Category Archives: Religious/Inspirational

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

Travis Thrasher. Hurt. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2013.

hurtIn this fourth and final installment in the Solitary Tales, author Travis Thrasher takes us back once more to the fictional town of Solitary, North Carolina.

Chris Buckley has tried everything when it comes to the evil in Solitary. He’s mocked it, pretended it doesn’t exist, given in for a time, even run away. Nothing has stopped his demon-possessed great-grandfather, Walter Kinner, from giving up his satanic control on the town. Worst of all, Chris is somehow the centerpiece of his upcoming final showdown with the powers of good. Tired, terrified, but most of all determined never to give in to the Devil, Chris takes the only course of action left– fighting back. It’s hard enough being a teenaged boy without having to fight the powers of darkness, but with his belief in the powers of God growing stronger every day, Chris has hope where before he had none.

Unfortunately, his very real demons know exactly how to keep him on their side– by threatening the ones he loves. His mother has been missing for some time, held by Walter’s henchmen. They’re also threatening his latest girlfriend, the sweet and guileless Kelsey. Since his other two girlfriends, Jocelyn and Lily, have both ended up as bloody sacrifices, Chris was reluctant to start dating again. But there’s just something about Kelsey that makes him think everything will be okay. But there is a long fight ahead, and no telling who will emerge triumphant. Will faith, hope, and love keep back the darkness?

Check out this final chapter in the Solitary Tales in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Henderson, Horror, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational, Thrasher, Travis

Payne, Peggy. Revelation. Wilmington, N.C. : Banks Channel Books, 1995, c1988.

revelationDr. Swain Hammond is perfectly happy before he steps out into his yard one summer night and hears the voice of God. He has a nice house with his beautiful wife in the heart of Chapel Hill, where he grew up. They don’t have a family, but neither wants children–they’re happy by themselves. Although he works as the minister of Westside Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, Swain would count himself as the last man likely to hear any kind of divine message. His congregation is made up of individuals who aren’t inclined to make literal interpretations of scripture, and neither is Swain. Yet, while his wife is grilling pork shish kebabs only a few yards away, God speaks to him.

The next year of Swain’s life is fraught with anguish. Far from the joy and peace he imagined hearing the voice of God would bring him, instead it seems to bring nothing but trouble. The congregation doesn’t know what to think of their formerly intellectually detached leader claiming to hear directly from God. At first they staunchly stand beside his right to free speech, but as the year wears on and Swain begins to preach about believing in miracles and hearing His voice again, they become uncomfortable and even angry. A few demand he step down, while others think he should seek counseling. Even Swain’s beloved wife, Julie, doesn’t know what to think.

In the midst of all this turmoil are the local children. Swain has never liked children, or felt comfortable around them. But when a boy named Jakey Miles, the son of a local woman he had a crush on in high school, is blinded in a terrible accident, Swain finds himself drawn to the boy. Against his will, he finds himself reflecting on his own childhood, where his intelligent parents played cruel games of emotional chess with one another that inevitably left young Swain traumatized. As the minister questions his faith, his relationships, and himself, one thing becomes startlingly clear–happiness is where you least expect to find it.

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

 

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Filed under 1980-1989, 1988, 1990-1999, 1995, Orange, Payne, Peggy, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational

Mia Ross. Hometown Family. New York: Love Inspired Books, 2012.

Matt Sawyer left Harland, North Carolina as soon as he graduated from high school.  He knew that he didn’t want to be a farmer like his father and he felt stifled by the closeness that his father and siblings expected from each other.  But it was his unspoken bitterness and grief over the early death of his mother that set him on a life of rambling, a life with no commitments, not even to his kin.  But now his father has died, and Matt finds that he has to stay in Harland to save the family farm and the way of life that is so dear to his siblings.  Matt agrees to stay long enough to get the harvest in; once that’s done, he’ll go back to his work as a mechanic in Charlotte.

But Matt didn’t count on meeting Caty McKenzie, or, really, meeting her again.  She was three years behind him in school and his awareness of her was slight.  He knew little about her other than that his brother John was clearly sweet on her.  But now Caty is a lawyer–his father’s lawyer.  It’s Caty who breaks the news to the Sawyer siblings that the farm has been left to all of then, with the stipulation that all decisions about it must be unanimous.  Matt can’t imagine that he and his sister Marianne can agree on anything, and he feels guilty knowing that his brother John has only worked on the family farm, nowhere else.

Matt’s clearly got some work to do: get over his guilt about leaving his family, his distaste for farming, and his habit of running from uncomfortable feelings–like his romantic interest in Caty McKenzie.  In contrast, Caty seems like she has an uncomplicated life.  She loves being back in her hometown and is looking forward to restoring the house that she grew up in.  But Caty’s childhood included the tragic death of her mother, and in restoring her childhood home she comes face-to-face with a secret from the past.  Will she be able to face that, especially after a house fire undoes her restoration work and almost kills her?  Over the course of the novel her faith, her hometown friendships, and Matt Sawyer’s growing love for her allow them both to see a life in Harland that neither expected.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Ross, Mia

Marybeth Whalen. The Guest Book. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.

Macy Dillon and her family used to take a vacation to Sunset Beach, North Carolina every year. Her most treasured childhood memories are of walking the beach with her mother, brother, and especially her father. But Darren Dillion passed away when she was just sixteen, and Macy’s life has contained a gaping hole ever since. Macy is barely holding it together, working at the local grocery store, and suffering through her mother’s forced celebration of her father’s birthday each year. The only good thing that has happened since Macy’s father’s death is her now five-year-old daughter, Emma, even though Emma’s father walked out on them both shortly after she was born.

But this year at the birthday celebration they hold annually for her deceased father, Macy’s mom announces that they are once more taking a family vacation to Sunset Beach. Macy begins to hope. As a child, her father encouraged her natural artistic talent by asking her to draw a picture in the guest book at their beach house rental each year. Amazingly, another child, a young boy, would answer Macy’s drawings each year with a drawing of his own. The children traded drawings for ten years without meeting, but in what she knew would be her final drawing, Macy promised to come back and find him. Macy is determined that this trip to Sunset Beach will be the one in which she finds the boy. But when they arrive, no less than three men begin vying for Macy’s attention…and any of the three could be the artist. Will she ever find out his identity? And will her family ever find peace without her father?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Brunswick, Coast, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Whalen, Marybeth

Kim Cash Tate. Hope Springs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012.

Hope Springs is a small, fictional town 40 minutes east of Raleigh, North Carolina. Geraldine “Grandma Geri” Sanders, the matriarch of the Sanders clan, holds family reunions here every summer and every Christmas, welcoming her far-flung chicks back to the nest where they grew up. Some, like her granddaughter Libby who lives in Raleigh, haven’t strayed so far. But her other adult grandchildren are so far away; some haven’t visited in years. Sisters Cyd and Stephanie grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where they spend most holidays with their husbands’ families. Janelle has refused to make the journey down from her home in Maryland ever since she lost her husband two years ago.

The Sanders aren’t the only family in Hope Springs hosting a reunion: the Dillons, their neighbors for many years, are all congregating after the death of their patriarch, Jerry Dillon, who also happened to be the local pastor. His son Todd and daughter-in-law Becca are also heavily involved in ministry, but have moved outside of Hope Springs. Now all the adults from both families have a chance to reconnect over shared happiness and sorrow, and each person must ponder what God truly wants for him or her in their hearts. When Grandma Geri contracts cancer, everyone pulls together, and what is meant to be a Christmas visit turns into a months-long extended stay.

While the novel is told through the eyes of Stephanie, Janelle, and Becca, we witness everyone’s journey together as a family in more ways than one. Will Stephanie be able to adjust to her family after so many years away? Will Janelle eventually overcome her husband’s death, and even find new love? Will Becca do what’s right for herself and her children? Most importantly, will everyone survive in a house full of young children and toddlers? Only God has the answers.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Tate, Kim Cash

Ann Tatlock. Traveler’s Rest. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2012.

There is an old adage about letting going of what you love: if it returns it was yours all along, if it doesn’t it never was. But what if you are the one who was let go, and you never wanted to be in the first place?

Jane Marrow finds herself in that heartbreaking situation when her fiance, Seth Ballantine, returns from Iraq a quadriplegic. He loves her, but Seth is unwilling to let Jane forfeit a “normal life”: to be carried over the threshold by her husband, to become a mother, and to be free of full-time care giving responsibilities.  He worries that she will waste her life away with him and will eventually resent him if they go through with the wedding. For her part, Jane is unwavering: she is resolved to never leave Seth or to give up on their plans, even though practically everyone has given her an “out”. Seth finally explains that her insistence on staying together is hampering his recovery, so she gives him some space.

At the Veterans Affairs hospital in Asheville, Jane meets a variety of people who support her and Seth in this difficult time. Two Ugandan cousins serve as aids in the hospital, and they always lighten the mood. A retired doctor with an uncomfortable past, Truman Rockaway, helps Jane understand forgiveness and faith. And Jon-Paul Pearcy is a volunteer musician at the VA who shows Jane and Seth that it is possible to live a full life with a disability. Along the way, Jane learns about love, trusting God, and letting go.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Tatlock, Ann

D. H. Caldwell. Last Love. New York: iUniverse, 2008.

Elsie Erwin is thrown for a loss when her mother dies.  She and her mother have lived together in a small house in Gaston County all of Elsie’s life.  And through those many decades Mama communicated to Elsie a fear of germs, defilement, family, other people–really life itself.  At Mama’s funeral a cousin shares some family history with Elsie that helps explain her mother’s attitudes, but this new knowledge upsets Elsie.  Elsie’s one true friend, Bertha, steps up to help by whisking Elsie off on trips–to Florida in the summer and a cruise to the Bahamas in the winter.  Together the women have their share of innocent escapades and a few scrapes.  Still, when she’s at home, living in her old house proves too much for Elsie.  It is the interest and concern of an older man that reveals to Elsie the sweetness in life–and her true heritage.

 

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Caldwell, D. H., Gaston, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational

Shana Burton. Catt Chasin’. Deer Park , NY: Urban Books, 2011.

Who likes it when some new co-worker comes in and starts telling you that you’ve been doing your job wrong?  That’s what chemist Catt Cason gets when Jamal Ford joins the R&D department at Telegenic, an up-and-coming cosmetics company in Charlotte.  Catt has just been promoted from the teen fragrance line to the women’s line.  Jamal thinks her creations are unsophisticated bubble gum scents.  Catt is stunned by Jamal’s arrogance and the way he doesn’t hesitate to get in her face with his opinions.  Catt complains to management, but she is told that Telegenic has paid a lot of money to lure Jamal and that she will have to learn to work with him.  And Catt gets no sympathy from her friends at the the company– Jamal is good looking, charming, and sexy, and half the women in the company want to date him.

Jamal is not the only man making trouble for Catt.  Her father, Pastor Jeremiah Cason, thinks that it is time for his only child to marry and produce some grandchildren.  Pastor Cason is sure that that his assistant, Eldon James, would be a perfect husband for Catt and begins to put the two of them together in all kinds of situations.  Catt is a dutiful daughter and a believing Christian, but she knows that there is no real spark between her and the young minister.  Although she resists it, Catt feels an electricity between her and her arrogant, sexy co-worker.  Her faith and self-restraint are put to a test when Catt and Jamal are sent on a three week promotional tour for a new product line. Pastor Cason gathers a group of prayer warriors to pray for her, but little do they know what the trip has in store for Catt–and for Jamal.  This will be a road trip that goes a long way toward healing some old hurts, and advancing their careers—and just maybe something else.

 

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Burton, Shana, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship

Tim Owens. The Search Committee. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2012.

In this novel Tim Owens presents an affectionate portrait of the people and places of eastern North Carolina.  When a small North Carolina Presbyterian church east of  I-95 needs a new pastor, the church does what churches do: they appoint a search committee to screen applications and visit the best candidates.  The seven parishioners on the committee represent all types of people in the church: they are young and old, long-time locals and newcomers, single, married, and widowed.  Most Sundays between the spring and early fall they pack themselves into the church’s Econoline van and drive around the state visiting preachers who are looking to move to a new church.

Much of the story is revealed through the musings of a young married man, Travis Booth.  Through him readers ponder how difficult it is for seven strangers to slip into the Sunday service of a small church without being noticed, what hymn selection might indicate about the preacher’s liturgical style, and whether pew cushions are worth the expense.  While most chapters begin with a brief selection from a Presbyterian catechism or confessional document and the book includes sermon excerpts that will make some regular church goers smile, the novel is not so much about the church as it is about the people on the search committee.  Each person carries a long-term sorrow or is facing a problem that is revealed as the novel unfolds.  Readers will root for these nice people to find grace and healing as much as they wait to see if the search for a minister will be successful.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Coastal Plain, Owens, Tim, Religious/Inspirational