Category Archives: Novels to Read Online

1. Novels to Read Online

Marie Beale. Jack O’Doon. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1894.

In this sad melodrama, Mercy Blessington, the daughter of a retired sea captain, must choose between two suitors.  One is Algernon Abercrombie, an artist, half serious about his work and a bit of a ne’er-do-well.  The other is a local fisherman, Jack O’Doon.  Jack is clearly the better person, but he is uneducated and Mercy is a cultured young woman who expects her husband to be cultured too.  Mercy’s good influence turns Algernon around, so that when Jack sacrifices his life to save Algie, it lessens the tragedy, if only just a bit.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1890-1899, 1894, Beale, Marie, Coast, Novels to Read Online

Ernest M. Poate. The Trouble at Pinelands. New York: Chelsea House, 1922.

The “trouble” in the title is murder.  The atmosphere should be one of happy anticipation at Fort House, for Dorothy McGregor and Dr. Lewis Parker are to be married in two days.  But the house is inhabited by poltergeists, an invalid aunt who just might oppose the marriage, and her nurse who has a mysterious past.  When Dr. Parker asks Dr. Gaskell, another local physician, to look in on Aunt Mary, they argue over her condition.  The next morning, when Dr. Gaskell is found dead, the soon-to-be bridegroom is the prime suspect.

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

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Filed under 1920-1929, 1922, Coastal Plain, Moore, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Novels to Read Online, Poate, Ernest M.

Gregory Seaworthy. Bertie, or, Life in the Old Field. Philadelphia: A. Hart, 1851.

This is a novel of plantation life, set along the shores of Albemarle Sound.  It includes scenes of farming, fishing, church events, and socializing, and it gives a nice sense of the landscape of the area.  Most of the action in the novel centers on the romantic relationships of six couples.  The presence of a Yankee “professor” who misunderstands local speech and customs adds humor, but this is very much an antebellum work, and readers today might find some of the humor off-putting.

Capt. Gregory Seaworthy is a pseudonym of George Highby Throop. Throop was once a tutor to the children of Cullen Capehart, a plantation owner in Bertie County.  All Throop’s novels are thought to draw upon his experiences with the Capehart clan.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library online catalog.

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Filed under 1850-1859, 1851, Bertie, Coast, Humor, Novels to Read Online, Seaworthy, Gregory

Elinor Macartney Lane. Katrine. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1909.

When the rich, young, self-indulgent Francis (Frank) Ravenel returns to his family plantation north of Charlotte, he expects to be master of all he sees.  He is is not prepared for the changes that occurred during his absence–the charming Irish lawyer and financier Dermott McDermott on the next plantation, the Irish overseer McDermott has recommended to Ravenel’s mother, or the overseer’s beautiful daughter, Katrine. Katrine is sweet, wise, with a subtle sense of humor, and an independent streak.  Frank’s self-confidence is shaken when he finds himself falling in love with Katrine.  The ups-and-downs of their relationship are the meat of the novel.

Elinor Lane was a prominent novelist at the beginning of the twentieth century.  This novel, published a few months after her death, was the #2 bestseller of 1909.

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

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Filed under 1900-1909, 1909, Lane, Elinor Macartney, Mecklenburg, Novels to Read Online, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Sara Beaumont Kennedy. Joscelyn Cheshire. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1902.

In Hillsboro’town a private battle wages between the spirited Royalist Joscelyn Cheshire and the equally strong-willed Patriot Richard Clevering.  Richard leaves to join the Continental Line, and he is captured by the British and consigned to a prison ship.  He escapes and makes his way back to the Piedmont where Joscelyn, her loyalty divided, hides him.  As the tide of war turns in the Patriots’ favor, Joscelyn is reviled by her neighbors.  Richard, knowing her bravery, defends her.  In her gratitude, Joscelyn comes to see that Richard is the man for her.

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

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Filed under 1900-1909, 1902, Historical, Kennedy, Sara Beaumont, Novels to Read Online, Orange, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

T.C. Harbaugh. Under Greene’s Banner, or, The Boy Heroes of 1781. Philadelphia: David McKay, 1904.

The struggle between the Tories and the Patriots in Piedmont Carolina during the Revolution forms the background for this spy story, which is part of the Boys of Liberty Library series.  The prose style is typical of the early twentieth century, but the novel contains enough action scenes to hold a young reader’s attention. The Battle of Guilford Courthouse is vividly depicted.

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

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Filed under 1900-1909, 1904, Children & Young Adults, Guilford, Harbaugh, T. C., Historical, Novels to Read Online, Piedmont

Calvin Wiley. Alamance, or, The Great and Final Experiment. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1847.

This is the first North Carolina novel written by a native of the state.  It is a tale of the Revolutionary Era in which the conflicts between the local Whigs and Tories are seen through the eyes of a schoolteacher, Hector M’Bride.  Despite the title, most of the action takes place in Guilford County; the Battle of Guilford Courthouse figures in the novel, as does the Battle of Camden.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1840-1849, 1847, Guilford, Historical, Novels to Read Online, Piedmont, Wiley, Calvin

Francis Lynde. The Master of Appleby. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1902.

The subtitle sums up the book: “A Novel Tale Concerning Itself in Part With the Great Struggle in the Two Carolinas; but Chiefly With the Adventures Therein of Two Gentlemen Who Loved One and the Same Lady.” Set along the Catawba River, the novel gives a good sense of the changing allegiances of North Carolinians in the back country during the 1770s and early 1780s.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1900-1909, 1902, Historical, Lynde, Francis, Novels to Read Online, Piedmont

Edmund Kirke. My Southern Friends. New York: Carleton, 1863.

A New York businessman forms close ties of friendship with several families in Jones and Craven counties.  They assist each other in solving personal and financial problems even though they have different points of view on slavery and other issues.  Slavery receives a lot of attention; corrupt masters, violent overseers, and miscegenation figure in the plot.  The tragedies in the book are based on episodes that the author knew of from his experiences as a director of a cotton trading and shipping company prior to the Civil War.

Edmund Kirke is a pseudonym of James R. Gilmore.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1860-1869, 1863, Coastal Plain, Craven, Jones, Kirke, Edmund, Novels to Read Online

J. Pressley Barrett. Iola, or, Facing the Truth. Raleigh, NC: Edwards, Broughton & Co., 1886.

Religious controversy is at the heart of this novel. George Graham is saved from death on a Civil War battlefield by the saintly Addie Trueheart. After George regains his health, he and Addie marry. They are two soul mates except in matters of religion. George is a strong Baptist, while Addie is not. When George influences their only child, Iola, to become a Baptist, Mrs. Graham’s heart is broken. Her death causes Iola to re-evaluate the Baptist practice of closed communion.  When Iola voices her new beliefs, she is expelled from the church.  Her father is unpersuaded by Iola’s defense of her views (given over many pages in the book) and their relationship deteriorates. After leaving home, Iola makes a life for herself. The author clearly takes Iola’s side, and the book is an anti-Baptist tract.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1880-1889, 1886, Barrett, J. Pressley, Novels to Read Online, Religious/Inspirational