Category Archives: Macon

Macon

Tami Rasmussen. Murmur. Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing, 2013.

murmurSonny Branch has never regretted moving from Nebraska to an isolated  mountain community in North Carolina. No electricity, no telephone service, no running water–no problem! Sonny is a self-sufficient forty-something who enjoys the beauty of the area and the laid-back attitudes of her not-so-close neighbors. Iris and Peter own a large plot of land that they run as a collective farm; Daniel (“Stash”) is a Vietnam veteran who lives in a camper; and Riley, Sonny’s best friend, is kin to half of the county. All have a live-and-let live attitude, and all are a little nervous when people from the outside start to buy up land.

Those outsiders are a mixed bunch. Samuel Fisher (“Fish”) is a semi-retired rock musician who sees the mountains as a good place to unwind. James and Sylvia Graham move from Atlanta to setup a breeding ranch for Tennessee walking horses.  Jude Turner and Hank Greene come to work at the ranch. No one knows exactly why Margaret Beck, a single retiree, has come to the area, and her murder unsettles the community.  Why was she here and who would want to kill her? Although Murmur contains a murder, the story of that murder is wrapped up in a larger, richer story about the diverse people who made homes for themselves in a remote Appalachian community in the 1970s.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Macon, Mountains, Mystery, Rasmussen, Tami

Cassandra King. Moonrise. Bronxville, NY: Maiden Lane Press, 2013.

MoonriseRosalyn Harmon Justice is the perfect wife. She is aristocratic in appearance and attitude. The women of Atlanta’s high society envy her for everything that she has: her refined beauty and cool grace, her family and her friends, and her incredible estate, Moonrise, located in Highlands, North Carolina. When the Victorian home was passed down to Rosalyn through her mother, she spent her summers at Moonrise obsessively – not to mention single-handedly – maintaining its historical authenticity and its splendid moon garden. She was an exemplary woman. Everyone in Rosalyn’s life loved her dearly.

So how can Helen Honeycutt ever try to replace her?

Helen Honeycutt is a divorcée and dietician who recently landed a segment as a TV cook at a news station in Fort Lauderdale. She comes from humble, blue collar origins. The last thing she expected was to become involved with newly widowed Emmet Justice. After his wife Rosalyn’s shocking car accident, Emmet left his anchor position at CNN in Atlanta and relocated to the small-time Fort Lauderdale news station, much to the chagrin of his closest friends. Justice’s esteemed reputation as a TV journalist precedes him. He intimidates most of the employees with his caustic wit and air of gruff authority.

Despite their differences, Helen and Emmet fall in love and marry after only four months of courtship. Their marriage occurs not even a year after Rosalyn’s passing, and Emmet’s core group of friends deem the union in poor taste. Yet the newlyweds seem happy. That is, until Helen discovers Rosalyn’s partially filled scrapbook. Once she pours over the photos and examines the former Mrs. Justice with a magnifying glass, Helen’s imagination goes wild. The disparity between Rosalyn and herself intrigues Helen, of course; Emmet describes Rosalyn as “delicate” and Helen as “earthy.” And she fantasizes about Rosalyn and Emmet’s sophisticated friends: Kit Rutherford, Tansy Dunwoody, Noel Clements, and Dr. Linc and Myna Varner.  But what really grabs Helen’s attention is Moonrise. She demands, uncharacteristically, that she and Emmet spend the summer at Moonrise. After Helen’s entreaties wear him down, Emmet concedes.

But Helen regrets her insistence almost immediately after she and Emmet arrive. When she comes face-to-face with a portrait of Rosalyn in all of her patrician, Nordic beauty, Helen feels gauche and self-conscious. As if the veneer of Rosalyn’s perfection wasn’t enough to rip off the lid on all of Helen’s insecurities, Rosalyn and Emmet’s group of close friends are poised to dislike Helen. They are baffled that Emmet replaced Rosalyn so abruptly after her accident, and with Helen of all women. Comparatively, the men are more charming to Helen. The women are ready to rip “the Bride,” as they call Helen, to shreds with catty comments and gossip. Piled on top of the stress of ostracization, Helen struggles to sleep. Moonrise frightens her.  At night she hears voices and sleeps fitfully. Helen finds that she must exhaust herself, staying up late working on a healthy eating cookbook, before she can fall asleep. With all of this pressure, Helen is nervous and anxious, which drives her to reckless decisions. The memory and mystery of Rosalyn’s death, plus a few nasty tricks played by Kit and Tansy, just might be Emmet and Helen’s undoing.

If novelist Cassandra King’s Moonrise bears a striking resemblance to Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, that’s because the book is directly inspired by the classic Gothic tale. King explains on the dust jacket that she brought a copy of Rebecca with her while vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She and her husband, novelist Pat Conroy, rented a summer home in the mountains and Moonrise was inspired by reading DuMaurier’s classic and roaming the gardens of their rented house. King uses a split first-person perspective so that the story is told through Helen, Willa (Moonrise’s housekeeper), and Tansy’s eyes, which succeeds in building upon the atmosphere of gossip and duplicity. At first the Southern Gothic feels supernatural with its shadowy hints of the spectral. By the book’s conclusion, however, the surprising revelation is quite grounded in its secular motivations of covetous and vile human desire.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, King, Cassandra, Macon, Mountains, Mystery

Elizabeth Towles. The Long Night Moon. Lady Lake, FL: Fireside Publications, 2009.

Darcie Edglon is a stereotypical teenage girl: she thinks mostly about boys, followed closely by shopping. But her whole world turns upside-down one terrible day in the spring of 1974 when her parents are killed in a car accident outside their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Her big brother, nineteen-year-old Ian, is suddenly in charge of the family. Strangely, he orders her to pack her things and drives a mystified Darcie out to the family house in the mountains, a spacious retreat known as Qualla’s Folly. When they arrive, Ian reveals that he knows Darcie’s shocking secret, one she tried to keep from both him and their parents. He intends to follow through with their parents’ plan to confine her in the mountain house, safe from gossip that might ruin the prominent Edglon name. Darcie is furious, but at least there is a distraction in the form of the quiet Native American handyman, Wa’si. Darcie is certain that all she has to do is ply him with her myriad charms and Wa’si will be her plaything. But the tall, dark and handsome Cherokee has a tragic past, and his stoic politeness presents a unique problem to a girl used to having her own way. But a reluctant lover is not the only difficulty Darcie faces. Left alone at Qualla’s Folly when her brother returns to school, the pampered teen must transform herself into a strong, self-reliant woman if she is to survive her shameful secret, the multiple dangers of the mountains, and maybe even find true happiness.

This suspenseful, surprising tale is the perfect addition to a blanket and beach umbrella on a relaxing summer weekend by the ocean!

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

 

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Macon, Mecklenburg, Mountains, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Towles, Elizabeth

Lois Gladys Leppard. The Mandie Collection, Volume Three. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2008.

This selection of novels in the Mandie series follows the heroine chronologically.  As Mandie and the Holiday Surprise opens, Mandie is back at school in Asheville, eager to return home for the Christmas holidays.  Mandie’s nemesis, April Snow, attempts to get Mandie in trouble by letting Mandie’s cat, Snowball, out of her room.  But Mandie and Snowball are both soon free to leave for home.  The mountains are beautiful at Christmas and there is a mystery (stolen presents and strange footprints in the snow), but there are bigger developments.  Mandie’s mother is pregnant.  Mandie does not take this news well, but soon she is distracted by an important invitation. President McKinley has heard of Mandie’s work on the hospital and has invited her to the forthcoming inauguration for his second term.

In the other novels in this volume, Mandie and the Washington Nightmare, Mandie and the Shipboard Mystery, and Mandie and the Foreign Spies, Mandie is in new places–Washington, DC, on an ocean-liner bound for Europe, and in London.  But first she has to return from school and accept that she will no longer be her mother’s only child (Mandie and the Midnight Journey).

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Leppard, Lois Gladys, Macon, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series

Lois Gladys Leppard. The Mandie Collection, Volume Two. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2008.

The five novels in this volume take Mandie over familiar territory–the mountains of North Carolina–but also include a trip to the beaches near Charleston, South Carolina. Mandie is trying to learn to become a lady as her teachers in Asheville demand, but back in Franklin, she wants to visit old friends, roam the neighborhood, and just be herself.  And there are always things to investigate! Vandalism at a hospital, an abandoned mine, buried treasure, and church bells at midnight all attract Mandie’s attention, and she mobilizes her friends to get to the bottom of each mystery.

The titles in this volume are: Mandie and the Medicine Man, Mandie and the Charleston Phantom, Mandie and the Abandoned Mine, Mandie and the Hidden Treasure, Mandie and the Mysterious Bells.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Leppard, Lois Gladys, Macon, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series

Paul Ader. The Leaf against the Sky. New York: Crown Publishers, 1947.

This is a classic coming-of-age novel.  The main character, John Perry, is the son of a Methodist minister.  Soon after his family moves to a new town, John strikes up a friendship with Milton Silverstein and Zona Cahill.  Zona is flirtatious and worldly; Milton is Jewish.  John’s father does not approve of his new friends.  Still, the friendships continue even after the trio goes off to college.  John intends to return to his small hometown one day to edit his local newspaper, but first he has to find his own way, struggling to break free of religious orthodoxy and develop his own opinions.  The college the friends attend is called Trumbull University, but is is easily recognizable as Duke. The mountain town which the friends leave and then return to is called Macon, but a contemporary reviewer thought it was actually Franklin, in Macon County.

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

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1947, Ader, Paul, Durham, Macon, Mountains, Piedmont

Lois Gladys Leppard. The Mandie Collection, Volume 1. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2007.

This volume contains the first five books in the Mandie series of children’s books set in the early 20th century. The main character, Amanda “Mandie” Shaw, lives in the Nantahala Mountains with her family, where she goes adventuring and solves mysteries. In the first few books, Mandie is helped by her best friend Joe Woodward.  She meets another helpful pal, Celia Hamilton, after she is sent to boarding school in Asheville. Mandie’s cat, Snowball, also makes frequent appearances in the books.  Recurring themes in the books are Mandie’s attempts to behave properly, her Christian faith, and her partial-Cherokee background.  Titles included in this volume include: Mandie and the Secret Tunnel, Mandie and the Cherokee Legend, Mandie and the Ghost Bandits, Mandie and the Forbidden Attic, and Mandie and the Trunk’s Secret.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Leppard, Lois Gladys, Macon, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Religious/Inspirational, Swain

Larry G. Morgan. Ivy: Lilies of the Field. Charlotte, NC: Catawba Publishing Co., 2006.

Ivy: Lilies of the Field is Larry Morgan’s third novel based on the lives of Ivy Rowland, his great-grandfather’s first wife, and her friends and family. While the previous two books–Ivy:Yankee Sweetheart, Rebel Nurse and Ivy: Camp Branch to Groveton–take place during the Civil War, this one is bookended by military conflicts: it starts in the final days of the Civil War and ends with the Spanish-American War. In the three decades between the wars, marriages are celebrated, houses are built, and children are raised. Some of the characters settle near the Nantahala Gorge in western North Carolina, while others make their lives in Georgia or Virginia.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Historical, Macon, Morgan, Larry G., Mountains, Novels in Series, Swain

Louis Pendleton. Corona of the Nantahalas. New York: The Merriam Co., 1895.

Mr. Pendleton must have read the Bard of Avon because this book has many of the elements of a Shakespeare play: mistaken identity, confused lovers, a kidnapping, a child rescued from danger and raised by guardians. As a toddler, Corona is saved from death by the mountaineer Gideon McLeod. She grows up, happy, with the McLeod family in Lonely Cove until a journalist who’s touring the mountains plays with her heart and spreads lies about the family. One consequence of the journalist’s visit is that the botanist Edward Darnell hears about the flora, fauna, and family in Lonely Cove. Darnell, who was also adopted, is taken with Corona. As the plot unfolds, they find that they have much in common.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1890-1899, 1895, Macon, Mountains, Novels to Read Online, Pendleton, Louis