Category Archives: McDowell

McDowell

Valerie Joan Connors. In Her Keeping. Memphis, TN: Bell Bridge Books, 2013.

In Her KeepingBeing a mother is Sylvia Holt’s primary goal in life. She’s desperate to have children. Sylvia isn’t solely concentrated on her desire to be a mom.  No, Sylvia is an organized thinker who has a life plan mapped out neatly. Along the way to her maternal objective, Sylvia has crafted a full professional life in Atlanta. She is a trained CPA and owns a small yet successful practice specializing in personal tax returns and small business consulting, where she met her husband of eight years, Jonathan. A client first, Jonathan hired Sylvia before his family business started booming. Once Jonathan’s textile business expanded, he decided to partner with a larger firm with more corporate expertise. Jonathan and Sylvia initiated a personal relationship though and got married, which brought Sylvia closer to her dream of a beautiful home and family.

But Sylvia is two years behind schedule. By thirty-five she had intended to be raising her children and working primarily from home. At thirty-seven, she is childless and has struggled to carry her pregnancies to term. Sylvia has researched all options from In Vitro Fertilization to fertility drugs. Meanwhile, Jonathan spends the majority of his time in Hong Kong on business. After her fifth miscarriage, Sylvia’s hope of being a mother is fading. Worse, her faith in her marriage is tested after she discovers an instance of Jonathan’s infidelity. Not to say she isn’t angry, but Sylvia isn’t ready to admit defeat. Definitely not at thirty-seven when it seems too late to start over. She and Jonathan consider adoption. However, it becomes clear that Sylvia might be forced to embrace a fresh start, whether she likes it or not. And that might not be such a bad thing. She strays from her plan and winds up in her vacation home in the mountains of North Carolina without a spouse, without a child, and without a job.

Soon Sylvia discovers Tiger Hills, a sanctuary dedicated to large cats that borders her property. She meets the owner, Ethan Montgomery, and she learns more about the underworld of breeding tigers in captivity and selling tiger parts for illegal profit. Unwittingly, Ethan’s mission captivates Sylvia and she quickly plays an active and integral role with the sanctuary. There are several bumps and near disasters for the budding nonprofit, and plenty of intrigue that somehow manages to keep Jonathan in her life. However, Sylvia realizes that she still might be able to attain her former dreams. In fact, straying from her preordained path might just be the trick to bring her closer. In Her Keeping is Atlanta-based writer Valerie Joan Connors’ second work and it’s a slim novel, verging on novella. Readers will likely zip through the story and enjoy its unconventional plot line. According to a blog post on Connors’ website, she was inspired to write the story after a visit to Tiger World, in Rockwell, North Carolina.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Connors, Valerie Joan, McDowell, Mountains

Stacey Cochran. The Loneliest. Raleigh, NC: Stacey Cochran Books, 2011.

Jason Roberts is a small-time author who has just tragically lost his wife to cancer. Following a struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide, he sells their home in Arizona and hits the road. His travels take him all the way to Little Switzerland, deep in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Jason eventually finds a small cabin to rent, and attempts to settle in and write his next novel. But something isn’t right– his landlord, a taciturn man named Cyrus, gives him the creeps, and while hiking in the woods, Jason  discovers a concrete slab that just may be covering the entrance to Hell itself. Worst of all, his wife may be trapped there, and Jason is the only one who can rescue her. But is it all a delusion?

As the tormented author writes his novel, he discovers that his fiction seems to be accurately predicting reality. Is art imitating life, or is it the other way round? Hounded by a curious local news reporter and the voices in his own head, Jason might be losing his mind…or seeing clearly for the first time. Is Cyrus really who he says he is? Is his wife truly dead? Do ghosts exist?  Described by Cochran as “part psychological thriller, part paranormal romance,” The Loneliest is a mind-bending exploration into the nature of how we construct reality.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Cochran, Stacey, Horror, McDowell, Mitchell, Mountains, Suspense/Thriller

Julia Nunnally Duncan. When Day Is Done. Greensboro, NC: March Street Press, 2009.

Esther, a teacher at the local college, lives at home with her elderly parents in the town she grew up in.  Her drive to work takes her past the cemetery where her brother is buried.  That drive is both comforting and troubling to her, for Esther spends much of her time thinking about the past: the men in her life (brother, first love, ex-husband), the parental advice she ignored, and how her town has and hasn’t changed.  Esther’s life has stalled out, until one day when she notices an attractive man tending the cemetery lawn. Tentatively, Esther begins to make changes in her life, making room in her heart for someone new.

This is the second novel by Ms. Duncan set in fictional Milton, based on Marion in McDowell County (not to be confused with the real Milton, N.C., which is in Caswell County).

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Duncan, Julia Nunnally, McDowell, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Julia Nunnally Duncan. Drops of the Night. Boone, N.C.: Parkway Publishers, 2006.

Drops of the Night, a North Carolina novel set in 1988, is the story of Nora Lynch, a childless farmer’s wife who faces her husband’s jealous rages and intentions to sell the family farm – a plan that threatens the only lifestyle Nora has known. She also confronts a growing attachment to a stranger who enters her life through her husband’s gambling. Drops of the Night is set in fictional Milton, based on Marion in McDowell County (not to be confused with the real Milton, N.C., which is in Caswell County).

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Duncan, Julia Nunnally, McDowell, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places