Tag Archives: Dialect

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

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

Paul Clayton. White Seed: The Untold Story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. [Bangor, ME]: Booklocker.com, 2009.

White Seed follows the journey of the settlers of the Lost Colony, the third group sent to the Americas by Sir Walter Raleigh, as they fight to survive on what is now the North Carolina coast. But who would be daring, or desperate, enough to abandon his or her homeland, England, for the wilds of the Virginia Colony?

Maggie Hagger, a simple Irish girl running from a terrible deed, seeks indentured passage as a means of escape from the faceless man who pursues her. Accepted as a maidservant for Governor John White’s pregnant daughter Eleanor Dare, Maggie has no idea that she may be trading one death sentence for another. Thomas and Lionel, her erstwhile companions, flee from similarly unsavory fates in England, while others, like the greedy Portuguese captain Simon Fernandes, seek only the opportunity to take what fortune they can from the Natives or fat Spanish ships. As for Governor White, he plans to live out his days peacefully in the tranquil Chesapeake, where the Natives are friendly and the land is mild. But all these hopes are dashed when they are put ashore in Roanoke.

There, a bellicose chieftain, Powhatan, has already determined that he will capture and kill any English who return to his land. He is especially reliant on Towaye, the spy he instructed to be captured before the last English returned to their native land. Now Towaye is back with these new settlers, although he finds himself under the watchful eye of Manteo, a Native loyal to the English who raised him from a child in this interpretation of the tale. But Powhatan isn’t the settlers’ only problem. When John White returns to England for supplies, conditions begin to deteriorate, and soon Maggie, Thomas, Manteo, and others find themselves fighting not one, but two enemies: the angry Natives…and their own soldiers.

Readers will enjoy this fast-paced, epic account of the Lost Colony’s still-unknown fate, and will find the author’s artistic choices to be interesting deviations from accepted research and other fictional versions.

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

 

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Clayton, Paul, Coast, Dare, Historical

Sharyn McCrumb. The Ballad of Tom Dooley. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2011.

If you grew up in the Appalachians of western North Carolina, chances are you’ve heard the tale of Tom Dooley at least once. You may even have heard the song made famous by the likes of Frank Proffitt, the New Lost City Ramblers, and Doc Watson: hang down your head, Tom Dooley…hang down your head and cry… a sordid tale of love, betrayal, and murder set in the years following the Civil War. But fact often proves more shocking than the tale. Author Sharyn McCrumb, after spending hours consulting the legal evidence, trial transcripts, and speaking with experts, determined that something didn’t add up. The answers she found in her lengthy research hint at a dark, Brontë-like pentagon of individuals trapped by disease, starvation, racial boundaries, and the after-effects of armed conflict.

Zebulon Baird Vance, the educated sometime-Governor of North Carolina,  represented Tom Dooley during his trial for murder. In McCrumb’s telling, he is convinced that Dooley is innocent. While his narrative reflects on the aftermath, the voice of servant-girl Pauline Foster recounts the tale from its origin. Survival during the war meant Pauline had to sell her body to passing soldiers for food, but she escaped death. Unfortunately, she didn’t emerge entirely unscathed. Infected with syphilis, she makes her way from her home county of Watauga to neighboring Wilkes, in hopes of staying with one of her cousins there while seeing a doctor. She chooses her wealthy relation Ann Melton, who allows her room and board in exchange for servant work. Ann is narcissistic and spoiled, and the sociopathic Pauline quickly determines that she will bring suffering to her cousin’s door, no matter the consequences for others. When Pauline realizes the depth of love between the married Ann and Tom Dooley, a former Confederate soldier and Ann’s childhood sweetheart, she hatches a terrible plan for revenge that inflicts tragedy across the entirety of Wilkes County. Expertly researched and written, history and fiction lovers alike will find this a fascinating read.

Frank Proffitt and his banjo

Click here for a clip of “Tom Dooley” as sung by Doc Watson, and here for a clip as sung by Frank Proffitt, both courtesy of the Southern Folklife Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill. The songs, and many others, are available on CD and vinyl in the Southern Folklife Collection, which like the North Carolina Collection, is located in Wilson Library. While you’re here, check the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog for the availability of The Ballad of Tom Dooley.

 

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Historical, McCrumb, Sharyn, Mountains, Watauga, Wilkes

Kat Meads. When the Dust Finally Settles. Spokane, WA: Ravenna Press, 2011.

Clarence Carter died unexpectedly, giggling at the irony of it all, flipped over and pinned under his Oliver tractor on account of a wayward tree stump. Bewildered but rather amused by suddenly finding himself a ghost, he wanders back through the week leading up to his death in May of 1968. With a wry but empathetic voice, he examines the lives and emotions of the inhabitants of his home, (fictional) Mawatuck County in northeastern North Carolina. He comments on their age-old feuds, new loves, and festering anger at the harshness of life, surprised at how dying can alter one’s perspective so drastically. He is particularly interested in three impending graduates of the newly integrated Mawatuck County High School; his son, Lucian Carter, his orphaned niece, Amelia Nell Stallings, and their witty friend, Harrison Doxey. Lucian should be popular: he’s white, tall, and muscular. But he refuses to play football, and he’s always sticking up for his feisty, skinny, odd cousin Amelia Nell. On top of it all, he’s friends with Harrison, whose greatest crime (as far as the rest of the school is concerned) is being a member of the “first fifteen” to integrate Mawatuck.

Clarence Carter drifts through time and space to follow the trio as they grow up in the week leading to both their graduation and his death. Amelia Nell’s grandmother Mabel pushes her to commit to running the family farm, attempting to keep it out of the hands of her rich, no-good neighbors the Halstons. Harrison dreams of sashaying onto the dance floor at the local whites-only dance club, The Lido, and impressing the hard-to-please, gorgeous Jocelyn McPherson with his nonchalant daring. Lucian just wants Clarence to stop fighting The Man (in particular the severe, debt-collecting agents who come calling in a black sedan) and pay his federal taxes. In the end, the three children, for better or worse, will walk away from high school as adults.

Kat Meads has written a lovely tale about the strength it takes to make change and break rules that shouldn’t be rules. Embedded in her story are musings on a community’s shifting identity, its connection to the land, and the meaning of loyalty and love. Based on her home county of Currituck, Mawatuck County is filled with an abundance of diverse voices; some are familiar and expected, while others are new and beautifully different. As Clarence himself warns the reader at the beginning, “surprises coming your way, my friend, that much I guarantee.”

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Currituck, Historical, Meads, Kat, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Michael Parker. The Watery Part of the World. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011.

Some years ago- never mind how long precisely- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. So begins Ishmael’s adventures, and Michael Parker likewise takes the reader straight out to sea to meet Theodosia Burr Alston. Historically, Theodosia was the highly educated daughter of the infamous Aaron Burr. In early 1813, Burr had returned from voluntary exile in Europe, and Theodosia was eager to join him. Sailing north to their reunion in New York, she sank along with her ship off the North Carolina coast, never to be heard from again. Which is of course where all the best stories begin. Parker’s Theodosia survives the pirate raid that scuttles her vessel, eking out a precarious existence on the Outer Banks with the help of a recluse named Whaley. Though far removed from the elegant lady she once was, Theodosia is still her father’s devoted daughter. Among the most valuable cargo on the ship were Aaron Burr’s personal papers; papers that, falling into the wrong hands, would certainly endanger his life. The pirate captain, a savage but educated man named Daniels, now possesses them. Theodosia is determined to steal them back. Badly injured in attempting their recovery, she flees to nearby Yaupon Island.

Sail forward one hundred and sixty odd years to 1970. Yaupon Island is “six square miles of sea oat and hummock afloat off the cocked hip of North Carolina.” Its population is three: two old, white sisters, Whaley and Maggie, descendants of the remarkable Theodosia, and Woodrow Thornton, the many-greats grandchild of the man who saved her life. Why does Woodrow stay on that hurricane-battered spit of sand, his children wonder? All to care for two crazed white women who don’t treat him any better than a handyman? Maggie and Whaley, different as night and day, are certainly more than a little mad in their own ways, but possibly from sorrow and disappointed hopes more than anything else.

Parker flashes back and forth between these two tales like lightning on the shoals, filling his watery world with historical figures, heartbreak, betrayal, and the raw desire of the human heart to outlast every attempt at drowning.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Dare, Historical, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Parker, Michael

Carolyn Guy. Autumn Bends the Rebel Tree. Vilas, NC: Canterbury House Publishing, 2011.

Clarinda Darningbush enters the world at the turn of the 19th century, the youngest in a large family rooted in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Absent parents and dangerous surroundings means she grows up quickly, learning from her older siblings how to thrive in the unforgiving mountain environment. One day, she stops with her brother to speak with a handsome, blue-eyed stranger, and her whole world does a “dipsy-doodle.” Rufus McCloud is just as smitten as Clarinda, and soon they are happily married. Seventeen children and Rufus’ banjo music fill their joyful home on Levi’s Mountain to the brim, but tragedy comes to call. Left without her dearest love, Clarinda must weather life as a widow and single mother, struggling through the Great Depression and World War II with the help of her devoted children. Hooking rag rugs for trade, fighting off panthers and bears, and even building a new house when a devastating fire destroys their old home, Clarinda is the epitome of strength and courage. Throughout this bittersweet life of toil, she sometimes sees and hears her winsome husband, although she tells no one. Clarinda is sure that one bright day they will be reunited, and as spry as they were in youth, dance off together on the air.

A Boone, North Carolina native, Carolyn Guy has put forth what many readers are calling one of the most accurate depictions of North Carolina mountain life during the 1930s and 1940s that they’ve ever read. Bursting with Appalachian dialect, music, and customs, readers will find Clarinda’s resourcefulness and faith an inspiration as much as they will enjoy the humorous scrapes and stories of her large, warm family.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Guy, Carolyn, Historical, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Watauga

Alice E. Sink. Ain’t No Bears Out Tonight. Kernersville, NC: Alabaster Book Publishing, 2010.

It is the summer of 1951 in the fictional town of Piedmont, North Carolina and nearby Burnett Mill Village. For the fifty-odd years since Piedmont was founded by a band of upright gentleman, it has always appeared to be the very model of a wholesome community. But when Miss Amelia Miller is found murdered in her home, the peaceful citizens are forced to remember uncomfortable secrets they would rather forget. Frannie Cline, the little girl next door, finds her imagination gripped by Miss Amelia’s collection of antiques; in particular, a beautiful silver and opal pinkie ring. Unbeknownst to Frannie, the ring represents a dark time in Miss Amelia’s and Piedmont’s shared history, when social mores possessed greater value than human life.

Sink explores these towns using a large, diverse cast of characters that draws the reader back and forth in time between 1900 and 1951. Filled not only with murder but also racial and social conflict, the book gives the reader a taste of how attitudes began to change in small North Carolina towns in the first half of the 20th century.

Due to descriptions of sexuality and violence, this book is recommended for older teens and adults.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Docufiction, Historical, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Sink, Alice E., Suspense/Thriller

Kathryn Magendie. Sweetie. Memphis, TN: Bell Bridge Books, 2010.

“You are the town person just like I am the mountain person. I showed you through the mountains, now you show me through the town.” -Sweetie

Best friends have a way of teaching each other lessons. Melissa’s life changed the day she met Sweetie, a unique and independent girl with “mountain spirit.” Over the course of a summer, Sweetie expands Melissa’s world beyond television and candy bars to the hills and Native American traditions of Haywood County, North Carolina. She helps Melissa slim down, control her stuttering, and develop more of a backbone.

Sweetie’s reputation around town, however, is that she is a strange girl with a questionable background. Her inability to feel pain is deemed especially odd; classmates make fun of her. Melissa also becomes the brunt of their bullying because of her friendship with Sweetie, but she is proud of her best friend. When Sweetie needs assistance saving her dying mother, Melissa steps in to guard her from the town gossips. But Melissa cannot protect Sweetie, and Sweetie disappears without a trace. Despite her confidant’s absence, Melissa will be forever aware of the magic of friendship.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Haywood, Magendie, Kathryn, Mountains, Romance/Relationship

Mike Sanders. Thirsty. East Orange, NJ: Wahida Clark Presents Publishing, 2008.

Hustling in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a dangerous business; Justice Dial knows this. Still, she enjoys the perks – designer clothes and jewelry, a fancy car, a beautifully decorated home, and an endless supply of money – not to mention the thrill she gets from it. Her gorgeous appearance and quick wit make her a successful hustler: wealthy and well-connected men are distracted by her charms long enough for her to get necessary information. Justice then gives the important details to her brother, Monk, so that he and his friends can steal the men’s money and goods.

This time, however, Justice and Monk have gotten caught up with the wrong men. Monk’s new accomplice stole money from Carlos, a powerful drug lord who happens to be Justice’s ex-boyfriend. Carlos’s crew comes after Monk and Justice. The siblings fear for their lives so much that they decide to return to Chicago. Before they leave, Justice discovers that J.T., the handsome man she has been seeing, is not the nice guy she imagined. Justice gets her revenge, but going to war with Carlos’s gang changes her life forever.

This novel contains graphic sexual and violent content.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Mecklenburg, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Sanders, Mike, Suspense/Thriller, Urban Fiction