Category Archives: Madison

Madison

Emilie Richards. Somewhere between Luck and Trust. Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2013.

somewherebetweenluckandtrustCristy Haviland has just finished serving eight months in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. While in prison, she gave birth to the son of the man who put her there. Now that Cristy is out she plans to avoid her hometown and her ex, Jackson Ford. An instructor of one of the classes Cristy attended while in the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, Samantha Ferguson, has offered Cristy a place to stay in Madison County so she can be close to her son, who is staying nearby with one of Cristy’s cousins. Samantha is a part of a group of women, Goddesses Anonymous, which reaches out to help women who need it. Cristy has a place to stay, but she also has some tough work ahead of her. First she needs to find a job.

However, there might be a problem. Cristy is smart, but she has a learning disability which has kept her from learning to read. When Samantha’s mother, Georgia, offers to help Cristy learn how to read, Cristy just doesn’t know if she has what it takes. Also, Jackson is back in the picture. He’s showing up at the house and around the neighborhood, making sure Cristy knows he has her eye on her and their son. It’s more than just the pregnancy that had Jackson rattled, and Christy may know more of Jackson’s secrets than she realizes. Just as puzzling is the fact that Officer Jim Sullivan, the man who arrested Cristy, is showing up and now seems to believe Cristy is innocent.

Georgia Ferguson is the principal at Buncombe County Alternative School, where they take on the job of educating students that have not succeeded elsewhere. Georgia is impressed when Lucas Ramsey, a neighbor of one of her students, comes in to get involved with activities that may help this student to take his education seriously. When Lucas asks Georgia out she gladly accepts, and the two are soon on their way into developing a serious relationship. Georgia is also developing a friendship with Cristy as she diagnoses Cristy with dyslexia and works to teach her how to read. These two relationships are becoming important to Georgia. However, there is a part of Georgia’s past, which she doesn’t like to share, and it is about to rear its head. A mysterious charm bracelet has been discovered in Georgia’s office, and the charms are leading Georgia towards searching out her birth mother, who abandoned Georgia at birth.

Cristy and Georgia are both facing tough decisions. Will Cristy reveal what she knows about Jackson to the authorities, or keep her mouth shut in the hopes that he will let her alone? Is Georgia going to search out her birth mother, a woman who left an infant to die? These two women also have new men in their lives. Is Officer Jim ever going to admit that Cristy is innocent, and is that attraction to her that Cristy sees in his eyes? Will Lucas stick around when he discovers that Georgia’s own mother discarded her?

Somewhere between Luck and Trust is the second book in the Goddesses Anonymous series – this installment is a tale of justice, duty, and love.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Buncombe, Madison, Mountains, Novels in Series, Richards, Emilie, Romance/Relationship

Emilie Richards. One Mountain Away. Don Mills, Ont: Harlequin, 2012.

onemountainawayCharlotte Hale has lead an outwardly enormously successful life, building her own real-estate company in Asheville, North Carolina from scratch. Her rise from the poor daughter of a drunkard in the tiny mountain town of Trust to a wealthy mogul is the stuff of which American legends are made. Unfortunately, while the financial and business portions of her life have been rich, her personal life has suffered greatly. Her twenty-seven year old daughter, Taylor, cut her mother out of her life when she became pregnant at seventeen, and Charlotte has never met her granddaughter. Similarly, Charlotte has not spoken to her ex-husband, Ethan, since he left their marriage to support their daughter during that time.

Charlotte has never regretted her actions, moving ahead with confidence. Until the day that she is diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia, and realizes that life is too short and precious to waste on anger. She begins to focus on the important parts of life, and to attempt to rebuild many of the relationships she damaged, including those with her ex-husband and daughter. Along the way, she reaches out to a young, pregnant woman named Harmony, who is a complete stranger to her, but who desperately needs help. Since she refused to help Taylor so many years ago, opening her home to Harmony is a way of partially absolving her sins. But it doesn’t help everything–Charlotte still knows that the greatest reconciliation, and the hardest, is with the blood kin whom she betrayed. Will Taylor ever be able to forgive her mother?

Part of the Goddesses Anonymous series from Harlequin, this thoughtful novel encourages the reader to reconsider what’s most important in life before it’s too late.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Madison, Mountains, Novels in Series, Religious/Inspirational, Richards, Emilie

Sharon Wildwind. Loved Honor More. Detroit, MI: Five Star, 2012.

This book opens in early May, 1975, a time when television sets across America were full of frightening and heartbreaking scenes from Vietnam as North Vietnamese forces took Saigon and American forces and their allies evacuated the country by any means possible.  The images trouble Vietnam veteran Elizabeth Pepperhawk, leaving her particularly vulnerable when she is visited by a stranger who tells her that her love, Colonel Darby Baxter, has died at the U.S. embassy in Saigon.  Along with that devastating news, the woman brings Elizabeth a baby–Darby’s baby?– and a demand for $3,000 to compensate her for her expenses and the risks she took getting the child out of Vietnam.  Elizabeth turns to her housemates Avivah Rosen and Saul Eisenberg to raise the money to give the woman.  Within a day of receiving Elizabeth’s payment, the woman who brought the baby to Elizabeth is dead.  This disturbing development puts Avivah, now an Asheville police lieutenant, in an awkward situation.  Can she investigate this murder when she had prior dealings with the victim and when she herself might be an accessory in the illegal transport of a baby?

Elizabeth plans to find a Vietnamese couple to adopt the child and soon learns that there is a small community of Vietnamese refugees nearby.  But Elizabeth can tell that things don’t add up–at the hatchery where the refugees live and work, at the clinic where Elizabeth works and the woman died, and with the Army whose story about Colonel Baxter’s death doesn’t match the evidence that Elizabeth received from the dead woman.  Elizabeth and Avivah try to sort this out even as anti-refugee sentiment flares in the community, their friend Benny’s boss goes missing, and Elizabeth’s boss–who is married to Avivah’s boss–appears to be hiding something that may or may not be related the woman’s death.

While all this is going on, major life events occur for some of the recurring characters in this series–Benny and Lorraine have a child and Avivah and Saul set a date for their wedding.  Author Wildwind is tying up loose end in this novel, the last book in the Elizabeth Pepperhawk/Avivah Rosen Mystery Series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Madison, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Wildwind, Sharon

Brian Lee Knopp. Naked Came the Leaf Peeper. Asheville, NC: Burning Bush Press of Asheville, 2011.

What happens when you mix twelve of western North Carolina’s most adept storytellers with one impossible plot? The answer is Naked Came the Leaf Peeper, a merry and mysterious game of literary tag among the likes of Vicki Lane, John P. McAfee, Tony Earley, and Alan Gratz. Brian Lee Knopp, the mastermind behind this zany novel, begins the plot: high on an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a man falls to his death…helped by a young assassin armed with a potato gun. Improbable? Absurd? The fun is only just beginning.

Garnell Lee Ray, assassin-for-hire, is out to avenge her mother and father, murdered for their land by greedy developers and their compatriots. She has knocked off three of the four with her simple, yet effective style: the use of gravity. A man overbalances on an overlook, helped along by a stray potato. Another is crushed by a conveniently placed tree. Gunning down the first was a mistake, but not one that the savvy Garnell will make again. Now the only one left is rapacious State Senator Andy Micheaux…and Garnell is coming for him. Unfortunately, someone gets to Garnell first, and she is highly annoyed to find herself passing out from a gunshot wound at her campsite in Linville Falls. She survives, but getting shot raises questions, even in the Appalachians. Relocated Yankee detective J.D. Kontz has a lot of questions for the attractive Miss Ray, but she escapes from the hospital before providing any real answers. Still, Detective Kontz begins to piece together Garnell’s tale, despite the clumsy ministrations of his dim-witted deputy, Marshall Harris. In fact, if he didn’t know better, Kontz would suspect the Fife-like deputy to be purposely misleading him.

Buckle up as this story weaves through the switchbacks at breakneck speed in a plot including (but not limited to): llamas, Baptists, golf, the Blue Ridge Parkway, moonshine, first love, runaway wives, pigs, tourists, heathen Yankees, beagles, ladies selling Mary Kay, gun-toting grannies, the SBI, ravens, backstabbing relations, secret agents of all different kinds, camping, and folk tunes. So grab some biscuits and red-eye, y’all, and gather round for the tallest tale ever told!

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

This is our 1000th post. We’ll be celebrating and hope that you will too.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Avery, Barrett, Linda Marie, Buncombe, Caldwell, Wayne, Chappell, Fred, Cheek, Gene, Clapsaddle, Annette Saunooke, Earley, Tony, Gratz, Alan, Hays, Tommy, Knopp, Brian Lee, Lane, Vicki, Madison, McAfee, John P., Mitchell, Mountains, Mystery, Reinhardt, Susan, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller

Terry Roberts. A Short Time to Stay Here. Banner Elk, NC: Ingalls Publishing Group, 2012.

Western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee in 1917 wasn’t the “rural, undeveloped South” of northern newspaper articles; it was a land far beyond. It was a place of the steepest mountains, the wildest river gorges, the meanest lives, and the shortest winter rations in the country. It was deep, hard, lonesome, and –if you weren’t starving to death–beautiful.  

Stephen Robbins has been running the glamorous Mountain Park Hotel in Hot Springs, North Carolina for seven years. An insomniac, alcoholic widower, Stephen is devoted to his hotel and the people who work with him, confessing that he feels physically one with the elegant architecture. But Stephen’s life is about to change radically. World War I finds its way to the Mountain Park Hotel in the form of 2,000 German nationals, trapped in the United States after the declaration of war. Forced to turn the hotel into an internment camp, Stephen thinks he has more than he can handle. Not only is he expected to babysit 2,000 Germans, but he also has to keep the increasingly bloodthirsty townsfolk of Hot Springs from violence, especially his violent cousin Roy, who just happens to be the Sheriff. Sheriff Roy Robbins has no reason to love Stephen– thanks to a terrible mistake, Stephen shot and killed Roy’s brother a few years back. Roy is biding his time for revenge, and Stephen knows it.

Then Anna Ulmann, New York photographer, steps into the impending catastrophe. Fleeing a domineering husband in the North, she has also come south with a very real desire to photograph the internees in their prison. Stephen is by turns annoyed and attracted to the beautiful Anna, but he can’t help falling in love with her. Together, the two stand against escapees, typhoid, bodies arriving from the European front, and society’s own mandates against a married woman falling in love with a man who is not her husband. With blood feuds and angry husbands lying in wait, will Anna and Stephen survive the coming storm?

Written in descriptive, intelligent prose, this debut novel is a moving tale of finding love and empathy in a time of conflict, and what it means to be a prisoner in spirit, even if the body is free.

A Short Time to Stay Here was the winner of the 2013 Sir Walter Raleigh Award.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Historical, Madison, Mountains, Roberts, Terry, Romance/Relationship

Ron Rash. The Cove. New York: Ecco, 2012.

It’s 1918, and the United States is knee-deep in the First World War. Everyone feels the effects, even in a place as far away from Europe as Mars Hill, North Carolina. Food and good hired help are scarce, and local boys are dieing in the killing fields across the sea. Those who don’t come home in a box return maimed or shocked, like Hank Shelton. Missing his right hand, Hank learns to perform the same tasks as a man with two hands and does a good job running the farm where he and his sister Laurel live in the Cove. He even plans on marrying pretty Carolyn Weatherbee. But the Cove is cursed, and while Hank Shelton might be a war hero and an all-American boy, the good people of Mars Hill are inclined to believe that Laurel, with her large purple birthmark, is a witch.

Laurel is used to this kind of talk. Tormented as a child and blamed for all manner of ill things, she has learned to keep her peace when she can and fight back when she can’t. But it’s a lonely existence, and she looks forward to Hank’s marriage and having Carolyn as a sister. Then one day, she finds a stranger in the Cove: a young, mute vagabond stung by yellow jackets to the point of death. Despite Hank’s suspicions, Laurel nurses the man, whose name is Walter, back to health and he soon becomes an indispensable helper on the farm. Even better, Walter plays the small silver flute he carries with him with surpassing skill and beauty. Laurel is surprised to discover, one day, that she is in love with Walter– and he returns her feelings. The outcast witch of the Cove is happier than she ever dared hope.

But Walter carries a dark secret, and as hatred and anger at the war build in Mars Hill, the young couple’s romance–and possibly their lives–might end in tragedy. A beautifully written tale of love and loss, Rash examines the superstition and intolerance of a very different time, leaving the reader with a poignant message that is nevertheless relevant today.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Historical, Madison, Mountains, Rash, Ron, Romance/Relationship

Wiley Cash. A Land More Kind Than Home. New York: William Morrow, 2012.

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. – Mark 16:17-18, KJV

Adelaide Lyle remembers her hometown of Marshall, North Carolina, as a harsh but beautiful place nestled deep in the mountains of Madison County. Like most folks there, Addie is a Christian, God-fearing individual. But when the charismatic pastor Carson Chambliss moves into town and opens the River Road Church of Christ in Signs Following, he changes the face of her beloved town, and she feels an ugly, cold fear root in her soul. Chambliss covers all the windows of the little church in newspaper, and it is an unspoken agreement that no one talks about what happens during his fiery sermons. But when a woman dies from snakebite, Addie finally draws a line: children should not be involved in such things. She leaves the church, holding Sunday School for the children at her home. But like the rattlers he transports so carefully in little wooden boxes, Carson Chambliss is willing to wait patiently for his enemy to make a fatal misstep.

At nine years old, Jess Hall knows that he has to take care of his big brother, the boy everyone in Marshall knows as Stump. Stump is mute, and not as quick as the other children, so Jess has to protect him. But Stump doesn’t always listen to Jess, and one day both see something they shouldn’t– something dangerous that brings Stump under the cold and calculating eye of Pastor Chambliss. When Stump is invited to a very special service just for him, Jess doesn’t want him to go, but their mother is one of Pastor Chambliss’s most ardent followers and insists he’ll be fine. What happens next changes the little town of Marshall, and Jess’s world, forever.

Told through the eyes of three very different narrators, Wiley Cash’s excellent debut novel provides a glimpse into a town caught under the thumb of a man convinced he is God. Steeped in the history and flavor of the North Carolina mountains, fans of Charles Frazier will find this tale a fulfilling read.

 A Land More Kind Than Home won the inaugural Crook’s Corner Book Prize for best debut novel set in the American South.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Cash, Wiley, Historical, Madison, Mountains

Joan Medlicott. At Home in Covington. New York: Atria Books, 2004.

A year after the fire that destroyed their 19th-century farmhouse, the Ladies of Covington have rebuilt and moved on. But wood, plumbing, and tiles aren’t the only things that have changed in their lives: Hannah, Amelia, and Grace each face difficult decisions and shifts in their relationships with those they care about most.

Hannah’s daughter Laura is heavily pregnant and worried about how this first child will change her career-focused life. Hannah herself receives a piece of mail that causes her to relive her unhappy past; because of it she grows increasingly anxious about her agreement to marry Max. Grace’s son Roger loses his longtime partner Charles to HIV-AIDS and decides to move closer to his mother–a decision that Grace isn’t completely happy with. Amelia isn’t either, since Roger rejected the love of her close friend Mike, who has yet to recover. Grace becomes jealous of her boyfriend Bob’s friendship with the ribald Ellie, and Amelia begins to wonder if she can live with this new, brooding Hannah. All three of the Ladies worry about teenage Lucy, who gets in trouble at school and may be talking with an unsavory person in an online chatroom.

With so many stressful changes happening, the Ladies decide they need a vacation and promptly book a Caribbean cruise. Everyone tries to relax, but it’s difficult living in such close quarters. Amelia and Hannah begin to fight, and Grace feels caught in the middle. Even though the the fire is long over, could the Ladies go up in smoke? As usual, Covington works its magic, and all turns out well with good food and good friends.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Madison, Medlicott, Joan, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

John Hart. Iron House. New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books, 2011.

Michael knows how to kill, possibly better than anyone else alive. He dispatches his victims without emotion or drama, a virtue that makes him nearly invisible in New York City. He is the Old Man’s silent, deadly shadow. But before New York and the Old Man, there was Iron House.

A lifetime ago, he was a small but strong boy who protected his weaker, younger brother Julian at the Iron House Home for Boys in the Smoky Mountains. But one day something horrible happened, and 10-year-old Michael became a fugitive, fleeing into the snowy wilds of a North Carolina winter. He never saw his brother again, and just as he ran from Iron House, Michael also runs from his past. He is content to kill the dishonest and criminal, to be the Old Man’s strong right arm, to leave the boy he once was at Iron Mountain…until he meets Elena.

Carmen Elena Del Portal is more than just a woman; Michael suddenly finds that she is his whole life. When she finds herself pregnant, he knows he has to start over one more time. But the New York underworld won’t give him up so easily. The Old Man may wish for Michael to find a good life with a wonderful woman, but his henchmen are a different story. In no time Michael is on the run again, back to North Carolina and the brother whose existence he tried to protect by denying it. But if he thinks that life is simpler outside the Big Apple, he’s wrong. Dead wrong.

John Hart writes lovely prose, filled with a complicated cast of mobsters, lost boys, corrupt politicians, beautiful but mysterious ladies, and witches. Iron House looms over it all, a stark presence of which Michael, for all his running, may never be free. For an immensely entertaining, complex thriller, try Iron House!

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Chatham, Hart, John, Madison, Mountains, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Vicki Lane. The Day of Small Things. New York: Dell Books, 2010.

In the remote mountains of Dark Holler, North Carolina in 1922, a girl is born to a bitter mother who vows to keep her last child all to herself. Least, as the girl is called, grows up with very little affection from her mother and few interactions with others. Neighbors are told that she is a simple child, and she learns neither to read nor to write.

When Granny Beck, her maternal grandmother, comes to live with Least and her mother, light is cast upon Dark Holler. Granny Beck secretly teaches her skills to the girl and captivates her with old mountain stories and Cherokee legends. Granny Beck tells Least that she has magical “Gifts and Powers” to save herself and to protect others. As Least matures, she feels a kinship to the Little People (Yunwi Tsunsdi). However, some people are suspicious of her Gifts and Powers; they see them as contrary to Christianity. Luther Gentry, Least’s sweetheart, is one of those doubters. When the two marry, Least promises to part with her old life, which includes her magic as well as her cheerless name. She becomes Birdie Gentry and, for once, lives in a home of unconditional love.

When she is an elderly woman of eighty-five, she is faced with a difficult choice. A relative is in trouble, and her Gifts and Powers are needed – fast. Miss Birdie must weigh the promise she made to her husband and to herself so many years ago against the safety of a young boy.

Interspersed throughout the novel are images of artifacts from Birdie’s life, including hymns and advertisements.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Lane, Vicki, Madison, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Yancey