Acclaimed real-life Appalachian story series returns with second volume

In “Tales of Chinkapin Creek Volume II,” Jean Ayer reveals the hardship and humor in a farm community depiction of what rural America looked like in the early 20th century

(PR NewsChannel) / August 16, 2012 / NEW YORK  

Tales of Chinkapin Creek Volume II

"Tales of Chinkapin Creek Volume II" by Jean Ayer

Jean Ayer revisits her family’s deep West Virginia roots to pen moving tales of rural life in America around the turn of the last century in “Tales of Chinkapin Creek Volume II” (ISBN 1470135795). The first volume of this series received critical praise in Kirkus Reviews, leading one writer to exclaim, “West Virginia, we hardly knew your soulful depths.”

The collected tales revolve around the world of young Nellie Wister, the beloved daughter of James Wister, a prosperous farmer and his remarkable wife Carrie. A number of notable and eccentric people pass through Nellie’s life in rural West Virginia, where neighbors and employees mix with strangers, salesmen and gypsies. They include the Wisters’ washwoman Em Clayton who refuses to use a newly invented washing machine, defiantly proclaiming “I cain’t git men’s shirts clean without work.”

Through author Ayer’s meticulous and humorous character descriptions, the reader gets a feel for the country of 100 years ago. Nellie meets Mr. Bumphrey, the blind organ tuner who has extra-sensory perception, Amos Wister, her cousin who marries a Cherokee Indian, and Cora Flood, a widow tasked with making men out of stepsons who have been beaten senselessly by their now deceased father.

“Tales of Chinkapin Creek Volume II” also reveals the holiday traditions of its time and place. For Christmas, the tiny village prepares for holiday visits from “belsnicklers,” comically clad Appalachians who don elaborate masks and ridiculous garb to go door-to-door, carrying lanterns and bellowing songs at the top of their lungs. 

Taken together, these personages and customs will transform and maintain a rural village while forging Nellie’s identity and character. Like its predecessor, “Tales of Chinkapin Creek Volume II” is an authentic picture of an America not so long gone, based on the stories of people who were there for it all.

“Tales of Chinkapin Creek Volume II” is available for sale online at and other channels.

About the Author: Born and raised in West Virginia, Jean Ayer graduated from Barnard College. Under her married name Jean Karnoff, she was a fashion illustrator for Lord and Taylor, and her work appeared in many notable magazines including Esquire, The New Yorker and McCall’s. She has also translated many literary works from the French, German and Portuguese languages. Her work has been published in several literary magazines. 

Jean Ayer
E-mail:             Phone:             (212) 517-6043




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SOURCE:  Jean Ayer

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