The Downton Abbey of North Georgia

 “There’s nothing more fun than getting the inside story on who did what to whom. Thunder and White Lightning is the Downton Abbey of North Georgia.

S.I. Nichols, Louisiana


“To read a Grace Hawthorne novel is to be drawn into a microcosm of the South. She is a master in the art of storytelling.”

Nan Trainor, Massachusetts

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Nobody in Dawsonville had ever heard of Harold Brassington. In fact, not many people outside of Darlington, South Carolina knew his name. But that was about to change. In 1948 he witnessed the Indianapolis 500. It was the most wonderful thing he had ever seen. But it wasn’t the cars or the drivers or the noise or the crowds that caught his imagination, it was the bricks: millions and millions of red bricks that lined the surface of the track.

At that moment, Harold Brassington had what could only be described as a biblical epiphany. He heard angels singing and a voice which said, “You will build the first paved track in the South. You will build it one and one quarter miles long. It will be the longest track in the South. You will cover it with black asphalt. You will call it Darlington International Raceway. No, change that. You will call her the Lady in Black.” Harold Brassington accepted his divine mission. As he returned to South Carolina, he kept all these things and pondered them in his heart.

The first hint that this project was going to be a test of faith came in the form of a plague of minnows.

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