Category Archives: 1960-1969

1960-1969

Peggy Dern. Peacock Hill. New York: Arcadia House, 1960.

Since the early twentieth century, the mountains around Asheville have been home to a mix of longtime mountain families and wealthy newcomers.  The contrasting lives of those two groups are on display in Peacock Hill.  Robin and Kirke Bryant are a sister and brother with deep mountain roots.  Robin is a young woman who has never been far from home. Her brother, Kirke, saw a bit of the world when he was in the military and later when he worked for a large oil company in Saudi Arabia.  His work for Big Oil left him with enough money to allow him and his sister to continue to live on their family’s land.  The Bryants may be financially secure, but not on the same scale as Ezra Calloway, the owner of Peacock Hill.  Mr. Calloway lives in a large mansion on a gated manor, with servants and a secretary to help him with his historical research.  He and his secretary dress in white tie and tails for dinner, and they never have guests.  That changes when Calloway’s great niece, Brooke Hildreth, arrives unannounced.  Brooke is young,  wealthy, and recently widowed.  Uncle Ezra opens his house and heart to her, and Brooke considers staying on with her uncle.  But Brooke’s prior life follows her to Peacock Hill.  While the household at Peacock Hill remains unruffled by the complications that Brooke brings, Brooke and people from her circle unsettle the routines–and even the lives–of Robin and Kirke.

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

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Filed under 1960, 1960-1969, Dern, Peggy, Mountains

Manly Wade Wellman. Battle for King’s Mountain. New York: Ives Washburn, 1962.

Zack Harper, a young scout for the Continental Army, plays a key role in providing the patriots with information prior to the battle for King’s Mountain.  Much of the story is told through dialogue, making this an easy read for young adults.

This is the second of four novels about Harper’s adventures in the Revolutionary War.

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1962, Children & Young Adults, Historical, Mountains, Wellman, Manly Wade

Wilma Dykeman. The Far Family. New York: Hold, Rinehart and Winston, 1966.

The Far Family picks up after Dykeman’s The Tall Woman and tells the story of Lydia McQueen’s children and grandchildren.  The novel opens in the twentieth century when protagonist Ivy Thurston Cortland, Lydia’s granddaughter, is an old woman.   Ivy and her siblings Clay, Frone, Phoebe, and Kin have left their Nantahala home for other areas of the country, but crisis strikes when Clay returns to the valley town.  An African American man is murdered shortly after his arrival, and Clay is accused of the crime.  The novel’s chapters alternate between “yesterday” and “today” to tell the story of the Martha McQueen Thurston’s children as they reunite to help their brother Clay.  The “today” chapters focus on the family crisis, while the “yesterday” chapters relate the family’s beginning.  Martha and her husband Tom purchased the mountain land where Lydia and Mark McQueen raised their family in The Tall Woman, but Martha’s children have a different relationship with the land than she did when she was a girl.  The family ties are tested and prevail.

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1966, Dykeman, Wilma, Mountains

Tom Wicker. The Judgment. New York: William Sloane Associates, 1961.

Beware the handsome stranger.  On a winter night a good looking young man shows up in a small North Carolina town.  He has a winning manner, but when bad things begin to happen in the town, some come to suspect he has brought evil with him. The author takes readers into the mind of a man warped by his performances in a huckster’s revival shows. It’s a hellish place.

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1961, Coastal Plain, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Suspense/Thriller, Wicker, Tom

Wilma Dykeman. The Tall Woman. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962.

Wilma Dykeman tells the story of a tight-knit mountain family living in Appalachia as the Civil War ends and Reconstruction begins.  Lydia McQueen moves to a mountain clearing when her husband, Mark, returns from fighting for the Union during the Civil War and has a difficult time readjusting to their predominately Confederate town in the valley.  On the mountain they raise six children, just a few hours away from Lydia’s parents and siblings who live in the valley below.  The family survives the hardships of mountain life and other trials during a time of political and economic difficulty. Lydia is a woman of action who works hard to rebuild her community and leave the next generation with something better – a school.

The Tall Woman features well-developed characters and relationships without neglecting the character of the Appalachian environment.  Lydia is no less tied to her family than she is the land she farms and the livestock she raises.

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1962, Dykeman, Wilma, Graham, Historical, Mountains

Sylvia J. Carlyle. Innocent, Ignorant, and Black. New York: Vantage Press, 1964.

This novel presents a very negative view of small town life at the beginning of the twentieth century. White men rule the town of Rivers Bend, and they are free to abuse their family members and the Black residents of the area.  When a young African American is accused of assaulting a mentally disabled White girl, he is promptly lynched.  The book follows the murderers over the next twenty years as their lives unravel. To a degree that is rare in real life, in this novel the guilty get their just desserts.

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1964, Carlyle, Sylvia J., Piedmont

Alexander Key. Escape to Witch Mountain. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1968.

Tony and Tia are teenagers with special powers: Tony is telekinetic and Tia–who speaks using an ultrasonic communication only her brother can hear–can unlock doors and talk to animals. Unfortunately, they also have no idea where they came from and after their foster “Granny” dies the teens are sent to a bleak juvenile detention home. When a creepy man shows up falsely claiming to be their uncle, the children begin to remember their history and they run away. Following a map they find in Tia’s star box, they travel toward Witch Mountain in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, hoping to find answers at the end of their journey. Helping them along the way are the kindly Father O’Day and Tia’s cat, Winkie. To date, Escape to Witch Mountain has inspired 5 films: Escape to Witch Mountain (1975, remade in 1995), Return to Witch Mountain (1978), Beyond Witch Mountain (1982), and Race to Witch Mountain (2009).

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1968, Children & Young Adults, Key, Alexander, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Catherine Marshall. Christy. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967.

After hearing a missionary doctor speak about his work in the Great Smokies, nineteen year-old, Christy Huddleston volunteers to be a mission teacher. She leaves her home and well-to-do family in Asheville and travels to the remote Cutter’s Gap, a place that does not take easily to outsiders. She faces numerous challenges related to both the place and the people of rural Appalachia–including the lack of modern conveniences, the influence of folk beliefs and superstitions, moonshining, and the community’s abject poverty–but her faith sustains her. Miss Alice, the missionary who founded the school, helps her and she is romantically torn between two men: minister David and the locally-born Dr. MacNeill. Most of the book’s action takes place in Cutter’s Gap, which is actually based on the community of Morgan Branch, located just over the border in Tennessee in the Cherokee National Forest. Based on the life of the author’s mother, Christy has inspired a television series of the same name, as well as several TV movies.

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1967, Buncombe, Historical, Marshall, Catherine, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship

Reynolds Price. A Long and Happy Life. New York: Atheneum, 1962.

Price’s widely acclaimed first novel is the story of Rosacoke Mustian and her unshakable adoration for the rakish Wesley Beavers. Rosacoke’s patient and unselfish love appears wasted on Wesley, a motorcycle- riding skirt-chasing Navy veteran who simply seems too impatient to settle down. The setting in rural eastern North Carolina is carefully and lyrically described.

A Long and Happy Life won the 1962 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction.

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1962, Coastal Plain, Price, Reynolds, Warren