Tag Archives: Dialect

Vicki Lane. The Day of Small Things. New York: Dell Books, 2010.

In the remote mountains of Dark Holler, North Carolina in 1922, a girl is born to a bitter mother who vows to keep her last child all to herself. Least, as the girl is called, grows up with very little affection from her mother and few interactions with others. Neighbors are told that she is a simple child, and she learns neither to read nor to write.

When Granny Beck, her maternal grandmother, comes to live with Least and her mother, light is cast upon Dark Holler. Granny Beck secretly teaches her skills to the girl and captivates her with old mountain stories and Cherokee legends. Granny Beck tells Least that she has magical “Gifts and Powers” to save herself and to protect others. As Least matures, she feels a kinship to the Little People (Yunwi Tsunsdi). However, some people are suspicious of her Gifts and Powers; they see them as contrary to Christianity. Luther Gentry, Least’s sweetheart, is one of those doubters. When the two marry, Least promises to part with her old life, which includes her magic as well as her cheerless name. She becomes Birdie Gentry and, for once, lives in a home of unconditional love.

When she is an elderly woman of eighty-five, she is faced with a difficult choice. A relative is in trouble, and her Gifts and Powers are needed – fast. Miss Birdie must weigh the promise she made to her husband and to herself so many years ago against the safety of a young boy.

Interspersed throughout the novel are images of artifacts from Birdie’s life, including hymns and advertisements.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Lane, Vicki, Madison, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Yancey

Peggy Poe Stern. Heaven-high and Hell-deep. Boone, NC: Moody Valley, 2003.

Mountain women are often noted for being strong-willed and independent. This is true of Elaine “Laine” Elder. The Appalachian teenager had already lived a difficult life before Rafford “Rafe” Johnson came into the picture. Treated like a modern-day Cinderella by her sister and hysterical mother, Laine efficiently runs the family farm while her father works at the local sawmill. When Rafe comes to the Elder homestead to ask for Laine’s hand in marriage, her downtrodden father accepts his offer to appease his wife. Although Laine barely knows Rafe, she is eager to be a good wife and to be in charge of his fine plantation house in Kentucky.

Laine’s contentment quickly evaporates as her new husband shows his true stripes as a menacing, abandoning, and cheating drunk. While Rafe is away on a trading excursion, Jonas Jones, the local doctor, pays a visit to Laine. Dr. Jones is a former acquaintance, and their friendship blossoms as Laine solicits from him information about her elusive spouse. She discovers that Rafe is lying to her; not only has he been married before but they are mere miles from Banner Elk, North Carolina – not in Kentucky. Laine realizes that she is pregnant, and she is determined to give her child a proper rearing and to improve her own situation. When Rafe, her sister, her now-widowed mother, and a panther threaten her safe haven, Laine demonstrates her grit in standing up to them and protecting her new life.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Avery, Historical, Mountains, Stern, Peggy Poe

Karen Hawkins. Talk of the Town. New York: Pocket Books, 2008.

Divorce is not what Roxie Treymayne expected. After discovering her husband’s affair with his law partner, she is determined to go a little bit wild. She spent years playing the perfect Raleigh country club wife, and now Roxie wants to be who she really is. Roxie transforms her prudish look with a tattoo, a navel ring, revealing clothes, and a bleach blond ‘do. She is ready to start over in some far-away city when she gets the news–her mother has suffered a mild heart attack and Roxie is needed back home in Glory, North Carolina.

Roxie does not plan to stay in Glory for long, but bumping into Nick Sheppard, the new sheriff, makes her consider staying even after her mother recovers. Although Nick spurned Roxie in high school after a brief romance, the two still share a mutual attraction, and the tension is thick whenever they are together. In the meantime, Roxie has taken over her mother’s volunteer activities, which includes spending time with the three-member Murder Mystery/CSI-Watching Club at the local assisted living center. The club’s trio thinks that they are on to a real-life murder mystery, and Roxie helps with the investigation. Fortunately, this means that she and Nick begin seeing more of each other and building their trust in one another.

Although Roxie never imagined moving home, she finds happiness, love – and a little bit of suspense – in Glory, North Carolina.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Buncombe, Hawkins, Karen, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

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

N.W. “Red” Pope. The Sweet Potato Caper. Scottsdale, AZ: Five Points Publishing, 2009.

Benson, North Carolina, in the fall of 1959 may appear to be a typically sleepy, small Southern town, but that simplicity is deceiving. Sure, traditional mores still dictate interactions and stores close for the noontime meal (“dinner,” not “supper”). However, Benson becomes the center of excitement when a few outsiders kick up some dust.

The strangers who cause the ruckus arrive in Benson for different reasons. Jimmy, a gambler with a losing-streak and a demanding family, is in town to train for a banking job with the People’s State Bank. He drives to work from Raleigh with Woody, a likable fellow who begins dating a teller at the bank. One afternoon, they make the acquaintance of Tom Boney, aka T-Bone, an unsuccessful crop insurance salesman from Roanoke Rapids. His infidelity leads to divorce, and he is desperate for money. Woody makes an off-handed comment about how the positioning of the train – which divides Benson and blocks five major roads in town – would make robbing the bank easy. For the next few weeks, no one thinks anything else of his remark.

As Jimmy’s and T-Bone’s situations worsen, Jimmy decides to put Woody’s observation to the test. He gets T-Bone in on the plan, arranging for him to find two associates to help with the robbery. Although the burglary goes off without a hitch, the criminals leave damning clues that the FBI uses to catch two of the crooks; the other pair are off the hook to live luxuriously in Costa Rica.

And for Benson, this alarming episode signals a change in its once-trusting community – simply that “times ain’t like they used to be.”

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coastal Plain, Johnston, Pope, N. W., Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Michael Cogdill. She-Rain. New York: Morgan James Publishing, 2010.

Young Frank Locke grew up in a bad situation.  His father, a World War I veteran, was an angry, violent man with a taste for both alcohol and opiates.  Work in the mill and jealousy of his sister only further embittered Frank Senior.  Young Frank’s mother and grandparents loved him, but their love, wisdom, and generosity could not change the basic conditions of his life.  But the Lockes weren’t the only poor people in and around their mountain town.  Mary Lizbeth Hunter grew up nearby, a  wild child, left to roam the woods.  She and Frank met in school where Frank’s kindness to her bound them to each other.  Frank and Mary Lizbeth’s story carries through the book, enmeshed in a rich tale of faith and loyalty, but also violence and secrets.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Cogdill, Michael, Mountains

Leanna Sain. Gate to Nowhere. Kingsport, TN: Twilight Times Books, 2008.

“Before I tell you anything, Gavin, I want to assure you that I’m not crazy. I’m not an escapee from an asylum, and I’m not a witch. I’m just me. My name is Emma Jane Franklin. I’m thirty-four years old; my birthday is April 6… 1970.”

Emma Franklin has been in Nowhere, North Carolina, for a few days when she reluctantly begins to tell her host, Gavin MacKinlay, the story of how she arrived. Gavin can hardly believe his ears – how can someone from the twenty-first century be in his apple orchard? He is transfixed by her beauty, charm, and interest in him and his property; this leads him to believe that she is not lying to him. If what she is saying is true, Emma passed through the gate during a full moon in 2004 to arrive on his plantation in 1827.

Although the thought of traveling through time is shocking enough, Emma gives Gavin some very startling news. In a few days time, the community, which has decided to rename their settlement “MacKinlay” out of admiration of his successes, will suddenly turn on him. Because Emma knows the future, she knows that generations of MacKinlay residents have cursed Gavin’s name, but neither she nor Gavin understand why. Equipped with the information Emma does have, they work together to prevent the events that caused this rift and thus change the course of history.

When the month has passed and the moon is full again, Emma is able to walk through the gate to get back to 2004. Once there, she finds neighbors who are genuinely friendly and who are proud to tout their town’s history. However, Emma is torn. She misses Gavin, who she found to be an honest, gentle person. She finds she likes the practices of the nineteenth century and has no desire to stay in this century. Emma must choose which life to live, although this time, if she passed through the gate, there can be no turning back.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Henderson, Historical, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Sain, Leanna, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Bart Bare. Girl. Vilas, NC: Canterbury House Publishing, 2010.

Loren Creek has been described as “precocious.” At fourteen, she wants people – specifically Judge Tilson and the foster care authorities – to take her maturity and independence seriously. The death of her mother has put Loren in danger of being forced to leave her home to live with strangers. When the judge rules that Loren must live with guardians until she becomes an adult, she and two surprising accomplices hatch a plan for Loren to leave Piney Flat, Tennessee and move to Boone, North Carolina, where she can blend in with Appalachian State University students. Dressing as a boy to evade the social worker who is searching for her in an effort to save his reputation, Loren starts anew as “Lorne.” Although she finds acceptance from an unlikely landlord, Loren must walk a fine line to protect her story. With interest from the football team, advances from smitten girls, and a dangerous confrontation from a friend’s angry ex-boyfriend, Loren’s task is more complicated than she ever imagined.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Bare, Bart, Children & Young Adults, Mountains, Watauga

Wayne Caldwell. Requiem by Fire. New York: Random House, 2010.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, “America’s Favorite Drive,” celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. The National Parkway was established as a New Deal program to create jobs and to promote tourism in a region that was foreign to many Americans. Today, the picturesque landscape and enlightening roadside markers provide visitors with a glimpse of the beauty and culture of Appalachia.

Although the picture of the Parkway is pleasing today, its design and formation created tension and pain in the mountain communities it winds through. As Wayne Caldwell shows in Requiem by Fire,  families were stripped of their homes, livelihoods, and even relationships with one another.

When the North Carolina Park Commission comes to Cataloochee to discuss buyouts, community members learn they have two unhappy options. They can sell their farms now at a loss and leave, or sell at an even greater loss but continue to lease the land from the government. With regulations such as what natural resources they can harvest and even what burial techniques they can use, many people feel compelled to leave and try to start anew. However, other families decide to stay at they only homes they have ever known. This is difficult, though, because their villages shrink and social networks dwindle. No matter the choice made by the natives of Cataloochee in the late 1920s, “home” is forever changed.  Highlighting the strong connection to place felt by the people affected by the Blue Ridge Parkway, Caldwell provides a different view of the beloved roadway.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Buncombe, Caldwell, Wayne, Haywood, Historical, Mountains

John H. Hyman. The Relationship. Manassas, VA: E.M. Press, 1995.

Scotland Neck, North Carolina, in 1944 is a typically charming Southern town. Everyone knows everyone, and people generally look out for one another. Johnnie, the nine year-old narrator, describes the many adventures he and his best friend Wormy encounter that summer. Although Johnnie is white and Wormy is black, the two boys do not allow the racial tensions of the segregated South to disturb their relationship. They daydream about concocting solutions that will make them invisible so that they can both take part in activities such as buying a Coke and a moon pie at the local grocery.

The two boys seem to have a penchant for mischief; examples include the time Johnnie’s father’s taxicab ended up at the bottom of Scout Pond and the day the boys hopped a train thinking it would take them to the next town but ended up in Norfolk, Virginia. As Johnnie grows up, he recognizes more often the discrimination Wormy endures, especially after Wormy is attacked for taking part in a whites-only activity. Although Johnnie acknowledges that Scotland Neck is not perfect, he appreciates the lessons he learns over the summer of 1944 before he and his newly-widowed mother move to northern Virginia. Most of all, he is grateful for his time there with Wormy.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1995, Coastal Plain, Halifax, Historical, Hyman, John H.