Guests on Earth
It’s 1936 when orphaned 13-year old Evalina Toussaint is admitted to Highland Hospital, a mental institution in Asheville known for its innovative treatments for nervous disorders and addictions. Taken under the wing of the hospital’s most notable patient, talented dancer and writer Zelda Fitzgerald, Evalina witnesses cascading events that lead up to the tragic fire of 1948 that killed nine women in a locked ward, Zelda among them. Author Lee Smith of Hillsborough blends fact and fiction to create an intriguing novel about a world apart — a time when passion, art, creativity, medicine and transformation are intertwined. Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Softcover, 352 pages, $11.41; e-book $8.52.