Twelve-year-old Chili Sue Mahoney has never been outside of her small Appalachian town. Momma says Mercy Hill, Kentucky, is her “true home,” but Chili longs to see the world—to have the freedom to leave and to explore.
So when Miss Matlock is brought in as the 7th grade substitute teacher, Chili and her classmate Willie Bright are thrilled. Everyone knows Miss Matlock has traveled around the globe. Why she’s come back to her childhood home after all this time is a mystery, but Chili and Willie are eager to befriend her despite the rumors. As the three spend time together, Chili learns about the jungles and deserts and cities of the world. But she also discovers that there’s more to Mercy Hill than she thought: beauty, in the people and places she’s known all her life, and secrets, sometimes where they’re least expected.
Told in vignettes and set in 1970s Appalachia, To Come and Go Like Magic is a heartwarming and hopeful debut novel about family, friendship, and the meaning of home.
KATIE PICKARD FAWCETT grew up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and spent two years as a social worker in Appalachia. She has counseled and tutored students in the Washington, D.C. area, written ads for Peace Corps and VISTA, and worked for the World Bank writing about development projects in Third World countries. Her personal essays have been published in several magazines, and her favorite diversion is travel and the different cultural experiences it brings. She lives with her husband and son in McLean, Virginia. Visit her on the Web at KatiePickardFawcett.Wordpress.com.