The Town That Time Forgot by Elizabeth Donley-Leer
What’s it About?
Ravaged by the loss of countless young lives overseas in WWII, the people of Oakwood make a deal with the devil to protect their small town. Years later, aspiring journalist Jim Norton investigates a string of mysterious disappearances and accidental deaths in the peaceful town — a path that just might end with his demise.
The Town That Time Forgot (Woodhall Press) features fascinating characters, a search for truth and an intriguing deal with the devil that will have readers invested until the very last page. Author Elizabeth Donley-Leer sets the stakes high from the very beginning of this modern Faustian tale, in which the souls of an entire town hang in the balance.
Suspense, history and action are added layer upon layer with a precise hand, making this book very readable and hard to put down. The Town That Time Forgot will be enjoyed equally by readers of modern mystery and lovers of classic literature like Othello and Faust.
The story opens with the leaders of a small town facing a terrible decision. Their home of Oakwood has been ravaged by the sorrow of numerous young lives lost overseas during the height of World War II. As the tragedy of war weighs heavy, a conspicuous emissary of the devil approaches the town council with a terrible proposition that could put an end to their loss.
My employer has connections in high political positions who can make sure that the men from Oakwood are no longer shipped to the frontlines, but instead are sent to areas of service out of the reach of danger. He is willing to do so and place this lovely town of Oakwood under his protection, for a small price.
The price, however, proves to be much higher than advertised by the shadowy messenger.
Mysterious Disappearances in Peaceful Town
Finding themselves between a rock and a hard place, the council members take on a dark responsibility to pay the “annual fee” in order to save their young men and the future of their hometown.
Decades later, aspiring journalist Jim Norton investigates a string of mysterious disappearances and accidental deaths in the otherwise pristine, peaceful town of Oakwood. The idyllic community is thriving and seems to be immune to the outside influences of modernization.
Jim immerses himself in the neighborhood and meets local law enforcement, historians and a few influential members of the town council. When Jim’s uncovers a suspicious pattern to the nearly annual accidents and missing persons reports, he begins to think that Oakwood may not be as warm and welcoming as it appears.
Jim comes across an advertisement in several town papers for a contest hosted by the town tourism board. Ten lucky winners and their guests can win a fully paid trip to spend August 11 through 15 at the Oakwood Summer Festival. What initially seems to be a strange coincidence takes a decidedly sinister turn when he realizes that many of the deaths he has researched match up very closely with this specific time of year.
Beyond Classic Mystery and Suspense
In The Town That Time Forgot, Leer combines classic elements of mystery and suspense with an allegorical tale of good versus evil.
The characters in this book are well-rendered, with meaningful backstory, and memorable details in their descriptions. Leer manages to give the most nefarious figures a touch of humanity. Even the agent of the devil himself, Blake Blanchard, has a tortured past that alludes to a more complicated distinction of good versus evil. Likewise, the town council members who engage in the dubious contract with Blanchard and his master, do so in a misguided effort to preserve the young men of their town from certain death.
In this novel, the moral complexity and motivations of each character defy the simple definitions of right and wrong, allowing the reader to feel some level of compassion and engagement with both protagonist and villain alike.
The Town That Time Forgot invites readers to walk down the peaceful streets of Oakwood and experience a way of life that almost seems too good to be true. When long-hidden secrets are uncovered, you’ll learn just how far the town patriarchs are willing to go to preserve their beloved city. Familiar themes and figures of classic literature make it easy to be pulled into this novel; while plenty of twists and turns keep it interesting and fresh. You’ll find it easy to feel at home in this beautiful town but be warned; you may find it impossible to leave!
About Elizabeth Donley-Leer:
Elizabeth Donley-Leer is a Texas-born, California-raised grandmother. Writing has been a lifelong passion of Elizabeth’s. Elizabeth earned a degree in writing, editing and publishing for children and young adults from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Additionally, she has written and self-published two children’s books (The Fish Who Wanted to Fly and Passing Ships Are Not Always Quiet), been a reviewer for the 2012 Denver Film Festival, and is a published poet. Retired, she continues to pursue her passion for writing from her cozy country home in Munford, Alabama.
Publish Date: 9/5/2023
Genre: Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult
Author: Elizabeth Donley-Leer
Page Count: 200 pages
Publisher: Woodhall Press