John Ehle. Kingstree Island. New York: William Morrow, 1959.

Matt Tomlinson came to Kingstree Island decades ago.  He had little, but he was good with money and he had an eye for opportunities.  He began as a shopkeeper, but he quickly expanded, buying fishing boats and the debts of local fishermen.  With his business sense and his drive, he came to own the fishing fleet, the ice house, the power plant, and a controlling interest in the island’s only hotel.  He is the big man on this remote island, and he is used to having the locals defer to his wishes.

But Tomlinson is uneasy.  He has lost his eyesight and he knows the years will continue to diminish him.  When Brandon Rhodes arrives on the island, Tomlinson senses the presence of someone like his younger self.  After his initial attempt to force Rhodes off the island fails and Rhodes attracts the interest of a few independent-minded islanders and the attractive Marsha Harris, Tomlinson vows to crush the interloper.  The struggle between the two men plays out in this isolated community among people who must bend to the weather but who come to realize that they don’t need to bend to the will of one man.

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

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Filed under 1950-1959, 1959, Coast, Dare, Ehle, John

Janice Maynard. A Baby for Keeps. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

babyIs it true that most of us are still haunted by our high school years?   That’s certainly the case for Dylan Kavanaugh.  Although Dylan was a good-looking athlete from a prominent family, his memories of  his high school years are mixed.  Dylan is dyslexic; reading was a struggle for him, a struggle he hid from his friends, if not his teachers.  Knowing the seriousness of his disability, the school got him a tutor.  Mia Larin was two years younger than Dylan, but she was off-the-charts bright and a quiet, patient person who helped Dylan through many assignments, including his memorable take on Romeo and Juliet. Dylan still cringes when he thinks how he treated Mia.

Imagine Dylan’s surprise when Mia shows up back in their hometown–with a baby but no husband.  In the years since high school, Mia went on to get two doctoral degrees.  She was working as a medical researcher in the Research Triangle of North Carolina when she heard her biological clock ticking.  With no man in her life and a job that she thought was secure, Mia decided to have a child through artificial insemination.  Now she has lovely little Cora, but the funding for her lab dried up, and she is close to broke.  She has come back to the little mountain town of Silver Glen to regroup.

Once Dylan learns about Mia’s situation, he springs into action.  He sees helping her–with a job and a place to stay–as a way to ease his conscience over how he treated her in high school.  But Mia’s not the shy, young nerd she was in high school.  She has her pride–and she has quite a nice figure.  Mia had a crush on Dylan in high school, a crush that he never noticed.  Now, as grownups there is a mutual attraction, but should they act on it?  This being a romance, they do, but that’s not the end of it.  Self-images formed in high school, professional setbacks and opportunities, and Dylan’s fear of fatherhood make a long road to happily-ever-after.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Maynard, Janice, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

E. C. Hanes. Billy Bowater. Winston-Salem, NC: Rane Coat Press, 2014.

billyIt’s 1990 and an art exhibit on a college campus provides just the kind of issue that Senator Wiley Hoots’s campaign staff wants.  Hoots is the senior senator from North Carolina.  He’s a conservative true believer and a rough campaigner.  Seniority has put Hoots in line to head the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  This fits with Hoots’s recent view of himself as a senior statesman, but clout in foreign affairs is not enough to turn out the voters, or to get the flood of small donations that have always floated the senator’s campaigns.  No, the campaign needs an issue that will make voters mad and scared, something that will get them talking to their friends, yelling at the TV, and writing checks to the senator’s campaign committee. The senator’s daughter provides the issue when she writes to her father to complain about an exhibit on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.  Photos of naked girls embracing, a painting showing public urination, and so many other examples of bad taste and moral chaos!  At a public university–and paid for with tax dollars.  Bingo! A campaign issue is born.

The late Senator Jesse Helms’s crusade against the National Endowment for the Arts is clearly the inspiration for this plot, but the novel doesn’t focus on the senator.  Rather, we see the campaign–all the scheming, in-fighting, spinning, and collateral damage–through the eyes of the senator’s chief administrative assistant, Billy Bowater.  Billy, a member of an esteemed eastern North Carolina family, has been with Senator Hoots for five years.  His father, a politically connected lawyer, got the placement for Billy when Billy’s drinking and boredom with small town lawyering threatened the family’s reputation.  Billy has thrived in Washington–the bright lights, the intrigue, the nearness to power thrill him.  That thrill allows him to ignore his dislike for the senator, his politics, and the other members of the senator’s team.  Billy’s true feelings bubble up from time to time, especially when he is with Lucy Sue Tribble, a reporter for the Raleigh paper.  Readers follow Billy as the campaign swings into high gear.  This likely won’t be the senator’s last campaign, but will it be Billy’s?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coastal Plain, Hanes, E. C., Piedmont

Carla Cassidy. Her Secret, His Duty. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

hersecret,hisdutyThat can’t be! Debra Prentice can’t be pregnant, but thinking back six weeks ago to that passionate one night stand proves that she can. Debra has no intentions of giving her baby up; she’ll just have to keep the baby’s father a secret forever. Because, even though Debra has had a crush on the man for years, she knows that she isn’t right for him – that she isn’t the kind of woman that a man of his standing needs beside him. As the product of an affair between a married man and a drunk, Debra’s background is not one that could boost Trey Winston up the political ladder that he is seeking to climb in Raleigh, North Carolina. Not to mention that he is her boss’s son.

Trey Winston has just announced to his family that he is planning on running for United States Senate. Everyone knows he has it in him, as he is the product of a political family. Trey’s father was a politician up until the day he died, and his mother still is one. Kate Winston, Trey’s mother, has served as an ambassador to France and was also the first female vice president. With a legacy like that, Trey can win this race. Of course, he would appeal to voters more if he was married. Trey has the perfect candidate in mind to be his wife, Cecily McKenna. Cecily comes from old money and has everything it takes to be the perfect politician’s wife – including the ability to set aside her emotions. Everyone expects that Trey will propose to Cecily very soon in order to cement his candidacy. The only problem is that Trey can’t get his mind off of Debra. Trey hasn’t even touched Cecily since the night with Debra that is forever burned into his mind.

When Kate Winston, Debra’s boss, asks Debra to help Trey with his announcement gala, the two will have to spend a lot of time together. Seeing how much Trey is invested in running for the Senate, Debra’s determination to keep the father of her baby a secret only grows. However, the more time Trey spends with Debra, the more he realizes that he can’t marry Cecily because he is in love with Debra. After attacks on Debra’s life, Trey resolves to keep her safe–but is he only putting her in more danger?

Her Secret, His Duty is the first novel in The Adair Legacy series. This series is the tale of a family steeped in politics, and how love can help to heal all wounds.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Cassidy, Carla, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Wake

Tyora Moody. When Perfection Fails. Wyandanch, NY: Urban Fiction, 2014.

whenperfectionReverend Jonathan Freeman and his wife Lenora have been married for twenty years and they are the couple that other couples look up to in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lenora owns her own bridal shop where she plans extravagant weddings and provides the wedding dresses. Her husband Jonathan is just as successful, and has recently became the pastor of Victory Gospel Church. Victory Gospel Church was his father’s church and is one of the premier black churches in Charlotte. With the passing of the elder Reverend Freeman, Jonathan has inherited the church and responsibilities that come along with being the pastor of a prominent church family. However, there is even more greatness in store for Jonathan. The mayor has asked that Jonathan run for Charlotte City Council District 2 seat. The lives these two lead seem like ones to envy, but outsiders don’t get to see the turmoil that takes place behind closed doors.

Jonathan is struggling with his new role as pastor of a “mega-church,” and whether to take the mayor up on running for the city council seat. He hasn’t even brought it up with Lenora yet as he knows that she is busy adjusting to becoming the first lady of such a big church. Jonathan just doesn’t know if his marriage will be able withstand an entrance into politics. When Lenora learns of Jonathan’s political aspirations from another source, will she stand by his side as their family is pulled even more into the spotlight?

Lenora is dealing with her own secret – a secret that has been buried for decades. Lenora feels the strain that her marriage has taken and knows that revealing this secret will only place more burdens upon her relationship with her husband. Nevertheless, when faced with the reality that keeping this secret is threatening her life and her family, Lenora knows she must come clean in order to protect the man she has loved for years and the blessed life that God has given her. Will Lenora’s revelation cause more harm to her family and her relationship with her husband than keeping the secret? Is Jonathan willing to stand with Lenora just as he constantly requires her to stand with him?

When Perfection Fails is the third novel in the Victory Gospel Series. If you are new to the series, check out our blog post on the first novel, When Rain Falls.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Mecklenburg, Moody, Tyora, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational

Chalmers G. Davidson. Cloud over Catwaba. Charlotte, NC: Mecklenburg Historical Society, 1949.

In the Catawba Valley of North Carolina in 1815, a girl of sixteen is old enough to marry, and Priscilla Brevard would be a catch for any man.  Priscilla’s father, Colonel Jonathan Brevard is a wealthy foundry owner in Lincoln County.  Her mother’s people are solid, God-fearing Presbyterians, and they all are longtime members of the local church where plain living and high thinking are the norm.  But Priscilla is just back from school in Charleston, South Carolina.  There she learned French, studied literature, and developed a taste for finer things. The fancy churches and casual attitude toward religion of her schoolmates shocked her, but in truth, Priscilla herself lacks the religious convictions of her family and neighbors.

When confronted with the choice of marrying a talented young preacher or a planter who will build her a beautiful house in nearby Mecklenburg County, Priscilla chooses the planter.  Alexander McIntosh is the son of a successful planter. When he turned twenty one, his father gave him land and slaves, but Alec’s oversight of his holdings has been perfunctory.  He didn’t feel a desire to work, to drive himself, until he gave himself to Priscilla.  She is his goddess and he will build her a temple to match her perfection.  The mansion, “Priscilla’s Price,”  is soon widely recognized as the most elegant, distinctive house in the valley.  But that is not necessarily a good thing among people who value frugality and piety.  As the years go by, Priscilla as cause to reconsider her fateful decision.

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

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1949, Davidson, Chalmers G., Historical, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Piedmont

Sandra Balzo. Hit and Run. Sutton, England: Severn House Publishers, 2014.

hit&runJournalist AnnaLise Griggs returned home to the fictional town of Sutherton, North Carolina because her mother was struggling with health issues. AnnaLise didn’t expect to get an offer from the town’s “legendary womanizer,” Dickens Hart, to write his memoirs. Even more unexpected was the discovery that Hart is AnnaLise’s biological father.

Dickens Hart is the founder of the White Tail Lodge – a knockoff of the playboy mansion concept. After years spent womanizing, Hart is out to make amends and needs AnnaLise’s help in order to do so. Hart wants AnnaLise to look through his “big black book” and find all the women that he could have had children with through the years, so that Hart can reach out to them. His plan is to have a big Thanksgiving dinner with the mothers and their offspring, AnnaLise included. For her part, AnnaLise will bring her mother Daisy and her mother’s best friend Philomena, affectionately known as Mama, with her. All of the guests will be staying at Hart’s manor.

Out of Hart’s black book come sixty-three possibilities. From these sixty-three possibilities, only three agree to attend along with their offspring. When a fourth shows up, it is clear that Hart decided to include one of his favorite old flames, even though he couldn’t be the father of her child. With the inclusion of ex-wives for good measure, this is sure to be a drama-filled weekend.

Hart ends up being the center of all the action–but probably not in the way he expected–when he becomes the victim of a homicide in his own bedroom. A house filled with people who aren’t sad to see Hart go, and many of them with reasonable cause to have killed the man, provides the police with a multitude of suspects. However, it is soon clear that the evidence is piling up to point at AnnaLise, the only acknowledged heir. Knowing that she did not kill her father, AnnaLise must work fast to solve the case before she ends up paying for a crime she didn’t commit.

Hit and Run is the newest title in the Main Street Mystery series. This series features the journalist AnnaLise Griggs, playing up the ability of journalists to sniff out the facts and discover the truth before all others.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Balzo, Sandra, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Janice Maynard. A Not-So-Innocent Seduction. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

not-so-innocent“Being human is to be lonely. It’s a rare gift in life to find the person that completes you.”

When Zoe Chamberlain’s VW bus, Bessie, breaks down in Silver Glen, North Carolina, Zoe takes it as a sign that it’s time to kick back for a while. Zoe is constantly on the road and has spent many nights sleeping in Bessie, so booking a room at the Silver Beeches Lodge for six weeks straight is a huge indulgence. The most Zoe expected was to enjoy pampering at the lodge and to have time to explore the beautiful town of Silver Glen. Zoe gets much more than she bargained for in the form of one of the owners of the Silver Beeches Lodge, Liam Kavanagh. Life on the road can get really lonely, and there might be more to explore here than just the town.

Liam Kavanagh has lived in Silver Glen all of his life – his ancestors actually helped to build the town. Since the death of his father, while Liam was still a teenager, Liam has shouldered his family, including his mother, a multitude of siblings, and the family business, the Silver Beeches Lodge. Liam loves his job and the fact that he has loads of family right down the road, but there just has to be something more. Then Zoe Chamberlain walks into the doors of the lodge and takes his breath away. Liam knows he just has to get to know her, but that’s easier planned than accomplished.

Liam is a handsome man and Zoe is interested. The two of them start to spend time together, but where Liam shares himself with Zoe, she continues to hold back. Now, Liam knows how secrets and the pull of mystery can lead to devastation–he witnessed it with his father. So, how can he be falling in love with Zoe when he doesn’t believe he can trust her? Zoe is enjoying her time in Silver Glen and the man she’s spending time with, but the problem is that time runs out. It is only a matter of time before she’s discovered and has to move on, but how can she leave the place and the man that are just beginning to feel like home?

A Not-So-Innocent Seduction is the first novel in The Kavanaghs of Silver Glen series. The second novel in the series is Baby for Keeps; it tells the tale of Dylan Kavanagh, who plays a part in helping his big brother Liam take a chance on his love for Zoe.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Maynard, Janice, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Emilie Richards. Somewhere between Luck and Trust. Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2013.

somewherebetweenluckandtrustCristy Haviland has just finished serving eight months in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. While in prison, she gave birth to the son of the man who put her there. Now that Cristy is out she plans to avoid her hometown and her ex, Jackson Ford. An instructor of one of the classes Cristy attended while in the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, Samantha Ferguson, has offered Cristy a place to stay in Madison County so she can be close to her son, who is staying nearby with one of Cristy’s cousins. Samantha is a part of a group of women, Goddesses Anonymous, which reaches out to help women who need it. Cristy has a place to stay, but she also has some tough work ahead of her. First she needs to find a job.

However, there might be a problem. Cristy is smart, but she has a learning disability which has kept her from learning to read. When Samantha’s mother, Georgia, offers to help Cristy learn how to read, Cristy just doesn’t know if she has what it takes. Also, Jackson is back in the picture. He’s showing up at the house and around the neighborhood, making sure Cristy knows he has her eye on her and their son. It’s more than just the pregnancy that had Jackson rattled, and Christy may know more of Jackson’s secrets than she realizes. Just as puzzling is the fact that Officer Jim Sullivan, the man who arrested Cristy, is showing up and now seems to believe Cristy is innocent.

Georgia Ferguson is the principal at Buncombe County Alternative School, where they take on the job of educating students that have not succeeded elsewhere. Georgia is impressed when Lucas Ramsey, a neighbor of one of her students, comes in to get involved with activities that may help this student to take his education seriously. When Lucas asks Georgia out she gladly accepts, and the two are soon on their way into developing a serious relationship. Georgia is also developing a friendship with Cristy as she diagnoses Cristy with dyslexia and works to teach her how to read. These two relationships are becoming important to Georgia. However, there is a part of Georgia’s past, which she doesn’t like to share, and it is about to rear its head. A mysterious charm bracelet has been discovered in Georgia’s office, and the charms are leading Georgia towards searching out her birth mother, who abandoned Georgia at birth.

Cristy and Georgia are both facing tough decisions. Will Cristy reveal what she knows about Jackson to the authorities, or keep her mouth shut in the hopes that he will let her alone? Is Georgia going to search out her birth mother, a woman who left an infant to die? These two women also have new men in their lives. Is Officer Jim ever going to admit that Cristy is innocent, and is that attraction to her that Cristy sees in his eyes? Will Lucas stick around when he discovers that Georgia’s own mother discarded her?

Somewhere between Luck and Trust is the second book in the Goddesses Anonymous series – this installment is a tale of justice, duty, and love.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Buncombe, Madison, Mountains, Novels in Series, Richards, Emilie, Romance/Relationship

Stephanie Tyler. Vipers Run. New York: Signet Eclipse, 2014.

vipersrunCalla Benson works in the office of a private investigator named Bernie. When Calla’s grandmother died last year, Calla was supposed to inherit her grandmother’s money and the bar that she owned. However, Calla’s half-brother, Ned, got to the money and the bar first. Ned used their grandmother’s debit card to get to her money and forged Calla’s signature on the bar deed in order to sell it. After turning to Bernie for help finding her brother, Calla ended up working in the PI’s office. Calla may handle the office for Bernie, but his cell phone is where the most important calls come in and it is usually with him. When Bernie’s cell is left in the office and won’t stop ringing, Calla can’t help but answer – not knowing that this one call will change her life forever.

Christian Cage Owens is a former Army Ranger and also a member of the Vipers Motorcycle Club in the fictitious town of Skulls Creek, North Carolina. Cage was born into the motorcycle club life, but he was born into the Heathens Motorcycle Club. Escaping as a teenager from this corrupt club, Cage didn’t know anything but MC life and so he turned to Preacher, the leader of the Vipers. The Heathens have had it out for the Vipers ever since Cage turned on them. To protect his brother Vipers, Cage has searched out the Heathens’ secrets. Cage gathered evidence that can bring down the Heathens MC, but they found him before he had the chance to pass on the information. Cage uses his dying breath to call his Army-buddy- turned-PI, Bernie, who will know what to do with the information. Cage is surprised when Calla answers but gives her the information, ultimately endangering her life. Nevertheless, Calla provides Cage with a reason to fight for his life.

Left with Cage’s promise to find her, Calla goes on the run and ends up in the house of another friend of Cage and Bernie’s. Calla is mourning the death of a man that she never even met face-to-face, when that same man appears ready to make good on his promise. Neither can deny the connection that was forged between them, nor the passion that they share for one another.

Vipers Run is the first novel in the new Skull Creek series. This book is a romantic suspense in which the two characters will have to face the demons in their past. Calla may not be as naïve as she appears, but is she ready for the MC world? Cage has kept his promise so far, but will he look at Calla the same after learning the details of a fun college night turned nightmare?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller, Van Loon, Elizabeth