Author set to speak at library Sept. 17

Author set to speak at library Sept. 17

The author of “The Haunted Life of Lura,” a novel set in Raeford and based on historical events, will be at the Hoke County Public Library next month for a special appearance.

Donna Flake

Donna Flake, a longtime medical librarian, researcher and writer from Wilmington, will be at the library starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, September 17 to discuss her book and sign copies.

The novel in the Southern Gothic style tells of “Lura Kennedy Davis,” a fake name for a real person who lived in Raeford, and whose life ended up fascinating Flake so much that it inspired her first book.

Flake visited Hoke County in the 1990s to attend an estate auction, where she stumbled across documents that spoke of events in Raeford that seemed extraordinary. After doing more research, and adding a fantastical flair to historical events, she was ready to publish her first book.

“For 70 years the townspeople of Raeford have been denied entry into the once stately but now deteriorating home of Lura Kennedy. All is changing. The local newspaper runs the headline, ‘Mystery House Opens Its Doors.’ Now, the homeplace will be sold at public auction,” a press release describing Flake’s book read. “Eager and curious visitors flock to the house to seek out treasures. The town gossip is overheard saying, ‘Is this where that man was cut up?'”

The heroine of “The Haunted Life of Lura,” like her real-life counterpart, faced many struggles from an early age including events that made history in early Raeford.

“She was born in Quewhiffle in 1903, and when all the people had to relocate to get out of there when the reservation came about, she and her family came to Raeford,” Flake said. “There was a lot of scandal in her family. A lot of this is based on newspaper accounts from way back then.”

Most of the action takes place in Raeford but also visits other locations. The book follows the life of “Lura” including her education, her relationships and struggles.

Book reviewer Ben Steelman said of “The Haunted Life of Lura,” “Lura’s extended family and its dysfunction could keep NBC’s ‘Dateline’ running for two solid seasons.”

The book is available for sale through book retailers including Amazon, available both in hard copy and digitally.

For more information, visit the author’s website at, or call the Hoke County Public Library at (910) 875-2502.

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