Category Archives: 1940-1949

1940-1949

Marian Sims. The City on the Hill. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1940.

Lawyer Steve Chandler seems to be the only honest man in the fictional North Carolina city of Medbury. Chandler takes on social injustice, a corrupt police force, organized crime, bigotry, and public apathy in the courtroom, at his church, in his social circles, and on the streets. For the most part, it’s a losing battle in a novel that paints an unflattering portrait of a southern city (thought to be Charlotte) in the early twentieth century.

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Filed under 1940, 1940-1949, Mecklenburg, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Sims, Marian

Inglis Fletcher. Men of Albemarle. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1942.

Passions–political and otherwise–fly in this, the second novel in Fletcher’s Carolina Series.  Against a local backdrop of political and religious dissent and conflict with the Tuscaroras, the action in this novel reminds readers how connected the Carolina colony was to England in this period.  The novel opens in 1710 as three men contend for the governorship of the fledgling colony.  Three women pull at the heartstrings of the main character, wealthy planter Roger Mainwairing.  Mainwairing had planned to marry a young bride from England, but his attention is diverted by the mysterious exile Lady Mary, who may or may not be the illegitimate daughter of an English king.

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1942, Beaufort, Coast, Fletcher, Inglis, Historical, Novels in Series

Paul Ader. The Leaf against the Sky. New York: Crown Publishers, 1947.

This is a classic coming-of-age novel.  The main character, John Perry, is the son of a Methodist minister.  Soon after his family moves to a new town, John strikes up a friendship with Milton Silverstein and Zona Cahill.  Zona is flirtatious and worldly; Milton is Jewish.  John’s father does not approve of his new friends.  Still, the friendships continue even after the trio goes off to college.  John intends to return to his small hometown one day to edit his local newspaper, but first he has to find his own way, struggling to break free of religious orthodoxy and develop his own opinions.  The college the friends attend is called Trumbull University, but is is easily recognizable as Duke. The mountain town which the friends leave and then return to is called Macon, but a contemporary reviewer thought it was actually Franklin, in Macon County.

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1947, Ader, Paul, Durham, Macon, Mountains, Piedmont

Corydon Bell. Come Snow fer Christmas. Cleveland, OH: Tower Press, 1947.

As this novella opens, Doc Beddingfield is having a George Bailey kind of Christmas.  The good doctor moved from Charleston back to his home in the North Carolina mountains after his beloved wife, Cora, died almost a decade ago.  Each year since her death Doc sits at his desk on Christmas Eve and writes a letter to Cora.  At first the letters were sad ones, full of pain and loss, but over the years the tone changed and the letters became newsy reflections on recent events.  In recounting his year, the doctor re-establishes his connection with Cora, giving him a sense of continuity in his life.

This year is different. A feeling of uneasiness prevents Doc Beddingfield from writing.  Thinking that his sixth sense is telling him that a patient needs him, he sets off on his horse.  His patient is fine, but he learns of a new family in the neighborhood whose home has burned down. Visiting them, he finds a woman about to give birth.  Taking this new family into his home revitalizes the doctor and reignites feelings of community that had grown dim in the previous year.

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1947, Bell, Corydon, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational

Inglis Fletcher. Raleigh’s Eden. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1940.

This is the first book in Inglis Fletcher’s series of novels about North Carolina in the 17th and 18th centuries.   This is a big book and it set the pattern for the ones to follow.  While historical events play out in the background (the Regulator Insurrection, the Edenton Tea Party, the Battle of Guilford Courthouse), the main characters struggle with their personal and political passions.  The hero, Adam Rutledge, is a well-born landowner, married to Sara, an invalid.  Mary Warden is attracted to Adam, even as she struggles to stay true to her much older husband.  Into and out of their lives come almost a hundred other characters, some actual historical figures, some fanciful creations of the author’s imagination.  When it was published, this book was compared to Gone with the Wind. Like Margaret Mitchell’s blockbuster, Raleigh’s Eden is a good read, but readers of our era will find some of the situations and the attitudes of some characters objectionable.

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

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Filed under 1940, 1940-1949, Chowan, Coast, Fletcher, Inglis, Historical, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Inglis Fletcher. Toil of the Brave. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1946

The unrest of the Regulators and the fight for American independence are of little interest to many of the residents of River Plantation in Chowan County. The beautiful Angela Ferrier busies herself with romances even as her step-father, who sits on the Governor’s Council, fears for North Carolina and his family.  Only when Angela finds herself torn between a dashing British spy and a handsome American army captain does she realize the perils of her times. Although essentially a romance, the last quarter of the book gives a good account of the fighting in North and South Carolina in the fall of 1780.

This is one of the books in Fletcher’s series of novels about North Carolina in the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1946, Chowan, Coast, Fletcher, Inglis, Historical, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship

Laurette MacDuffie. The Stone in the Rain. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1946.

This is a novel about prejudice and opportunism.  The time is immediately prior to World War II.  Luther Perrin is a wealthy man in Somerset (Wilmington).  Perrin’s racist assumptions fit right in with those of his peers, but his active anti-Semitism is a surprise to his family and  friends.  When Perrin decides to develop one of the beaches near Somerset as a private, Christians-only resort, he hires the unscrupulous Cole Rives as an assistant. Rives eggs on Perrin, with disastrous consequences for many people.

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1946, Coast, MacDuffie, Laurette, New Hanover, Novels Set in Fictional Places

H. F. S. Moore. Murder Goes Rolling Along. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, and Co., 1942.

Murders involving the medical personnel at Fort Bragg.  No, it’s not the Jeffery MacDonald case.  This is a much more straightforward who-done-it set during World War II.  The plot is standard Crime Club fare, but the atmosphere of the base and the surrounding area are authentically portrayed.

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1942, Coastal Plain, Cumberland, Hoke, Moore, H. F. S., Mystery

Robert Wilder. Written on the Wind. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1946.

Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy fancy cars and a whole lot alcohol.  This novel, loosely based on stories about the Duke and Reynolds families, follows the grandchildren of tobacco magnate Andrew Whitfield as each makes a hash out of his or her life.  Grandson Cary is married to the actress Lillith, who truly loves Cary but who has found that she takes second place to Cary’s carousing.  Cary’s sister Ann-Charlotte also lives a fast life; her early start on this contributes to her father’s death.  Only Reece Benton, someone brought into the family circle by Cary and Ann-Charlotte’s mother, seems to have the potential to make sense of his life, but his relationship with the Whitfields almost undoes him.

When it was published the book , a racy melodrama, was recognized as natural movie material.  In 1956, the novel, set now among the oilmen of Texas, was made into a film staring Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, and Dorothy Malone.

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1946, Wilder, Robert

Inglis Fletcher. Lusty Wind for Carolina. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1944

The fledgling settlement at the mouth of the Cape Fear is menaced by pirates in this novel set in the early 1700s.  Blackbeard, working out of his base on Ocracoke Island, hinders the overseas trade that Huguenot refugee Robert Fontaine hopes will bring prosperity to Carolina coast.  Fontaine’s daughter’s courtship and marriage to the enterprising David Moray add a romantic element to the novel.  The action moves back and forth between Europe and points in the New World.

This is the third novel in the author’s Carolina Series.

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1944, Brunswick, Coast, Fletcher, Inglis, Historical, Novels in Series