Well, my friends, amazing as it seems, we’re about to release the fourth novel to be set in my fictional town of Angel River, Virginia. And since I’ve been spending so much time here in my imagination, I decided I’d like to write a few blog posts about it, too. I hope that sounds good to you.
Angel River is located in the Piedmont Region of Virginia, which is the long, rolling stretch of country that lies between the Coastal Plain and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The land there is some of the oldest in the world, with the bedrock dating back to 2,500 million years, when the earth itself was young. The town lies along Route 2347, also known as the Clary-Williams Highway. Once upon a time, 2347 was a major route between Charlottesville and Richmond, and brought plenty of customers to the various businesses in Angel River. But when the American highway system started to go in, our town lost much of her commerce, and by the late 1950s she had become another lonely, poverty-stricken hamlet with no industry of her own, and little hope for the future. She survived, however, and in the late 1990s she started to see an economic recovery.
A prime example of the town’s ups and downs is the Angel River Cafe. We spent some time there in Homesong, the first Angel River novel. At that time, the cafe was owned by George Brent, a native son of Angel River. In the decades following Mr. Brent’s untimely death, the cafe changed hands several times, until it finally found its new custodian in Mae Wallace.
Mae is a transplant from Chicago, where she helped run a successful restaurant. In the early 2000s she was looking for a change of scenery and ended up wandering into Angel River. She never wandered out again, and now she owns and runs the cafe. You might have met Mae in a short story called Two Turtledoves, which was published in an anthology several years ago. She also had a small role to play in The House on the Hill. And you’ll definitely meet her again in The Book of Forgotten Angels, which will be available later this week.
Mae took the cafe under her wing, as it were, and revived the cafe to its former glory. If you’re ever in town, you should be sure to stop in. They have old standards and new favorites. The scones are to die for, made from Mae’s mother’s recipe. And the blueberry pie is still made exactly how George Brent made it, more than four decades ago.
So that’s it for this visit to Angel River. If you’ve read any of the books and you have questions about the town or its residents, please feel free to ask me. What would you like to hear about?
Note: In my artistic fervor, I sometimes end up mixing real facts with imaginary details, what I call “figmental facts.” When I write my Angel River blogs, I’ll make sure to note these, just to keep the record straight. In this post, the only figmental fact is that Route 2347, the Clary-Williams Highway, does not exist. It’s based loosely (very, very loosely) on Virginia Route 250.
All the characters and their histories are, of course, totally imaginary, although I hope they seem as real to you as they do to me. ❤️
Hugs and happy reading,