Category Archives: Novels by County

6. Novels by County

Tommy Hays. What I Came to Tell You. New York: Egmont USA, 2013.

whatWhen tragedy strikes, it can bring a family closer together–or tear it apart.  Jean Johnston was a school counselor and a great mother to her children, Grover and Sudie.  She made her husband Walt laugh and kept him from becoming a complete workaholic.  After Jean dies rescuing the family dog from traffic, Walt retreats into his work.  He is the director of the Old Kentucky Home, the Thomas Wolfe historic site in Asheville, North Carolina.  The site has reopened after a fire, but attendance is down from what it once was, and the county commissioners, especially Delbert Lunsford, are reluctant to give the site much more support.  Asheville is booming and the Old Kentucky Home sits on some valuable land that could be developed for something more commercial.

There is also a lot prime for development right next to the Johnston family home in the Montford neighborhood.  The lot is overrun with bamboo and “the Bamboo Forest” has become Grover’s retreat.  Grover has found an outlet for his artistic talent and his grief by creating weavings from bamboo, leaves, and other bits of nature.  He carries these weavings to his mother’s grave, a place that he and Sudie go to several times a week.  Although Grover is grieving, he is not so lost in his grief that he doesn’t watch out for Sudie.  And while their dad is inattentive, other adults–at school and in the neighborhood–watch out for the children.  Those concerned adults–especially Jessie, a neighbor who does a lot of landscape work at the cemetery and Leila, a nurse who rents a house in the neighborhood–aid the Johnstons when Delbert Lunsford tries to destroy the bamboo forest, and they help each family member move beyond anger and grief.

Readers will enjoy this gentle book for its portrayal of how a warm community helps people to heal.  Readers who know Asheville will like the many mentions of local business and locations and with how their town is portrayed.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Hays, Tommy, Mountains

Michele Andrea Bowen. Pastor Needs a Boo. New York: St. Martin’s, 2014.

pastorneedsabooReverend Denzelle Flowers is faced with a tough dilemma when three of his parishioners in New Jerusalem Gospel United Church in Raleigh, North Carolina lose their jobs. What can he do to help his flock? The only thing Denzelle can think of is to use money from the Pastor’s Aid fund. But, that money can only be used to fund activities for the Pastor’s Aid Club. Reinstating this club may be difficult since the past head of the organization, Mrs. Clara Mae Davidson, did not leave church members with a fond memory of her or the Pastor’s Aid Club. Nonetheless, re-instituting the club will solve the employment problem for these three parishioners and also help Denzelle to get started on his newest endeavor. However, for that to happen, Veronica Washington, Keisha Jackson, and Marsha Metcalf must be willing to serve on the committee. Convincing the three ladies that running the Pastor’s Aid Club is a worthy cause isn’t easy, but Denzelle gets them on board. The turning factor is that they’ll actually be helping run Reverend Flowers’ campaign for bishop.

Pastor Denzelle may have solved the problem of jobs for his unemployed church members, but he has another problem on his hands. This problem comes in the form of the lovely Marsha Metcalf. How in the world is he supposed to fight the desire to turn in his playah’s card and “get “booed” up” with the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman? Denzelle hasn’t slept around since getting saved and rededicating his life to the Lord, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to put his heart into the hands of one woman for the rest of his life. He did that once and ended up with a woman who was a bigger player than he ever was.

Reverend Flowers has some experience running away from what God has planned for him. As a young man, Denzelle pledged Kappa Alpha Psi in college and enjoyed great times with his fraternity brothers filled with drinking, beautiful women and anything else a handsome young man could get into. When God called on him to become a preacher, Denzelle instead wanted to go after his dream of becoming an FBI agent. Denzelle did get his dream of becoming an FBI agent but also found out that you can’t run from God and ended up a preacher as well. He soon retired and focused on pastoring. But, Denzelle hadn’t fully mastered the ability to hear and follow the plan the God has for his life. Denzelle married a gorgeous woman named Tatiana, against the advice of those who cared for him. Tatiana outplayed the playah and actually cheated on Denzelle; it turns out that she was just a gold digger who doesn’t have the ability to love anyone but herself. Now in his forties, you would think Denzelle knows better than to think he can set God’s plans aside until he’s ready to follow them. Yet, this pastor is avoiding the virtuous woman that God has placed in his path as if  she’s a snake in the grass.

Nevertheless, Marsha isn’t Denzelle’s biggest difficulty. He will face a multitude of obstacles in his run for bishop. Denzelle has made enemies among the corrupt clergy who will do anything to have their candidate win the one bishop spot that is coming open. Their plotting consists of imposing a new rule that would make it impossible for a divorced preacher to become bishop. Also, Denzelle’s ex-wife is back in the game and sleeping with Denzelle’s enemies in the hopes of gaining power and prestige for herself, as well as hurting Denzelle along the way. With enemies surrounding him, Denzelle needs a “boo” to stand by his side. Will Denzelle be able to put aside his playah’s card and fear of a good woman in order to receive the blessing God has planned for him?

Pastor Needs a Boo is a funny and exciting tale of what can go on in the African American church scene. The author keeps it real, but also tasteful, in this story of a smooth Kappa man and ex-FBI agent turned preacher and the spurned but still faith-filled woman God has made for him.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Bowen, Michele Andrea, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Wake

Joseph L. S. Terrell. Undertow of Vengeance. Rock Hill, SC: Bella Rosa Books, 2014.

undertowHarrison Weaver isn’t even over jet lag from his recent trip to Paris with his girlfriend Elly when a friend alerts him to a body in Nags Head Woods.  His friend, Linda Shackleford, had been in the woods photographing its natural beauty; only later, when she was reviewing her photos, did she notice what appears to be a human arm.  Linda fears returning to the woods by herself, so she asks Harrison to accompany her.  Harrison knows he shouldn’t–the local district attorney resents his involvement in some previous high-profile investigations–but after he alerts Odell Wright, his friend in the sheriff’s department, he agrees to go.

Weaver, Shackleford, and Wright find not one body, but two–a man and a woman.  Each was shot just once, in a manner that suggests a cool, methodical killer.  When a third person is killed in a similar manner, and Harrison receives taunting phone calls from the killer, Harrison knows that this killer won’t stop on his own.  Because all the victims have a connection to a new church in town, Harrison and his friend SBI Agent Ballsford Twiddy focus in on the pastor and his deacons. But what would make one of these God-fearing people become a killer? Only when one victim escapes alive, does Harrison have the clue he needs.

This is the fourth title in the Harrison Weaver Mysteries series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coast, Dare, Mystery, Novels in Series, Terrell, Joseph L. S.

Lori Benton. The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2014.

thepursuitoftamsenlittlejohnAll that Tamsen Littlejohn has been brought up for, since her mother married Hezekiah Parrish, comes to this single moment in 1787 Morganton, North Carolina. Ambrose Kincaid, a twenty-nine year old heir to a Virginia fortune, has been enraptured by the portrait Parrish carries around of his stepdaughter. Kincaid has agreed to meet with the family in order to discover whether he and Tamsen will make a good match.

Sure that Kincaid will turn out to be a younger version of Parrish, Tamsen approaches the meeting reluctantly. However, she soon finds herself caught up in conversation with the young man and thinking that this might not be a bad match after all. Then Kincaid backhands his slave just for interrupting them. Tamsen believes this act has shown her Kincaid’s true nature and rushes from the table, right into the arms of Cade, a backwoods trapper and cattle drover.

Cade and his son, Jesse Bird, are caught off guard when the young lady runs into them, and Jesse can’t keep his eyes off her. Later that night, Jesse unknowingly halts Tamsen’s flight from her stepfather’s cruel rule. Realizing that Tamsen will not bend to her stepfather’s will, Tamsen’s mother decides to reveal a family secret, one she promised Parrish she would never reveal. Upset by Tamsen’s defiance and further angered by his wife’s disobedience, Parrish commits an unforgivable act. Knowing there is no way that she will be safe under her stepfather’s control, Tamsen decides that escape is her only option.

Unable to get Tamsen out of his head, Jesse Bird has discovered the cruelty that Tamsen and her mother have had to suffer living with Parrish. He offers to help Tamsen get away. They have no idea the amount of trouble that will follow.

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is a tale of discovery. Tamsen will discover the kind of woman she is without the strong influence of her stepfather and possibly discover love along the way. On the other hand, Jesse, sure of the man he is, will discover the truth about his birth family and the meaning of selfless love.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Benton, Lori, Burke, Historical, Mountains, Romance/Relationship

Auburn Seal. Roanoke Vanishing. United States: CreateSpace, 2013.

vanishing The fate of the English colonists on Roanoke Island has puzzled North Carolinians and scholars for centuries.  Did the colonist die of disease?  Did they starve during a harsh winter?  Were they killed?  Did they migrate inland and become absorbed into a Native American community?

With no conclusive evidence, theories have dominated discussions of the Lost Colony.  Avery Lane, the heroine of Roanoke Vanishing, has long been bothered by the theory that Native Americans killed the colonists.  To Avery, this unproven speculation has been used as a justification for unfair treatment of Native Americans in this state.  Avery, a grad student in history at UNC-Chapel Hill, wants to take a new approach to the topic by focusing on who the colonists were and what their lives were like before they made the long sea voyage from England to the New World.  Could it be that their lives in England hold the key to their eventual fate?

Avery’s thesis adviser, Jonas Allen, is a specialist on the English settlement of America, so Avery expects him to endorse her thesis proposal.  She is stunned when he angrily refuses to do so.  Professor Allen’s outburst is just the first of several unsettling, even dangerous, encounters that Avery has as she pursues her research.  Avery is followed, her house is broken into, and  her best friend is put in peril.  Avery comes to see that she must heed the words of the ghost Elinor (yes, that Elinor) and trust no one as she pursues the truth about the Lost Colony.

Roanoke Vanishing is the first novel in the author’s Vanishing Series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Dare, Historical, Mystery, Novels in Series, Orange, Piedmont, Seal, Auburn

Virginia Kantra. Carolina Girl. New York: Berkley Sensation, 2013.

carolinagirlMeg Fletcher is just getting back to the office in Manhattan after spending time with her family in their moment of need. The matriarch of the Fletcher family, Tess, was in a car accident with a drunk driver and the Fletchers rallied together in order to get things done. Meg doesn’t usually take time off from her job. But her mother was in the hospital and family has always been important to the Fletchers. In a Marine household, you learn how to stick together in order to deal with the constant moving. When you’re always the new kids in town, your siblings are your closest friends.

Meg might have enjoyed being with the family on Dare Island, her family’s home for generations, but she is glad to get back to Manhattan, her job, and her long-term boyfriend and roommate Derek. However, the return isn’t anything like Meg expected. Meg is fired on her first day back at her job of twelve years. Derek works for the same company but his job is secure. Convincing herself that it wouldn’t have been professional for Derek to stick up for her, Meg still expects him to come home early that night to comfort her. When Derek comes home even later than usual and starts talking about taking some time apart to think, Meg heads back to Dare Island.

When Meg is picked up by her high-school crush–and brother Matt’s best friend–Sam Grady, she feels familiar stirrings in her heart, but she won’t make that mistake again. They shared one night of passion as teens and then he made sure to avoid her. What a jerk! Yet, she soon finds herself confiding in him. Also, when her mother’s accident threatens to cause them to lose Taylor–the niece that no one knew about until Taylor’s mother died–Sam does everything he can to help. Maybe he isn’t the boy he used to be. But, that doesn’t mean anything can happen between them. Meg still has Derek to think about, and she’s definitely not giving up life in New York for an island she dreamed of escaping all her youth.

Carolina Girl is the second book in the Dare Island series. The first title in the series Carolina Home told the tale of her brother Matt, who stayed home on Dare Island. The third book in the series, Carolina Man, continues on with the siblings, telling the story of Luke, a Marine like their father. In Carolina Girl, we get the story of the family’s only girl, and readers grow ever closer to this North Carolina family and the values they live by.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Dare, Kantra, Virginia, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship

L. D. McIntyre. Outer Banks Recovery. United States: CreateSpace, 2014.

outer banksRae Romano loves the Outer Banks. When her partner Jan was alive, they spent many happy summers in a cottage near Corolla.  Jan was an artist whose paintings are popular items in the local art galleries.  Jan would paint and Rae would wander along the beaches, stopping to photograph the area’s natural beauty, especially the wild horses that roam the beaches and sand dunes.

But as much as she loves this place, Rea wasn’t sure she could ever return to it after Jan’s death.  As Outer Banks Recovery opens, Rea has taken the plunge and is on her way to their cottage when her car veers off the road after a close encounter with a truck.  Luckily for Rae, Sheriff Michaela Knight sees the accident and stops to help.

Rea and Michaela feels an immediate attraction, something that is unexpected and unsettling to Rae.  Jan was the great love of her life and she can feel Jan’s presence in the cottage and on the beach.  It seems like a betrayal of what they had to begin again with someone new.  But Michaela is persistent.  She and her dog Thor show up regularly, and they work their way into Rae’s heart.  But Rea fears being hurt again.  Having lost Jan, she couldn’t survive loosing another love.  And Michaela’s job is not just about traffic accidents, underage drinking, and careless swimmers.  There is real danger in policing, even in a remote location like the Outer Banks.  When Michaela puts her life in danger confronting thieves who have killed and stolen some of the island’s wild horses,  Rea fleas. Can Michaela woo her back?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coast, Currituck, McIntyre, L.D., Romance/Relationship

Jon Sealy. The Whiskey Baron. Spartanburg, SC: Hub City Press, 2014.

 “I got greedy and thought I could get away with something.”

Mary Jane Hopewell (born Wesley Hopewell, Jr.) has been a ne’er-do-well since he came back from the Great War.  Unlike his brother who married and became a church-goer and steady worker at the mill, Mary Jane didn’t work much, preferring to spend his time drinking and scheming.  Not long after Mary Jane moves in with a widow, Abigail Coleman, he thinks he has hit pay dirt.  The widow has some of the most productive land in the county, land that she uses to grow corn.  She sells a good bit of that corn to the local whiskey baron, Larthan Tull, but she also keep some to make her own moonshine.  The widow’s moonshine is very good.  Knowing that, Mary Jane starts selling it around the county.  Tull has been looking the other way, ignoring this small scale incursion on his turf, but when Mary Jane reaches out to Aunt Lou, Tull’s distributor in Charlotte, Tull has to act.  The murder of two young men outside Tull’s inn is just the opening move in a bloody chess game between two cold, focused men.

The fictitious Castle County, South Carolina is home territory for Tull and Hopewell, but business takes them both to Charlotte to make deals with Aunt Lou.  This novel reminds readers that state borders are historical lines on paper, but culture and business flow across them–for good and ill.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Sealy, Jon

Rose Seheni. Dancing on Rocks. Chimney Rock, NC: K.I.M. Publishing, 2014.

dancingDinah Haydock has spent her whole life in Chimney Rock, and she’s proud of the role that her family–the Flacks–played in founding the town and building the resort hotel that put the town on the map.  The town, dependent on the fickle tourist trade, has had its ups-and-downs, but Dinah has held onto the store on the main street that she and her husband inherited.  But it’s now six months after her husband’s death and Dinah has made a mess of things.  She’s been speculating on land and putting these expensive purchases on her credit cards.  She’s also been careless driving her motorcycle around the mountains.  When she’s injured on a ride, her oldest daughter, Georgie, comes back to take care of her.

Georgie is a nurse in Boone.  This extended stay in Chimney Rock will allow her to mull over a marriage proposal she’s received from a man she works with, but she’s not looking forward to being back home–too many memories, too many secrets, too much heartbreak.  Dinah’s heart was broken when her youngest child, Shelby, disappeared one night twenty-five years ago.  Georgie and her sister Ali grew up with their parents’ sorrow and with the feeling that their mother loved them less than their lost little sister.  Ali has gone on to a good life–she’s married with two children of her own–but her mother’s detachment and her irrational belief that her lost child will return have cast a shadow over her.  Ali’s husband is in service in Afghanistan, and she has enough to worry about without the awkwardness that comes when her mother enlists neighbors and the police to follow up on the latest Shelby sighting.

Georgie married, but her husband was a good-time Charlie who didn’t want children.  Now as she’s settled into her thirties, she finds herself divorced and childless, contemplating marriage to an older man who already has all the children he wants.  Seeing Ron Elliott, her first great love, again only increases Georgie pain.  Without knowing how it will turn out, Georgie realizes she must own up to what she knows about her sister’s disappearance.  Will her actions bring her family more pain or some healing?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Mountains, Rutherford, Senehi, Rose

Kim Wright. The Unexpected Waltz. New York: Gallery Books, 2014.

theunexpectedwaltzKelly Wilder Madison finds that she has walked into Canterbury Ballroom in Charlotte, North Carolina, when she meant to walk into the grocery store next door. At fifty-two, she has recently lost her older husband and has no idea what the next step in her life should be. Kelly never thought of making that next step dancing. But Kelly has never believed in accidents either. So when she is offered a free introductory lesson, she takes it and decides to come back for more.

After spending the past twenty years of her life, “pretending to be a whole lot nicer, stupider, and more conservative than she really is,” Kelly must step out of her comfort zone in order to succeed in an activity that requires her to stand out, take big steps, and risk it all. Soon, Kelly realizes that she enjoys the demands put upon her by dance and is feeling more herself than she has in years. At first, Kelly is reluctant to venture into the group class. When she does, she begins to make friends in this new world, which reminds her that there was more to her life before she settled down and became a homemaker.

On the road to rediscovering life, Kelly bonds with Carolina, a young mother in hospice. Carolina shows Kelly that it is never too late to begin anew. Also, Kelly forms an attachment to her dance instructor, Nik, who she longs to protect like he’s the son she never had. Free-spirited Elyse, who has been Kelly’s best friend since their days of youth, also inspires Kelly to breakout. These connections all help Kelly to regain confidence in herself. She gains the courage to confront the fact that she failed her marriage as much as it failed her. She also develops the strength to face the man who got away. Finally, she learns to embrace the little moments that can lead to life changing experiences.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Wright, Kim