Category Archives: Novels Set in Fictional Places

5. Novels Set in Fictional Places

Elizabeth Craig. Shear Trouble. New York: Penguin Group, 2014.

sheartroubleIn order to ensure that quilts are finished in time for the upcoming quilting show, the Village Quilters of Dappled Hills decide to have a quilting party. However, the party is unexpectedly interrupted by Beatrice Coleman’s discovery of Jason Gore with Phyllis Stitt’s shears sticking out of his body. The same shears that Phyllis was just complaining about having lost and that Beatrice set out to find. Phyllis shouldn’t have even been at the quilting party!

Phyllis is actually the member of a rival quilting team, the Cut-Ups, and she wanted to come to the quilting party in the hopes that she could join the Village Quilters since her fellow Cut-Up member, Martha Helmsley, is now dating Phyllis’ ex-fiancé Jason Gore. But, Phyllis was not to escape the couple as Martha decided to join the quilting party as well and have her fiancé stop by. Everyone seems shocked to learn of Jason’s murder occurring, but none are surprised that someone would want to murder him.

Jason has just returned to Dappled Hills after having been gone for quite some time. The first time he came to Dappled Hills, he ended up running out on Phyllis after scamming people out of their money. Because of this, there are quite a few suspects for Jason’s murder. Beatrice’s best friend Meadow is soon encouraging Beatrice to use her sleuthing skills to uncover the truth, but what Beatrice finds might just end up costing her life.

One finding is that there is an eyewitness, but he refuses to go to the cops. Maybe he doesn’t even know anything. Nevertheless, when this claimed eyewitness ends up murdered as well, Beatrice must admit that he might have been on the right track. As Beatrice continues on the hunt for the culprit, it becomes clear that this killer will halt at nothing to get away with these murders, even if that means committing another.

Shear Trouble is the fourth novel in novelist Elizabeth Craig’s A Southern Quilting Mystery series. If you are interested in starting at the beginning of the series, take a look at our blog post on the first novel in the series, Quilt or Innocence. Check out this, Shear Trouble,  title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Felicia Mason. Hidden Riches. New York: Kensington, 2014.

hiddenrichesAna Mae Futrell spent her life taking care of others. Now it’s her siblings and loved ones turn to return the favor by carrying out Ana Mae’s last wishes outlined in her will. This involves a reluctant return, and longer stay than expected, in Drapersville, North Carolina – a fictional town near Ahoskie, North Carolina.

There is a lot that Ana Mae’s siblings don’t know about her, such as she’d won big on a lottery ticket and she had a son, but they’re going to learn about Ana Mae now. Ana Mae’s estate consists of 3.8 million dollars and she has left clues that must be solved in order to claim the money. The clues are sewed onto a quilt and the first to uncover all the clues and discover the meaning of the quilt will inherit the millions. If the siblings cannot determine the meaning of the quilt or are unwilling to play by Ana Mae’s rules, then the money goes to Diamond Jim and Bay Sue – Ana Mae’s Cats – and “Too Sweet,” better known as Reverend Toussaint, with whom Ana Mae shared a special past. Ana Mae was a virtuous woman – one who believed in God and family. This quest will bring her family closer than they have been in years.

Let’s meet the siblings.

The oldest of the siblings is Marguerite, better known in her hometown as “Delcine”. Delcine and her husband, Winslow, both work for the government, and are pretty well off, or so it would seem. In reality, Delcine and Winslow are no longer taking exotic trips and can barely afford to rent a hotel for their stay in North Carolina. Actually, they can’t even afford to do that as they are bankrupt, and Winslow is facing an indictment. Delcine is determined to get this money for her family.

Next up is Josephine, who goes by JoJo. JoJo is trying to escape the fast life of Las Vegas along with her good-for-nothing husband Lester. JoJo made it big for a while as a showgirl, but now that she’s older and gained a few pounds, she’s just ready to settle down. That can’t happen with Lester around, and now that he’s caught the scent of millions she might never be rid of him. Moving back home to North Carolina is looking like a great idea. JoJo misses the simplicity and knows Lester won’t be able to stand being in such a slow paced environment. JoJo wants the money so that she can begin a new life and doesn’t mind sharing it with her siblings. Along the journey, JoJo just might learn some things about Ana Mae that help her to see herself in a new light.

Lastly is Clayton, the baby boy of the family and the most successful of them all. Clayton is a doctor married to a lawyer. The only catch is he’s married to a male lawyer, Archer. Anyone from a small Southern town knows that most of the people aren’t accepting of those who are different. A gay black boy was the epitome of different when Clay was growing up, and he couldn’t wait to escape North Carolina. Clay and Archer don’t need the money, but they soon discover that this quest is about more than money. It’s about getting to know the woman that was Ana Mae–and Clay may have more to learn than his siblings.

Hidden Riches is a tale of family, the changes that can occur, and the differences that can get in the way. This is a novel that many families can relate to.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coastal Plain, Hertford, Mason, Felicia, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Colleen Coble. Seagrass Pier. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2014.

seagrasspierElin Summerall is taking it easy after a life-saving heart transplant. However, her new heart seems to have other ideas. Elin is having violent dreams – dreams that are flashbacks to her donor’s murder. Elin can’t stand idly by and keep quiet about what she knows, which leads to unwanted attention from the press and unbelief from the authorities. Not to mention that the killer is now stalking Elin. Having lost her husband, Elin is living on her own with her young daughter and aging mother. After a break-in at her house, Elin decides it’s time to get away and takes off to Hope Island, on the North Carolina coast.

The police are doubtful of Elin’s claims that she is having flashbacks to the murder of her donor, but one off-duty FBI agent, Marc Everton, is willing to try anything that may lead to solving this case. Marc’s best friend was murdered while investigating the case. When Marc finds out that Elin received the victim’s heart, he searches her out to get some answers. Captivatingly, Marc and Elin have a history – a history that catches up to Marc when he sees Elin’s five-year old daughter for the first time and realizes that she is his daughter as well. Elin kept his daughter from him for five years, but he doesn’t plan on missing out on any more of her life. Marc doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to forgive Elin. However, Marc must put his feelings aside and solve this case so that he can keep Elin and their daughter safe. To do this, he’ll have to follow Elin to Hope Island.

Marc lives with Elin and her family on Hope Island while they work together to discover what Elin knows that could lead to her donor’s killer. Living in such close proximity soon causes forgotten passions to rise between the two. Before long, Marc is faced with the option of stepping into a ready-made family, and Elin is hoping for the chance at a love-filled marriage. Nevertheless, someone doesn’t want them together–someone is seeking to silence Elin before she can reveal what she’s discovered. Marc and Elin are in a race against time to unearth the secrets held in Elin’s new heart. Will the couple unearth more than what they are looking for? Is Marc ready to forgive Elin and possibly gain more than just a cordial relationship with the mother of his child? Is Elin ready to take another chance on love?

Seagrass Pier is the third novel in the Hope Beach series. Interested readers should consult our blog posts on the first two novels in the series, Tidewater Inn and Rosemary Cottage.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coast, Coble, Colleen, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Jodie Bailey. Quilted by Christmas. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2014.

quiltedIt has been twelve years. Twelve years since that fateful night when Taryn McKenna pushed Justin Callahan, her high school sweetheart, to take the next step in their relationship. Taryn hasn’t seen him since. Reeling from the breakup and guarding a secret that must never come to light, Taryn went off to school, but soon found herself back home and is now a teacher in fictional Hollings, North Carolina.

Not too long before Christmas, Taryn finds her calm and quiet existence disrupted by Justin’s return from the army. But, he’s not back for a short visit; Justin has retired and come home to Hollings for good. Now, Justin’s words, “You’re needy. Manipulative. You used me,” are ringing in Taryn’s head once again. Moreover, not only does she have to face him in town, but Taryn’s Grandma Jemma has hired Justin to do some work around Jemma’s house. What is Taryn to do when her only haven has been invaded by a man she has done everything to forget?

When Grandma Jemma is rushed to the hospital, Taryn must admit that it isn’t feeling a lot like Christmas, though this new event does show Taryn exactly the kind of man that Justin has grown into. Before her stint in the hospital, Grandma Jemma was working on a hand-stitched quilt as a wedding present for Taryn’s cousin. It is a tradition for a hand-stitched quilt containing an Irish chain to be made for every new McKenna bride. With Jemma in the hospital, it is Taryn’s duty to finish the quilt. Nevertheless, fate must be working against the McKenna’s because there is no way that Taryn will finish this quilt on her own. When Justin offers to commit his quilting skills to the cause, will Taryn be able to set her feelings aside? Even more importantly, will Taryn recognize the opportunities for healing that God is placing in front of her?

Quilted by Christmas is the twenty-second title in the Quilts of Love series. This series is made up of a multitude of books written by various authors to share their stories of “love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings.” This is much like how a quilt is made up of many tiny stiches that are assembled together to tell a story.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Bailey, Jodie, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship

Melissa Marr. Made for You. New York: Harper Teen, 2014.

madeforyouEva Cooper-Tilling is the town darling of fictional Jessup, North Carolina. As the granddaughter of a prominent minster and a girl born into a family with wealth and status, Eva is very popular and above reproach to most of her peers. So, it is big news when Eva is the victim of a hit-and-run, and it’s even bigger news when evidence points to the accident being a deliberate act.

While in the hospital, Eva refuses to see anyone but her closest friend Grace. But during her stay, Eva runs into her old friend Nate and the two are soon on their way to redeveloping their old friendship, but with new feelings. However, Nate and Eva’s renewed closeness only seems to make the would-be killer even more upset. The bodies of Eva’s peers start showing up with messages to Eva.

A stalker-killer and amorous feelings for Nate aren’t all Eva is dealing with after the hit-and-run. Whenever someone touches Eva she receives a vision of their death. In order to avoid these flashes, she must initiate contact with the person before they touch her. Eva confides in Grace, who is skeptical, and in Nate, who believes her. When Eva realizes that the killer will continue to go after her peers to get his message across, she quickly decides to use her new ability to her advantage. Will she be able to discover the killer before he gets his hands on her?

Throughout Made for You, readers are provided with insights into the mind of the killer, who thinks of himself as “Judge.”  This tale is a great suspenseful thriller that will capture the minds of teenagers and older readers. Do you think you can figure out who the killer is before all is revealed?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Children & Young Adults, Marr, Melissa, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Michelle Major. A Brevia Beginning. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

aBreviabeginning“Something had changed in her when she’d chosen her act of rebellion. From the start, she’d known he’d find out, and she’d understood there would be hell to pay. She also believed it couldn’t be worse than the hell she called a life.”

From the day she was adopted at six years old, Lexi Preston has done everything she can to be the perfect daughter to her adopted father, Robert Preston – this includes following in his footsteps to become a lawyer in his firm. All of that ended when Lexi went behind her father’s back and gave the opposing client information. The Prestons’ clients, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, were trying to dig up dirt on Julia Morgan, the mother of their grandchild, so that they could gain custody of their grandson Charlie. Taking note of how Julia kept fighting even with all the odds piled against her, Lexi decided to help her out, knowing that it would mean “hell to pay.” When Robert Preston found out, he publicly humiliated Lexi and kicked her out of his life. With nowhere else to turn, Lexi travels to Brevia, North Carolina in search of Julia, who is now Julia Callahan and married to the police chief of Brevia. Julia isn’t too keen on helping out the woman who made her life a living hell during the custody battle, but she wouldn’t have ended up being able to keep her son Charlie if it wasn’t for Lexie. So, she offers to get Lexie a job working at Riley’s Bar.

United States Marshal Scott Callahan is in need of some time away from it all after losing his partner during a botched arrest. Not ready to face the interrogation from the Marshals office or the constant questions from others, Scott finds himself at Riley’s Bar in the hometown of his father, Joe, and brother, Sam. Also not ready to face his family, Scott decides to drown his sorrows for a while. Scott ends up in an argument with the bar owner which results in Scott buying the bar, with the help of a legal contract drawn up by one of the waitresses, Lexi Preston. Lexi is the worst waitress the town has ever seen. After Scott recovers from his drunken night, he and Lexi make a deal – Scott gets to share her two bedroom apartment and Lexi won’t hear mention of her getting fired for the month she plans to stay.

Sparks flew between the two on the night they first met; the close quarters instituted by both working at the bar together and living together only adds fuel to the fire. However, this arrangement is only temporary. Scott knows his greatest talent is the ability to mess everything up. He can’t expect to ever be good enough for Lexi. On the other hand, Lexi has never been on her own. She doesn’t know if she can make a life without her father, but this may be just an adventure that will end when her father is ready to take her back. When Lexi stands up to her father, letting him know that she won’t be coming back, will Scott be able to give up the action of U.S. Marshals Service and settle into the small-town life?

A Brevia Beginning is the third novel set in the fictitious town of Brevia North Carolina. The series continues to show that small-towns can have big-city action.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Major, Michelle, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Elizabeth Spann Craig. Progressive Dinner Deadly. United States: Elizabeth Spann Craig, 2013.

progressivedinnerMyrtle Clover and her best friend Miles are planning a coup in the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina. Today at book club, they’ll suggest the reading of actual literature. Myrtle even has a back-up plan, in case things aren’t looking too good for this suggestion. What Myrtle didn’t plan for is for her horrible neighbor, Erma Sherman, to chime in when the question of changing the book club is brought up.

Erma proposes a supper club, making it look like Myrtle was hinting at this suggestion. Myrtle wishes Erma would focus on the crabgrass that keeps creeping over into Myrtle’s yard and keep her proposals to herself! Nevertheless, the suggestion of a supper club is met with enthusiasm all around –even Miles is looking excited. Many in the group are even more enthusiastic for the idea of a progressive dinner, a dinner in which the group will go from house to house throughout the night, enjoying different courses at different houses. Myrtle is completely against this idea until she is complimented on her blackberry cobbler and asked to host the dessert portion of the night.

The supper club is off to a rowdy start when guests who weren’t even a part of book club show up at Miles’s house. The event soon takes a turn for the worse when Jill and her sister, Willow, get into an argument over Jill’s husband’s taste for drinking. After that, the night continues to deteriorate, from Willow’s house where the hostess isn’t there at their arrival and then rushes off, to Jill’s house where the group is greeted by a drunken Cullen, Jill’s husband. Nevertheless, that isn’t the worst of it–that comes when Myrtle finds Jill in the kitchen, lying in a puddle of blood.

Myrtle is soon using her detective skills to search out the suspects, and she isn’t against relying on charitable acts to get close to them. Just as it seems like Myrtle has solved the case and avoided danger, there is an unexpected action that sheds new light on the murder. Will Myrtle be able to outmaneuver the suspects and solve this case before she ends up being the next victim?

Progressive Dinner Deadly is the second book in the Myrtle Clover Mystery series. Originally published as an e-book, the printed version is now available. Octogenarian sleuth, Myrtle Clover got her first taste of solving crimes in Pretty is as Pretty Dies and it doesn’t look like this spry retired English teacher will be putting down her detective cane anytime soon.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Janice Maynard. A Baby for Keeps. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

babyIs it true that most of us are still haunted by our high school years?   That’s certainly the case for Dylan Kavanaugh.  Although Dylan was a good-looking athlete from a prominent family, his memories of  his high school years are mixed.  Dylan is dyslexic; reading was a struggle for him, a struggle he hid from his friends, if not his teachers.  Knowing the seriousness of his disability, the school got him a tutor.  Mia Larin was two years younger than Dylan, but she was off-the-charts bright and a quiet, patient person who helped Dylan through many assignments, including his memorable take on Romeo and Juliet. Dylan still cringes when he thinks how he treated Mia.

Imagine Dylan’s surprise when Mia shows up back in their hometown–with a baby but no husband.  In the years since high school, Mia went on to get two doctoral degrees.  She was working as a medical researcher in the Research Triangle of North Carolina when she heard her biological clock ticking.  With no man in her life and a job that she thought was secure, Mia decided to have a child through artificial insemination.  Now she has lovely little Cora, but the funding for her lab dried up, and she is close to broke.  She has come back to the little mountain town of Silver Glen to regroup.

Once Dylan learns about Mia’s situation, he springs into action.  He sees helping her–with a job and a place to stay–as a way to ease his conscience over how he treated her in high school.  But Mia’s not the shy, young nerd she was in high school.  She has her pride–and she has quite a nice figure.  Mia had a crush on Dylan in high school, a crush that he never noticed.  Now, as grownups there is a mutual attraction, but should they act on it?  This being a romance, they do, but that’s not the end of it.  Self-images formed in high school, professional setbacks and opportunities, and Dylan’s fear of fatherhood make a long road to happily-ever-after.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Maynard, Janice, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Sandra Balzo. Hit and Run. Sutton, England: Severn House Publishers, 2014.

hit&runJournalist AnnaLise Griggs returned home to the fictional town of Sutherton, North Carolina because her mother was struggling with health issues. AnnaLise didn’t expect to get an offer from the town’s “legendary womanizer,” Dickens Hart, to write his memoirs. Even more unexpected was the discovery that Hart is AnnaLise’s biological father.

Dickens Hart is the founder of the White Tail Lodge – a knockoff of the playboy mansion concept. After years spent womanizing, Hart is out to make amends and needs AnnaLise’s help in order to do so. Hart wants AnnaLise to look through his “big black book” and find all the women that he could have had children with through the years, so that Hart can reach out to them. His plan is to have a big Thanksgiving dinner with the mothers and their offspring, AnnaLise included. For her part, AnnaLise will bring her mother Daisy and her mother’s best friend Philomena, affectionately known as Mama, with her. All of the guests will be staying at Hart’s manor.

Out of Hart’s black book come sixty-three possibilities. From these sixty-three possibilities, only three agree to attend along with their offspring. When a fourth shows up, it is clear that Hart decided to include one of his favorite old flames, even though he couldn’t be the father of her child. With the inclusion of ex-wives for good measure, this is sure to be a drama-filled weekend.

Hart ends up being the center of all the action–but probably not in the way he expected–when he becomes the victim of a homicide in his own bedroom. A house filled with people who aren’t sad to see Hart go, and many of them with reasonable cause to have killed the man, provides the police with a multitude of suspects. However, it is soon clear that the evidence is piling up to point at AnnaLise, the only acknowledged heir. Knowing that she did not kill her father, AnnaLise must work fast to solve the case before she ends up paying for a crime she didn’t commit.

Hit and Run is the newest title in the Main Street Mystery series. This series features the journalist AnnaLise Griggs, playing up the ability of journalists to sniff out the facts and discover the truth before all others.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Balzo, Sandra, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Janice Maynard. A Not-So-Innocent Seduction. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

not-so-innocent“Being human is to be lonely. It’s a rare gift in life to find the person that completes you.”

When Zoe Chamberlain’s VW bus, Bessie, breaks down in Silver Glen, North Carolina, Zoe takes it as a sign that it’s time to kick back for a while. Zoe is constantly on the road and has spent many nights sleeping in Bessie, so booking a room at the Silver Beeches Lodge for six weeks straight is a huge indulgence. The most Zoe expected was to enjoy pampering at the lodge and to have time to explore the beautiful town of Silver Glen. Zoe gets much more than she bargained for in the form of one of the owners of the Silver Beeches Lodge, Liam Kavanagh. Life on the road can get really lonely, and there might be more to explore here than just the town.

Liam Kavanagh has lived in Silver Glen all of his life – his ancestors actually helped to build the town. Since the death of his father, while Liam was still a teenager, Liam has shouldered his family, including his mother, a multitude of siblings, and the family business, the Silver Beeches Lodge. Liam loves his job and the fact that he has loads of family right down the road, but there just has to be something more. Then Zoe Chamberlain walks into the doors of the lodge and takes his breath away. Liam knows he just has to get to know her, but that’s easier planned than accomplished.

Liam is a handsome man and Zoe is interested. The two of them start to spend time together, but where Liam shares himself with Zoe, she continues to hold back. Now, Liam knows how secrets and the pull of mystery can lead to devastation–he witnessed it with his father. So, how can he be falling in love with Zoe when he doesn’t believe he can trust her? Zoe is enjoying her time in Silver Glen and the man she’s spending time with, but the problem is that time runs out. It is only a matter of time before she’s discovered and has to move on, but how can she leave the place and the man that are just beginning to feel like home?

A Not-So-Innocent Seduction is the first novel in The Kavanaghs of Silver Glen series. The second novel in the series is Baby for Keeps; it tells the tale of Dylan Kavanagh, who plays a part in helping his big brother Liam take a chance on his love for Zoe.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Maynard, Janice, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship