Tag Archives: Civil War

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.

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

Eugenia Collier. Beyond the Crossroad. Baltimore, MD: Three Sistahs Press, 2009.

Caroline’s lifelong dream has been freedom. Born into slavery in the mountains of North Carolina, she witnessed the brutal deaths of her parents as they tried to flee their masters’ oppression. This event, traumatizing for the three year-old who was left for dead, deeply instilled in her the  conviction that she should be free.

Caroline was born into slavery, but the Emancipation Proclamation should have freed her as an adolescent. Some masters, however, refused to free their slaves, including the families that owned Caroline. With little knowledge of what the “gov’mint” was or what it did, slaves were unsure of their rights or how to escape bondage.

This story follows Caroline’s path to freedom. It highlights the sense of family she shared with Aunt Peggy, her rescuer and surrogate mother, and other slaves with whom she worked until she escaped slavery. Although her tale is mostly painful because of the mistreatment she endured, her determination to be free also makes it a story of hope.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Collier, Eugenia, Historical, Mountains

Kim Reynolds. Alex Charles: The Evening Oak. Plymouth, MI: HMSI Publishing, 2010.

Alexandra “Alex” Charles is at a crossroads in her life. Over the past eighteen months, she has wished many times for her parents’ guidance. After both perished in a tragic car accident when she was just sixteen, Alex was left with no family. Having just graduated from high school, she wonders if college is the right next step. Alex is trying to enjoy a carefree summer when a man contacts her claiming to be her long lost uncle. Although Alex is apprehensive about meeting the stranger, she is enticed by the idea that she might not be completely alone. She decides to meet Joseph Graham.

Alex immediately likes her Uncle Joe, but she must learn to trust him. Joe has some (almost) unbelievable information about her heritage: her family has the ability to travel through time. They see themselves as special angels who can go back in history seven times throughout their lives to right wrongs. Although her parents chose to live a normal life, Joe wants Alex to know her options.

As she gets to know her sole family member through his own stories of time travel, Alex realizes that this is the direction for which she has been yearning. She lets Joe introduce her to the family business, which includes teaching her how to research an event in history that she would like to change (nothing too big or too personal, so she cannot save her parents), and allowing Alex to view his own first experience in 1865 Bentonville, North Carolina. With this knowledge, Alex must choose which life to live.

Alex Charles: The Evening Oak is the first book in the “Alex Charles Book Series.”

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Johnston, New Hanover, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reynolds, Kim, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Wake

James Boyd. Marching On. New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1927.

James Boyd followed up the success of his Revolutionary War novel, Drums, with this novel, set during the 1860s.

James Fraser, a descendant of the hero of Drums, is the son of a small farmer with land along the Cape Fear River.  Even as he sees that the cards are stacked against small landowners like his family, James falls in love with Stewart Prevost, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner.  Frustrated in love and with his economic prospects, James goes to Wilmington.  Once the Civil War begins, James joins the Confederate army and becomes part of Stonewall Jackson’s army.  He is capture by the Yankees but is freed just as the tide of war turns in the North’s favor.  After making his way back home, he attempts to protect the Prevost plantation. In that he fails, but the war has both changed the Prevost family fortunes and their daughter’s opinion of James.

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

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Filed under 1920-1929, 1927, Boyd, James, Coastal Plain, Historical, New Hanover

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. Murder on the Cape Fear. Greensboro, NC: Magnolia Mysteries, 2007.

Since Ashley Wilkes works as an historic preservationist, it’s natural that stories from the past enter into Ashely’s present.  Ashley’s sister, Melanie, who is a high-end real estate agent, is more concerned with the present, although she knows the history of any house in the historic district that goes on the market.  Often their professional worlds collide and the sisters are forced to put their heads together to solve minor and not-so-minor crimes that occur in their beloved Wilmington.

This novel open with a bang.  The sister’s Aunt Ruby has recently married. Her new husband, retired history professor Benjamin (Binky) Higgins, is a respected researcher and writer on local history.  Binky has a new book out and the book signing at the Two Sister Bookery (an actual Wilmington bookstore) attracts a crowd. Only when the signing is over does Binky notice that his briefcase is missing.  Searching the store, Ashley finds the briefcase is a store room under the body of a man who has been stabbed.  That man is a wealthy Brit who was one of Melanie’s clients.  He had been looking to buy an historic house and Ashley hoped it would be the Captain Pettigrew house, a structure that Ashley and her partner Jon are restoring.

While the police investigate the murder, Binky has time to examine a journal that may be what the murderer was after.  Knowing that Binky has the journal, the murderer terrorizes Binky and Ruby.  Meanwhile Ashley and Melanie cope with a demanding client, suspicious police,  the structural–and other–surprises in the captain’s house, and Ashley’s soon-to-be-ex-husband, who wants one more chance.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Coast, Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

Marjorie Hill Allee. The Road to Carolina. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1932.

Tristram Coffin was just a young man looking for adventure when he left Indiana heading south to the Carolinas.  However his traveling companion, Uncle Tommy, is anything but lighthearted.  Old Tommy Pearson is a Quaker and a committed abolitionist.  All through Kentucky and Tennessee Uncle Tommy took his message straight onto plantations and into a a crossroads general store.  Uncle Tommy has been doing this for many years, and he has a network of friends and kin who give him hospitality while on his annual circuit.

In Randolph County Tristram and Uncle Tommy stop at the home of Jesse Coffin, a Quaker who works his land by himself, and later at the plantation of Braxton Lewis, a cousin who has left the Quaker fold.  Tristram is initially attracted to the comforts of the plantation big house and stays with the Lewises through the summer.  Only when cousin Braxton cannot pay him does Tristram turn to the Coffins for help.  When the Civil War breaks out, Tristram is unable to return home.  His life and those of all his relatives change in unexpected ways as the war comes to Carolina.

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

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Filed under 1930-1939, 1932, Allee, Marjorie Hill, Children & Young Adults, Historical, Piedmont, Randolph

Cameron Kent. The Road to Devotion. Winston-Salem, NC: Press 53, 2009.

Transition is rapidly occurring on the Talton farm in 1860 Winston, North Carolina. Miles Talton, the patriarch, has just passed away, leaving his strong-willed daughter, Sarah, in charge. However, the farm is failing, requiring her to sell slaves and acres to survive. Also changing is Sarah’s perception of slavery as she befriends Jacquerie, a Louisiana runaway who ends up on the Talton farm. Jacquerie’s knowledge of the French language makes her valuable as she is the only mode of communication for Sarah and her beau, wealthy French businessman Edouard LeGare. Finally, the onset of the Civil War is transforming the country. As Sarah and her community adjust to the changes, she learns the importance of staying true to herself, even if others do not understand her.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Forsyth, Historical, Kent, Cameron, Piedmont, Surry

Joan Medlicott. A Blue and Gray Christmas. New York: Pocket Books, 2009.

When Hannah’s husband Max discovers a battered tin box in the foundation of a house he is restoring, he brings it to Hannah and her dear friends Grace and Amelia. To their delight, it contains letters and diaries from two Civil War soldiers, one from South Carolina and the other from Connecticut. What historic treasures!  But it is the human story that attracts the ladies–two young men nursed back to health by a local woman to whom they then become bound by gratitude. Not content to leave the story of these men and the kindly woman in the past, the friends make plans to bring the men’s descendants to Covington. Amelia and a local school teacher head to Connecticut to track down the Union soldier’s family.  Meanwhile, life in Covington goes on.  Hannah tries to help her sort-of daughter-in-law, Sarina, find happiness after her husband has left her.  Sarina’s romance with a local pastor stirs up the church.  When Grace is injured in a car accident, Bob is denied access to her because they are not married, causing him great pain. Will the incident cause Grace to reconsider her decision not to marry?

This is the ninth novel in Medlicott’s  Covington Novels series.

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

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

Terrell T. Garren. The Fifth Skull: A Historical Novel of the Civil War and the American West. Spartanburg, SC: Reprint Co., 2008.

It’s 1864, the last year of the Civil War, when a new conscription law establishes the Confederate Junior Reserves, which requires boys to serve in the army after their 17th birthday.  Protagonists Billy Nick Long of Henderson County and John Rattler of the Snowbird Cherokee Community are sent to Camp Vance in Morganton, NC, along with other members of the Junior Reserve.The boys have not yet been trained or provided with weapons when Union soldiers raid the camp and take the boys as prisoners of war.  In order to save their lives, the boys join the Union Army’s Galvanized Regiments and head west towards California and Oregon to fight in the American Indian Wars.  Garren’s novel weaves historical evidence of the crimes and atrocities committed during these two wars with his coming-of-age tale of two North Carolina boys.

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

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Filed under 2008, Burke, Garren, Terrell T., Henderson, Historical, Mountains

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.

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

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