Category Archives: 2010


A. L. Provost. The Trust of Old Men: The Coastal Plain Conspiracy. New York: Xlibris, 2010.

This complicated mystery, set in North Carolina during the Roaring Twenties, begins simply. UNC Hill freshman Alan Barksdale has labored diligently all first semester, with the dream of one day becoming a banker like his esteemed father, Marvin Barksdale. Mr. Barksdale is currently both the trust officer and manager of the enormously wealthy Commerce Bank in Raleigh due to the terrible death of the previous manager. Impatient to be reunited with his family for the winter holidays, young Barksdale hops in his brand-new, 1920 four-door Ford the minute classes end on the evening of December 20th. The snow falls thick and fast, and Alan tragically fails to see the young woman waving her hands in the middle of the road until it is too late. At least that’s what the Good Samaritan who stops to help tells the distraught young man.

Speaking of tragedy, seventeen wealthy, elderly men and women have passed away during 1920 on the Coastal Plain. But these deaths are no mystery: the Lenoir County Medical Examiner has carefully determined that each death was simply the result of age. Heart attacks, a misstep on the stairs, and falling overboard during fishing expeditions are only to be expected when men and women pass their seventies! Unfortunately for the departed, it’s possible that their ends were hastened by a lack of living kin on whom to spend their time and considerable fortunes–kin who might have prevented these accidents.

At first glance, no honest citizen would ever think that these deaths and Alan’s fatal car crash were related. But Norman Bates, a hotshot young reporter from Kinston, smells a rat. Now he’s on the tail of the biggest heist in North Carolina…maybe even America. But will he survive long enough to discover the truth?

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


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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Historical, Lenoir, Mystery, Provost, A. L., Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Maddie James. The Quest. Edgewater, FL: Resplendence Publishing, 2010.

This third novel in The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice series finds Jackson Porter traveling through time to fulfill his mother’s dying wish–that he search for what is rightfully his. His quest takes him from eighteenth century Ocracoke Island to twenty-first century Ohio–the land of his birth. There he will find that his mother’s well tended farm is imperiled–by government sanctions and by The Cult of Teach, in the person of the cult leader’s son, Tye Gentry.  Will Kari Upton, the woman who now owns the farm, marry Gentry, or will she and Jackson have another one of the passionate, adventure-filled romances that are a feature of this series?

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Coast, Hyde, James, Maddie, Novels in Series, Suspense/Thriller

Deeanne Gist. Maid to Match. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2010.

Tillie Reese has only ever had one dream: to become a lady’s maid and travel the world with her mistress. It’s 1898, and she’s currently the chief parlor maid at Biltmore, the grand estate built by George Washington Vanderbilt just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Opportunity strikes when Bénédicte, Mrs. Edith Vanderbilt’s French lady’s maid, leaves her post. As Tillie prepares herself to compete with another ambitious maid interested in the position, fate intervenes in the form of a new footman.

Mackenzie “Mack” Danver is not accustomed to polite society. He’s been highly educated, but his upbringing in a cabin in the Unaka Mountains combined with a short temper cause most city dwellers to dismiss him as an uncouth, wild mountain man. However, his twin brother, Earl, works as a footman in the service of the Vanderbilts, and when Mrs. Vanderbilt accidentally meets Mack, she can’t wait to employ him and show off her pair of matching footmen. Tall, muscular, and handsome, Earl and Mack make quite an impression in their livery. Mack isn’t happy with the idea – he would much prefer the freedom of his mountains. But his parents are dead, and his younger siblings are in the clutches of a nefarious orphanage director. Mack has to work if his brothers and sisters are ever going to have a good home again, and the Vanderbilts pay very well.

Mack’s regrets quickly disappear, however, when he sees Tillie for the first time. In fact, it’s love at first sight for both of them, but a lady’s maid isn’t married, and Tillie refuses to give up on that dream. As a lady’s maid, she would wear the same fine clothes as Mrs. Vanderbilt, be exposed to art and science, and have the money to take care of her family while also giving to those in need. Is there any way for her to follow her heart, while still fulfilling her dreams?

A sweet love story from the Gilded Age, Deeanne Gist’s Maid to Match will enchant lovers of well-researched, inspirational romance.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Buncombe, Gist, Deeanne, Historical, Mountains, Romance/Relationship

Tamara Leigh. Southern Discomfort Series.

Author Tamara Leigh

The Pickwick family certainly has their share of characters, no one will deny that. A wealthy clan with a large estate in the mountains of North Carolina, they have a reputation stretching back generations for swindling and conniving their way to the top. But Uncle “Obe” Obediah, the current head of the family, has experienced a brush with his own mortality and decided that it’s time to make amends. This includes revising his will significantly to include estranged relatives and wronged parties, and then selling off the grand family estate. This puts the younger generations of Pickwicks in a pickle, since along with reducing their inheritance, Uncle Obe may reveal some of their best-kept secrets, putting them in uncomfortable positions. There’s Piper, who moved all the way across the country to Los Angeles and changed her name to escape her family; there’s beautiful Maggie, who struggles with choices she made in high school that left her a single parent, and last but not least, feisty but grief-stricken Bridget, who turned her back on God and the world when she was widowed at 33.

But maybe Uncle Obe, with his insistence on putting the past to rights for all the Pickwicks, will unintentionally allow each of these young women a way to find a future brighter than she thinks possible.

Find more detailed summaries of all the installments in the Southern Discomfort Series in the Read North Carolina Novels blog. Then, check out their availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog:


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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, 2010, 2010-2019, 2011, Leigh, Tamara, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Series

Mary Flinn. The One New York: Aviva Publishing, 2010.

In middle school Kyle Davis seemed to have it all–good looks, smarts, athletic ability, and a wealthy, close-knit family–but appearances can be deceiving. After his sister dies and his father commits suicide, Kyle’s mom sends him off to prep school, but after just one year he returns to his hometown of Snowy Ridge, North Carolina.  There he finds that there is one constant in his life–his friend Chelsea Davenport.

Chelsea and Kyle’s fathers were once business partners, and the two teenagers have know each other since grade school.  The One follows Chelsea and Kyle through their last year of high school, a year with typical teen turmoil over dating, balancing school with other activities, and college admissions.  Chelsea and Kyle have some additional problems: a girl who is obsessed with Kyle and who seems willing to do anything to keep Kyle and Chelsea from getting close; Kyle’ s role in the death of a football player; Mrs. Davis’s  heavy drinking; and the physical decline of Chelsea’s beloved grandmother. Using dialog that is believable and vivid, the author brings these two teenagers and their difficulties alive in a coming-of-age novel that will appeal to teens and adults.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Children & Young Adults, Flinn, Mary, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Alison Pratt. A Murder Before Eden. Morrisville, NC:, 2010.

The adage that claims that “Truth is stranger than fiction” is often proven true. Newspapers publish “Weird News” sections, family folklore (albeit possibly embellished a little) is passed down through the generations, and history books always have their fair share of bizarre tales.

One such head-scratcher is set in 1940s Leaksville, North Carolina, which is now Eden. Tom Pratt, an elderly man, is viciously murdered in the middle of the night in his cabin. Only his wife, Ruby, caught a glimpse of the intruder. As the authorities begin to build an easy case against Junior Thompson, a neighbor who recently escaped from prison, Tom’s family begins to question that theory. Ruby’s description of the killer fails to match Junior’s appearance, and the circumstances of the crime seem highly unusual. Then there is the fact that they do not necessarily trust Ruby, the much younger and somewhat estranged wife of their father. Could she have something to do with the crime, allowing a possibly innocent African American man to be the scapegoat? Or is the Pratt family so caught up with questioning Ruby – to the point that they hire a lawyer to defend Junior – that they ignore all other possibilities? Only a small town jury can decide, but their ruling does not stop Leaksville residents from speculating for years to come.

This book is based on a real event, one that Alison Pratt has meticulously researched. In the book’s second part, she offers a follow up on the characters’ real lives as well as her own questions related to the case.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Historical, Piedmont, Pratt, Alison, Rockingham

J. Keith Jones. In Due Time. Hamilton, MI: White Feather Press, 2010.

As this novel opens, the American republic is getting a second chance.  Decades after the independent United States of America was absorbed into a world government, a rebel movement has ousted the globalists.  The rebels were led by Alexander Birch, a fighter from the mountains of North Carolina.  But while Birch is satisfied with the turn of events in the nation, a mysterious threat of a scandal is troubling him.  For help, he turns to another North Carolinian, the writer Howard Spence.  Through Spence, Birch and the reader learn the story of two young men, their unlikely friendship, the loves they find, the company they build, and the role they play in bringing liberty back to this country.  It’s a story of danger and personal betrayals, but also of  faith in the old values, courage–and time travel.


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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Jones, J. Keith, Mountains, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Alice E. Sink. Gifts of Grace. Kernsersville, NC: Alabaster Book Publishing, 2010.

“Grace” may have been the name Mrs. Thomas Riley’s parents gave her at birth, but it is also the manner in which she chose to live her life. As a girl in Mount Olivia, North Carolina, at the turn of the twentieth century, Grace was level-headed, considerate, and driven. When Thomas, her older second cousin, asked for her hand in marriage, she joyfully accepted. Thus began a partnership in nearby Weston Ridge that nurtured four strong-willed children, built a booming business in the tobacco industry, and produced an exquisite estate, Rilea, and thriving community.

Rather than being content to focus solely on her home and family, Grace boldly undertook a variety of causes, including social reform for women and children. After the untimely death of Thomas, Grace remarried. Feeling such profound love for her new husband, Jonathan, Grace wanted  to have children with him too. Doing so was dangerous for Grace but she wanted Jonathan to experience the wonder of life and love that she so greatly enjoyed throughout her full–but tragically short–life.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Historical, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Sink, Alice E.

Sain, Leanna. Magnolia Blossoms. Kingsport, TN: Twilight Times Books, 2010.

Sweet Magnolia Poinsett (understandably) loathes her name, preferring instead to go by Maggie. At 25, tough and worldly Maggie is a photographer for the prestigious National Geographic magazine, until she contracts malaria on a shoot in Zaire. Ordered to rest, Maggie reluctantly returns home to Charleston, South Carolina and the Civil War-obsessed parents who chose her horrible moniker. With typical misunderstanding, her mother and father decide that a family vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains is just what they all need, dragging her along to Golden Apple Farm, a small bed-and-breakfast nestled in picturesque MacKinlay, North Carolina. Despite the beautiful countryside and Jane MacKinlay,the kind proprietress,  Maggie is all set for a week of misery. Until she sees the ghost.

Jane MacKinlay suspects there is something different about the young woman who arrives with her family in the spring of 2010. When Maggie sees Thomas, Jane knows that her prayers have finally been answered. Shot in 1864 for desertion, the spectral Confederate is also Jane’s great, great uncle, and she thinks Maggie can help him–by returning to the past through Golden Apple Farm’s best kept secret: the iron gate. But Maggie is skeptical. After all, time travel? Ghosts? Then, one full-moon night, she follows Thomas … straight through the gate into 1864.

Soon Maggie is on the run. Disguised as a boy, she assists the photographer Thomas with his business of capturing Civil War action, all the while looking for a way to save him from his untimely end. But the wartime South is a dangerous place; overrun with spies, deserters, and villains of all kinds. Thomas, Maggie, and the entire MacKinlay clan (many of whom readers will remember from previous books) must do things they never thought themselves capable of  doing in order to survive.

This is a rousing end to a wonderful trilogy, and fans of novels such as Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series will be particularly delighted with the romance, time travel, and adventure surrounding the intrepid Maggie and handsome Thomas.

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


Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Henderson, Historical, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Sain, Leanna

Maureen Crane Wartski. Yuri’s Brush with Magic. Durham, NC: Sleepy Hollow Books, 2010.

“Mean” Yuri Hamada is a family legend. When Nana married an American, her sister Yuri refused to reply to her letters and never spoke to her again, or at least that’s what everyone thinks. So when “Mean” Yuri surprises the family and rents a cottage on the Outer Banks, living with Yuri for the summer is the very last thing Tammy and her brother Ken want. Unfortunately they have no choice: their mother, the victim of a terrible accident, is in the hospital and their father thinks it would be better for them to get away for awhile, even if it means living with “Mean” Yuri. Protesting, the youngsters are bundled off to the North Carolina shore, where they decide to be as terrible as possible in order to convince Yuri to send them back to Raleigh. But it doesn’t work. Yuri’s magical painting abilities entrance the children, as does her storytelling. Tammy and Ken begin to understand more about their Hamada roots, and even “Mean” Yuri. Their terrible summer trapped with an evil woman turns into one they will remember forever, bringing with it both difficult and liberating life lessons about self-reliance and the power of the heart. Filled with compelling characters, Japanese lore, and baby sea turtles, Yuri’s Brush with Magic will keep young readers and parents alike as enthralled as if Yuri were reading it aloud herself, for Maureen Wartski’s beautiful prose lingers in the mind long after the tale is done.

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


Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Piedmont, Wake, Wartski, Maureen Crane