Tag Archives: Adoption

Péron Long. The First Person. Deer Park, NY: Urban Renaissance, 2010.

T’Shobi Wells is an up-and-coming gospel star who has just moved to Charlotte, North Carolina from his childhood home of Atlanta. Running from a dark childhood filled with abuse and molestation from adults who should have been there to protect him, he has tried to move on with his life, but keeps getting caught in bad situations. At the moment, he’s currently involved in a torrid affair with two people: one is the wife of his pastor…and the other is the pastor himself. Justine and Seth Reynolds have no idea that T’Shobi is fooling around with both of them, and T’Shobi plans to keep it that way. But Tanisha Jackson, an innocent young woman with a serious crush on the charismatic and talented T’Shobi, might ruin everything.

Tanisha truly believes that what God wants most is for her to make T’Shobi see that she’s the one for him, but as he continually pushes her away, the impressionable young woman slowly loses herself. The sweet Tanisha vanishes, replaced by her alter-ego TiTi: a violent, sexually deviant young woman who will go to any length to make sure T’Shobi is punished for ignoring her. In this dark, gritty urban drama, the reader is witness to the psychological and physical damage that human beings are capable of visiting on themselves and others in their intimate relationships.

This book is not recommended for young readers.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Long, Péron, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Urban Fiction

Mary Kay Andrews. Spring Fever. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2012

The town of Passcoe, North Carolina is a rather unremarkable hamlet in the Piedmont, but it does have one claim to fame: it’s the birthplace of a unique, cherry-flavored beverage known as Quixie. Since 1922, Quixie, run by the wealthy Bayless family, has been the center of Passcoe’s economy. Everyone works for Quixie, but Annajane Hudgens thinks it’s time to move on. Annajane is closer to Quixie than most– in addition to drinking it for her entire life and working at the company for years, she used to be married to Mason Bayless, the Quixie family’s favorite son and current CEO. But now Mason is getting remarried, and Annajane is taking it harder than she thought she would. Strangely so, since she’s also engaged to someone else. But Mason’s fiancée is the bubbly, petite Celia Wakefield, and something about that woman leaves an queasy feeling in Annajane’s stomach.

This sensation almost leads to Annajane to interrupt her ex-husband’s nuptials, but incredibly, the wedding falls apart on its own. Suddenly Annajane and Mason both have more time to grapple with their leftover feelings for one another. It doesn’t take much for anyone who knows him to see that as much as Annajane isn’t over Mason, Mason isn’t over Annajane either. But Celia is a force to be reckoned with, and her claws are firmly embedded in Mason, the Bayless family fortune, and the Quixie company. Is Annajane willing to fight for her man? And will she be able to handle the secrets the battle will uncover?

Mary Kay Andrews’ latest novel is perfect to bring to the beach and enjoy with a cold can of Cheerwine.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Andrews, Mary Kay, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

C. Leah Wetherby. The Cherokee Star. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007.

Three months ago, Celine lost her beloved adoptive parents in a terrible car accident. Now that the estate is finally settled, she lets her best friend Irene convince her to take a small vacation. Together, the friends plan a trip to North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains. Full of excitement, they head out with their partners Mark and Marsh for some relaxing fishing, camping, and swimming. But Celine, known to her friends as “C”, will find little rest on this fateful vacation.

Celine’s parents found her at the age of four, traumatized and sitting in a canoe on the Oconaluftee River just outside of Cherokee, North Carolina. They brought her immediately to the Sheriff’s Department in Birdtown (a small township in the Qualla Boundary) and eventually adopted her there. Incredibly, Celine and her friends have ended up camping on the outskirts of Birdtown, and the twice-orphaned young woman decides that now is the perfect time to look into her past. The recurring nightmares she thought she had banished as a child have returned with a vengeance since her parents’ deaths, and Celine is beginning to think that it might not be just a result of grief and stress.

This suspicion that the past is returning to haunt her strengthens when strange things begin to happen: Celine and her friends have the sense of being watched, animals are behaving oddly (a hawk follows Celine, appearing to guard her from danger), and a Cherokee called Tracker shows up in their midst. Will Celine ever discover her true identity? And what if finding her heritage means that she will lose it all once more?

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

 

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Mountains, Mystery, Swain, Wetherby, C. Leah

E. R. Herring. Goshen’s Watch. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2010.

Jaysie Curtis and her husband Kayle lead a quiet life in Traverstown, a fictional hamlet in North Carolina’s Piedmont region. Bordered by a marsh known as Goshen’s Swamp, the town has remained a sleepy backwater in spite of encroaching developments and highways. In fact, when the town attempted to build a major thoroughfare through the swamp, the project failed within a matter of days, and most troubling of all, the entire road crew disappeared.

They aren’t the only ones. Lately, strange disappearances have become the norm in Traverstown. If someone lives in a reckless way, endangers other members of the community, or is just plain mean, he or she will vanish without a trace. As time goes on, some people even claim to see these wicked individuals disappearing in clouds of acidic steam. Community elders declare that “Goshen is angry,” and it certainly feels as though something supernatural is afoot. But what kind of force is ridding Traverstown of unsavory individuals? Is this entity out for justice … or blood? Jaysie’s voice guides us through this spooky tale, but at times it feels as though the narrative takes on the unsettling perspective of whatever resides in Goshen’s Swamp itself.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Herring, E. R., Horror, Mystery, Piedmont

F. Paul Wilson. Reprisal: A Novel of the Adversary Cycle. New York: Tor, 2011.

F. Paul Wilson’s Adversary Cycle, originally published between 1981 and 1992, has been updated by the author and is now enjoying a revival. The series begins in 1941, when an incomprehensible evil whom we come to know as the Adversary is released among a group of Nazis in the Romanian wilderness. Over the course of the next four novels a wide cast of characters develops, all of whom are affected by this evil, either joining the fight against it, or falling to its dark power throughout the course of the 20th century. Reprisal, the fifth novel in this horror series, sees the Adversary rise again to seek revenge against those who tried to vanquish him in times past. The sixth and final novel of the series, Nightworld, is due to be republished in 2012.

Will Ryerson of Pendleton, North Carolina, is in reality Bill Ryan, a defrocked Jesuit priest from New York City. Years ago, a horrifying murder caused him to flee Manhattan and go into hiding in the small college town of Pendleton. Although reclusive, he has developed a good life for himself as a groundsman at Darnell University. Will reads Kierkegaard and Camus, performs small repairs and maintenance, and stays as far away from telephones as he can. If Will gets too close, the continuous ringing starts, followed by a terrified child’s screaming voice. Ryerson’s sole friend and companion is Lisl, a young, insecure assistant professor in the math department. But when she is seduced by the strangely magnetic Rafe, a graduate student in psychology, Will becomes concerned. Meanwhile, Sergeant Augustino of the NYPD thinks he has a lead on a long-missing child molester, and will stop at nothing to bring him to justice.

A complicated web of horror, seduction, and betrayal, Reprisal is a gripping glimpse into the mind of the ultimate evil in the tradition of The Exorcist.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Horror, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Wilson, F. Paul

Charles Frazier. Nightwoods. New York: Random House, 2011.

When Luce is appointed guardian for her dead sister Lilly’s young twins, her reclusive life in the back woods of a small mountain town changes forever. Frank and Dolores are not like other children. Witnesses to their mother’s murder at the hands of her abusive boyfriend Bud, their short past holds trauma and darkness that few will ever experience. But Luce has, and while she will never be able to shower them with expressions of motherly love, she comes to understand them better than anyone else ever could. When they kill her roosters, light various items on fire, and refuse to speak, she teaches instead of punishing. By taking them on long rambles in the foothills, Luce endeavors to instill in the twins the great healing interacting with the natural world has provided her. She doesn’t use force or lecture them, just allowing the simple lessons of observation and wonder to sink in.

Bud is an unsuccessful, small-time criminal, embarrassed that he has to rely on his girlfriend Lilly for support. When he unexpectedly successfully steals ten thousand dollars, the situation only gets worse: Lilly hides his money before he can drink it all away. Incensed, Bud’s behavior becomes more and more violent, until one day Lilly catches him in a monstrous act involving her twin children. She tries to kill him on the spot, but Bud murders her instead. Since the only witnesses were her kids, whom Bud is convinced are retarded since they refuse to speak, shaking the charges is a snap. The real problem is that he never found out where Lilly hid his money, but a sudden brainstorm convinces him that it must be with those kids and their aunt, Lilly’s sister Luce. So he sets out to the mountains to get back his cash, and to ensure that no one will ever be able to accuse him of Lilly’s murder.

Frazier’s third novel is a linguistic feast, combining a suspenseful plot and deep insight into the nature of love, revenge, and survival. It becomes apparent that the land, particularly the forest, is a character in this tale just as much as the men and women are, and its all-encompassing presence fills this satisfying read to the brim.

Nightwoods was the winner of the 2012 Sir Walter Raleigh Award.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Frazier, Charles, Historical, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Eileen Clymer Schwab. Shadow of a Quarter Moon. New York: New American Library, 2011.

“Jacy Lane, you are nothing more than a foolish quarter moon!” While Jacy is the pride and joy of her father, the wealthy plantation owner Mr. Bradford Lane, she is often the subject of her mother Claudia’s anger. Raised to be a fine southern lady in northeastern North Carolina, Jacy has enjoyed a comfortable existence marred only by her mother’s inexplicable bouts of rage. But her mostly happy life comes to an abrupt halt, first when a cruel landowner foists his ungentlemanly attentions on her, and then when Bradford Lane dies suddenly. When Jacy refuses to submit to the fate her mother Claudia has planned, the woman finally reveals the reason for her ill-treatment of Jacy: Jacy is the illegitimate child of Bradford and his true love, a half-white, half-black house slave. When the young Jacy heard her mother call her a “quarter moon”, she was really saying “quadroon”- a term for a person who is only three-quarters white. Naturally fair-skinned and kept paler with wide-brimmed sun hats, no one, not even Jacy, had guessed her true parentage.

Stunned by this revelation, Jacy begins a transformation. Galvanized by the further discovery that her birth mother and full brother are still enslaved on the plantation, she decides to deliver them, and the handsome horse trainer Rafe, to freedom. It is only when the three are safely away that Jacy realizes her true home is with them, no matter where they are or the color of their skin. Abandoning the relative safety of the plantation, Jacy strikes out to follow her family through the Underground Railroad to the north, true love, and acceptance of her own identity. Along the way she encounters great danger, temporary defeat, and the worst kind of human indecency, but ultimately emerges as a triumphant, strong woman with the ability to look her fears in the eye.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Camden, Coastal Plain, Gates, Historical, Pasquotank, Romance/Relationship, Schwab, Eileen Clymer

John Hart. Iron House. New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books, 2011.

Michael knows how to kill, possibly better than anyone else alive. He dispatches his victims without emotion or drama, a virtue that makes him nearly invisible in New York City. He is the Old Man’s silent, deadly shadow. But before New York and the Old Man, there was Iron House.

A lifetime ago, he was a small but strong boy who protected his weaker, younger brother Julian at the Iron House Home for Boys in the Smoky Mountains. But one day something horrible happened, and 10-year-old Michael became a fugitive, fleeing into the snowy wilds of a North Carolina winter. He never saw his brother again, and just as he ran from Iron House, Michael also runs from his past. He is content to kill the dishonest and criminal, to be the Old Man’s strong right arm, to leave the boy he once was at Iron Mountain…until he meets Elena.

Carmen Elena Del Portal is more than just a woman; Michael suddenly finds that she is his whole life. When she finds herself pregnant, he knows he has to start over one more time. But the New York underworld won’t give him up so easily. The Old Man may wish for Michael to find a good life with a wonderful woman, but his henchmen are a different story. In no time Michael is on the run again, back to North Carolina and the brother whose existence he tried to protect by denying it. But if he thinks that life is simpler outside the Big Apple, he’s wrong. Dead wrong.

John Hart writes lovely prose, filled with a complicated cast of mobsters, lost boys, corrupt politicians, beautiful but mysterious ladies, and witches. Iron House looms over it all, a stark presence of which Michael, for all his running, may never be free. For an immensely entertaining, complex thriller, try Iron House!

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Chatham, Hart, John, Madison, Mountains, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Diane Chamberlain. The Midwife’s Confession. Don Mills, Ontario: MIRA, 2011.

Thus far 2010 has been a difficult year for Tara Vincent and Emerson Stiles. First, Tara’s husband, Sam, dies in a car accident; then their best friend, a local midwife named Noelle Downie, inexplicably commits suicide. Sam, Noelle, Tara, and Emerson have been best friends since attending UNC Wilmington together in the 1970s, so the double loss is especially hard. The Noelle who Tara and Emerson knew was an ethical, passionate human being devoted to her work; she had no secrets, especially from them. But it appears they didn’t know the real Noelle, something that becomes uncomfortably evident as her private papers reveal more and more about her life, her family, and a horrifying mistake that may have led to her mental destruction.

The shocking revelations pile up, but what hurts Tara even more is the gaping distance growing between her and her daughter, sixteen-year-old Grace. Quiet, dark Grace was especially close to her father, as different from the blonde and outgoing Tara as night is from day. Tara loves her daughter desperately, but she feels helpless to repair their foundering relationship. She envies Emerson’s easy, close bond with her daughter (and Grace’s best friend), Jenny. But Noelle’s secrets will spiral wide to include both mothers and daughters, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Diane Chamberlain presents a heartfelt, intriguing novel about familial relationships: both those we construct through friendships, and those we are born into. No matter how close we are, we never truly know those we love as well as we might think. Written from multiple first-person viewpoints, Chamberlain tells the tales of Noelle, Grace, Tara, and Emerson across fifty years, flowing effortlessly between the past and present. This is an excellent beach read, book club novel, or for any time.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, Mystery, New Hanover, Robeson, Romance/Relationship

Dixie Land. Grave Secrets. Kernersville, NC: Alabaster Books, 2008.

Susan Slade grew up feeling secure and loved.  Her parents were attentive and supportive, and Susan had a close relationship with her Aunt Lois and a foster sister, Krystal.  Wes Marshall had been Susan’s boyfriend since high school, and the two seem headed toward marriage.

As Grave Secrets opens, all that is unraveling.  Susan’s father has been dead a year, and her mother has just died.  Susan is beginning to have the same nightmare she had when she was a young girl, a nightmare in which she is a little child, cold and alone in a dark, small space.  Seeking solace, Susan returns to her parents’ house.  There she finds documents that seem to indicate that she was informally adopted–possible bought–by the people she always thought were her parents.  Susan’s first impulse is to ask Aunt Lois what she knows, but when Aunt Lois commits suicide and then Krystal takes a drug overdose, Susan realizes that she must solve this mystery on her own.  Her quest for the truth has consequences for her relationships with Wes and Krystal, but by the end of the novel most of the characters are at peace with the past and ready for a brighter future.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Coast, Land, Dixie, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller