Category Archives: Pender


JT Kalnay. The Topsail Accord. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace, 2011.

Shannon has come to Topsail Beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina to escape; surrounded with work and family, she feels stifled instead of loved and fulfilled. Yet, she is somehow also lonely. Convinced that no one will notice her at the “decrepit” age of forty, she is content to walk the beach in front of her rental cottage and reflect on her sad past. What Shannon doesn’t realize is that someone has noticed her. Joe jogs along Topsail Beach every morning, and has lately noticed the new renter out walking. He thinks she’s striking, but as a local, Joe is used to being treated as something subhuman by visitors. It’s not until fate intervenes and he literally crashes into her, spilling her coffee, that the two really meet.

Falling in love, or at first in lust, is inevitable, but Joe and Shannon are both damaged goods. Shannon is a divorced scientist, and thanks to rich natural gas deposits discovered on her property in Ohio, a billionaire. Joe is a widower after the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter and runs a coffee shop just off the beach. In the face of their feelings for one another and these obstacles, Shannon and Joe develop the Topsail Accord, agreeing to spend two months a year together on Topsail, one week in Costa Rica in July, and one week in October at a different lighthouse. But as much as they attempt to limit their time and feelings to something manageable, both must ultimately face love’s one constant: in order to love and be loved in return, you have to be willing to be vulnerable. Joe and Shannon’s relationship is initially satisfying for both, but after a few years each feels as though something is missing. When Shannon is struck with a terrifying disease, the lovers must admit what they truly mean to each other before it’s too late and tragedy strikes their lives again.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Kalnay, JT, Pender, Romance/Relationship

Blonnie Bunn Wyche. Cecilia’s Harvest: A Novel of the Revolution. Wilmington, NC: Whittler’s Bench Press, 2009.

Cecilia Moore is certain of two things: first, that she has to get away from her hardworking older sister Pauline and the hateful family tavern, and second, that Kenneth Black, atop his fine stallion, Big Boy, is the handsomest man in Wilmington, if not all North Carolina. The winter’s day in 1775 when he asks for her hand in marriage is the happiest of her sixteen-year-old life: he drapes her in a diamond necklace and promises to whisk her away to his prosperous farm full of servants. Cecilia cannot imagine that within a few months, just as the country plunges further into deadly warfare, she too will be fighting for mere survival. Murder, pregnancy, wild animals, and marauding British soldiers make life an unforgiving onslaught, and as quickly as Cecilia’s fortunes rise, the next day only brings more brutal tests. But Cecilia, in addition to being a crack shot with her rifle, is possessed of a nimble mind and a brave heart. Whatever dangers threaten, she finds she has the strength to rise and meet them again and again.

As Americans, we know the story of the Revolutionary War: taxation, then Declaration, followed by fighting and eventually freedom. But what of the smaller stories, the personal tales that won our nation its liberty? Blonnie Bunn Wyche follows her award-winning novel, The Anchor: P. Moore Proprietor, with the suspenseful story of a young woman struggling to survive the bitter years of revolution. Cecilia Moore Black is a stalwart, gutsy heroine who will make an excellent addition to any young adult’s reading list.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Brunswick, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Historical, New Hanover, Pender, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller, Wyche, Blonnie Bunn

Diane Chamberlain. Secrets She Left Behind. Don Mills, Ontario: MIRA, 2009.

This book picks up the story begun in Chamberlain’s earlier book, Before the Storm. As this new novel opens, Maggie Lockwood is about to be released from prison after serving time for her role in a church fire that killed three people.  Keith Weston wasn’t killed in that fire, but he was badly burned–scarred physically and emotionally.  That he had his own role in starting the fire is something he suppresses, instead focusing his anger on Maggie.  (In this he is not alone, most of the residents of Topsail are outraged that Maggie has been released from prison.) Keith is battling a lot of things–anger, pain, the storminess of adolescence–and he is completely unprepared for his mother to walk out of his life.  But she does.  Maggie’s family tries to help him, and soon all the characters are caught up in a revenge plot that none of them see coming

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, Pender

Carolyn Rawls Booth. A Chosen Few. Chapel Hill, NC: Chapel Hill Press, 2008.

A Chosen Few is the third in Carolyn Booth’s trilogy of books that recount the struggles of rural, coastal North Carolinians during the 1920s and 1930s. While the plot revolves around the Ryan and McBride families and their relationships, much of the characters’ attention and activities are directed toward the the Penderlea Homestead Farms and other New Deal politics/projects of the Great Depression. The brainchild of Wilmington businessman Hugh MacRae, the Penderlea Homesteads were meant to be part of a cooperative, self-sufficient “farm city” in Pender County that would provide resettlement and relief for bankrupt farmers. The author was born in Bladen County and her family lived on a Penderlea Homestead until 1939; A Chosen Few is loosely based on her family and its experiences.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Bladen, Booth, Carolyn Rawls, Coast, Coastal Plain, Historical, Novels in Series, Onslow, Pender

Diane Chamberlain. Before the Storm. Don Mills, Ontario: MIRA Books, 2008.

Topsail Islanders have room in their hearts for a flawed mother with a son who is a bit ‘different’ and a daughter who seems to have her act together. That changes after young Andy Lockwood becomes a hero for saving other children from a church fire. The fire, and the media attention it receives, unsettles the community. Perhaps things are not as they seemed. As the story unfolds, Laurel Lockwood has to defend her son from suspicion even as she mulls over the mistakes that she has made in her life and those that her children may have made.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, Pender

Phyllis A. Whitney. Amethyst Dreams. New York: Crown Publishers, 1997.

When Hallie Knight receives an invitation to visit Topsail Island, she accepts, viewing it as a welcome opportunity to take a break from her California life and her unfaithful husband. The visit is not a simple one, however. The invitation was extended by Captain Trench, the wealthy and ill grandfather of Hallie’s old friend Susan. Susan disappeared from her home two years ago and the Captain wants Hallie to find out what happened to her. As Hallie becomes more involved with the family and its secrets, she discovers that some relatives stand to inherit a fortune if Susan stays missing and decides that people know more than they are telling about the disappearance.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1997, Coast, Mystery, Onslow, Pender, Whitney, Phyllis A.