include the Mitford book that introduces Lace Harper, for she earned money selling the most valuable plants growing in the area. Sadly, I couldn’t recall which book it was and, surprisingly, the internet to not give me that information. So, I’m linking to the first book in the huge, but wonderful, series. At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon.

Are you aware of other novels set in Appalachia with great nature writing in them? Leave me a comment or a link to your own post.

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