Tag Archives: Cancer

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

Sarah Martin Byrd. Guardian Spirit. Athens, OH: Lucky Press, 2011.

Survival for Millie and her two young children, Sadie and Sammy, requires thoughtful planning, strong willpower, and magic. When Millie finally musters the courage to leave her abusive husband, Brad, in Texas and to hide in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, she knows that she is walking into a world of uncertainty. Brad is likely to look for her with a vengeance, so Millie must distrust most people. The medication she needs for her cancer treatment makes using aliases impossible. Finally, nearly a quarter century has passed since she saw her beloved grandmother, Ann. Is she still alive? Will she want to see her long-lost granddaughter? Will contacting Ann put her life in danger?

As Millie, Sadie, and Sam make a cozy home in Ann’s abandoned cabin, Millie introduces her children to the nature of the mountains. Life goes well until Brad begins to hunt for his family and locates Ann.  The family appears to be in jeopardy, and it would be if it were not for Millie’s new doctor, Dr. Townsend. He has been having strange visions of the family, and his elderly Cherokee grandmother tells him about links between the Trail of Tears and Millie’s family’s ordeal. Dr. Townsend and his grandmother are with Millie, Ann, and the children when Brad finds them, and they protect them. When Sadie and Sammy witness their father’s inexplicable disappearance, they realize that their mother was right: there is magic in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Byrd, Sarah Martin, Children & Young Adults, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Suspense/Thriller

Sandra Z. Bruney. Angels Unaware. Columbia, MD: Draumr Publishing, 2010.

At Christmas Kat Knightly saw a reflection of herself and her husband, Jordan, in a mirror and thought to herself that they were a handsome couple in the prime of life.  By summer that all has changed.  A cancer diagnosis sends Kate down a path of surgeries and chemotherapy–treatment that leaves her bruised, scarred, and bald.  Jordan finds Kat’s illness an annoyance–her medical appointment take him away from his business, and Kat is not able to fix his meals and entertain his clients as she had done–and Jordan is not comfortable around illness. Instead of standing with Kat in her time of need, Jordan leaves to open a new office in a town a few hours away. The novel follows Kat as she makes a new life for herself–living on her own, finding a job, deepening her relationship with her son, and finding true support and comfort with new friends.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Bruney, Sandra Z., Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Patricia Hickman. The Pirate Queen.Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2010.

Saphora Warren has had it.  Although her life looks good to outsiders–she has raised three children, she lives in a home that will soon be featured in Southern Living, and she is liked and admired in her community–Saphora’s sense of herself has been eroded by her husband’s selfishness and infidelities.  Deciding that she needs time to herself, Saphora packs a bag, planning to spend some time at her family’s beach house in Oriental, North Carolina.  But before Saphora can get out the door, her husband Bender comes home and announces that he has cancer.  Bender wants to spend his last days at the house in Oriental, and he wants his whole family to join him there.  Soon Sophora is playing nurse, hostess, mother, therapist, and match-maker to her extended family and to an assortment of people she meets in the town.  It’s almost too much, but Saphora finds her inner strength and closes out one life with grace even as a new life opens up for her.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Coast, Hickman, Patricia, Pamlico, Religious/Inspirational

Monique Truong. Bitter in the Mouth. New York: Random House, 2010.

All of her adult life, Linda Hammerick has been asked “what it was like to grow up being Asian in the South.” Linda, adopted at the age of six by a white couple in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, has always given the following response: “You mean what was it like to grow up looking Asian in the South.”

The dissolution of her engagement, a job demotion, and a bout with cancer were all events that Linda could deal with on her own, safely in her New York City brownstone. However, it is the sudden death of her beloved great-uncle, Harper, that brings Linda back to Boiling Springs as a thirty-year old, twelve years after leaving for college at Yale. On this visit, without the gentle, insightful perspective of Harper, Linda has to come to terms with her childhood–her strained relationship with her mother, DeAnne, her understanding of her synesthesia (a neurological condition that makes Linda associate tastes with words, like Lindamint and Jesusfriedchicken), and the circumstances of her adoption. Revisiting her memories of the different people and stages in her life, Linda finds that although there are no easy answers to the questions of her youth, exploring them helps her grow.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Cleveland, Piedmont, Truong, Monique

Gina Holmes. Crossing Oceans. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2010.

Jenny Lucas has a lot to do and not much time to do it. Six years ago Jenny left her small home town, pregnant with the child of a man who had moved on to a new love.  The pregnancy was the final blow to Jenny’s relationship with her dad, a man still reeling from the death of Jenny’s mom.  The diagnosis of metastatic melanoma forces Jenny to reconnect with her father and David, her daughter’s father. One of them will have to raise young Isabella because Jenny has just months to live.

Crossing Oceans follows Jenny on her difficult journey. Jenny stays focused on her goal of preparing a good future for Isabella, but Jenny is still subject to a range of emotions, including anger, jealousy, fear, and doubt.  The people in her life–her father, (grand)Mama Peg, David and his wife, David’s father, and Craig, a man who has carried a torch for Jenny–are flawed too, and one of the pleasures of this novel is the way that many of these characters get beyond the anger and pettiness that keep them from happiness.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Holmes, Gina, Religious/Inspirational

Lynne Hinton. Christmas Cake. New York: Avon, 2009.

Beatrice, Jessie, Louise, and Margaret are fixtures in the Hope Springs Community Church.  They are also best friends – the type, for example, who accompany each other to doctor’s appointments.  When Margaret’s cancer resurfaces, the heartbroken women react to it in different ways.  Beatrice thinks that a Christmas cake cookbook contest would be a good way for the women to deal with the news; after all, the Women’s Guild Cookbook is what brought them together years ago.  As the women busily construct this collection, Margaret decides that she needs to go to Texas to visit her mother’s grave.  Jessie wants the friends to take the journey together, and they set off on the cross-country expedition just before Christmas – in a “borrowed” (later reported stolen) funeral home van.  Once in Texas, they meet up with Charlotte, their former pastor who moved out west to run a battered women’s shelter and who is part of their “Forever Friends” group. Margaret is able to make peace before dying, and the women’s friendship grows stronger through the experience.

Christmas Cake is Lynn Hinton’s fourth book in her Hope Springs series.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Hinton, Lynne, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational

Lynne Hinton. Hope Springs. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002.

The sequel to Friendship Cake finds the women of the Hope Springs Community Church Women’s Guild at it again. Although their cookbook has been published, the group has become accustomed to getting together on a regular basis to talk about their lives – the joys as well as the concerns. The core group – Beatrice, Charlotte, Jessie, Louise, and Margaret – decide to continue meeting. As each woman faces new trials, including breast cancer, depression, and the possibility of moving across the country, they provide care and encouragement to each other. For example, upon hearing that one member may have to have chemotherapy, the other four shave their heads in solidarity. Through being there for each other during every crisis, the women of Hope Springs offer a true picture of friendship.

Hope Springs is Lynn Hinton’s second book in her Hope Springs series.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2002, Hinton, Lynne, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational

Nicholas Sparks. The Last Song. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2009.

Ronnie’s parents divorced when she was in middle school, and her dad left New York City and moved to the North Carolina coast.  It’s three years later, and Ronnie is still angry at her parents–especially her dad. Spending a summer with her father is the last thing that she wants to do, but Ronnie has no choice when her mother sends her and her younger brother Jonah to their dad’s home in Wrightsville Beach.

Ronnie’s been in trouble in New York, and when she falls in with a bad crowd in Wrightsville, it looks like more of the same.  Her dad’s response to her troubles helps to cool Ronnie’s anger.  Ronnie starts to appreciate her father, even as she also begins to fall in love with a local boy, Will.  But as Ronnie makes steps towards peace and happiness, there is a malevolent character who will block her path and something about her dad that she doesn’t yet know.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coast, New Hanover, Sparks, Nicholas

Joan Medlicott. From the Heart of Covington. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2002.

From the Heart of Covington continues the stories of Hannah, Amelia, and Grace, older ladies who share a house in the fictional town of Covington, NC. In this, the third book in the series, a close friend’s cancer impacts all of the women, but each has her own issues to contend with. Amelia furthers her photography career and takes a trip to New York. Grace volunteers at the local elementary school, deals with her son’s rocky relationship, and faces a diabetes diagnosis. Hannah is reunited with her estranged daughter and the younger woman, Laura, comes to live in Covington after she is seriously injured in a boating disaster.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2002, Medlicott, Joan, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places