Category Archives: Ehle, John

John Ehle. Kingstree Island. New York: William Morrow, 1959.

Matt Tomlinson came to Kingstree Island decades ago.  He had little, but he was good with money and he had an eye for opportunities.  He began as a shopkeeper, but he quickly expanded, buying fishing boats and the debts of local fishermen.  With his business sense and his drive, he came to own the fishing fleet, the ice house, the power plant, and a controlling interest in the island’s only hotel.  He is the big man on this remote island, and he is used to having the locals defer to his wishes.

But Tomlinson is uneasy.  He has lost his eyesight and he knows the years will continue to diminish him.  When Brandon Rhodes arrives on the island, Tomlinson senses the presence of someone like his younger self.  After his initial attempt to force Rhodes off the island fails and Rhodes attracts the interest of a few independent-minded islanders and the attractive Marsha Harris, Tomlinson vows to crush the interloper.  The struggle between the two men plays out in this isolated community among people who must bend to the weather but who come to realize that they don’t need to bend to the will of one man.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1950-1959, 1959, Coast, Dare, Ehle, John

John Ehle. Move Over, Mountain. New York: William Morrow, 1957.

mountainPa Cummings wanted his sons to go north.  The segregated South in the mid-twentieth century held limited opportunities for African American men.  All of his son did go north except Jordan, who married young.  Jordan has made a life for himself, with a wife and two sons, but you can’t say that he’s gotten ahead.  He’s worked at a number of jobs, but as the novel opens he’s lost his job delivering coal.  He’s also gambled away his wife’s savings.  Just as Jordan is hitting bottom, his brother Bryant returns from the North.  Bryant has money and opinions, and he seems to be interested in playing the big man to Jordan’s wife and sons.  Sibling rivalry helps Jordan harness his ambition, but he is not prepared for the lengths to which Bryant will go to defeat him.

John Ehle wrote this book when he lived in Chapel Hill, and the fictional Leafwood and Tin Top are widely thought to be modeled on Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Press 53 of Winston-Salem published a 50th anniversary edition of Move Over, Mountain in 2007. The cover art in this posting is from that edition.

 

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Filed under 1950-1959, 1957, Ehle, John, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Orange, Piedmont