Tag Archives: Ghosts

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

Bruce E. Johnson. An Unexpected Guest. Asheville, NC: Knock on Wood Publications, 2011.

The Pink Lady of the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, has mystified guests of the grand hotel for nearly a century. Although visitors over the years have suspected paranormal activity, no one can explain the Pink Lady’s presence. Who is she, who was she, and how did she meet her unfortunate end?

In this novel, the origin of the Pink Lady is revealed. August 27, 1918 is a special evening for the Grove Park Inn. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs have come to the resort, and their attendance is providing the inn much publicity and fanfare. During an evening movie, however, the body of a young, beautiful woman in a silk pink dress is discovered. Did she fall? Did she jump? Was she pushed? As Fred Seely, president of the Grove Park Inn, races to cover up the crime scene, he panics over what this incident could do to his struggling business and unpleasant family ties (his father-in-law is the inn’s namesake). Was Seely set up by his disgruntled brother-in-law? Seely’s skill in meticulous planning, much like his designs of the hotel, will become very useful as he makes evidence of the Pink Lady’s death disappear. Concealing her spirit, however, will prove much more difficult.

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


Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Historical, Johnson, Bruce E., Mountains, Mystery

Sarah Addison Allen. The Peach Keeper. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 2011.

The restoration of the old Jackson place should not have been anything out of the ordinary, but Walls of Water, North Carolina, is not a typical mountain town. Magic lingers in the air, the result of a dark visitor to the logging community in the 1930s.

Paxton Osgood has spent the past few months transforming the dilapidated, supposedly-haunted house into a new bed and breakfast, the gorgeous Blue Ridge Madam. To highlight the grand opening, Paxton has decided to hold a gala celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Women’s Society Club at the Madam. She has invited Willa Jackson to attend as a representative of her grandmother, a founding member of the club and former resident of the mansion. Although Willa and Paxton are the same age, they have never been friends. However, this event becomes an opportunity for them to get to know each other. The two realize that their grandmothers had been best friends, but their relationship was strained when the mysterious visitor came to Walls of Water. As the young women uncover what happened to their grandmothers, Willa and Paxton begin to understand the meaning of friendship and the value of taking chances.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Allen, Sarah Addison, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

David Saperstein and George Samerjan. A Christmas Passage. New York: Kensington Books, 2008.

When a storm strands passengers in the Atlanta airport on December 24th, several travelers accept a stranger’s offer of a ride to Asheville. As the five adults and two children pile into Lisa Barone’s vintage VW microbus, she promises them that they will be in Asheville by dinnertime.  The first few hours of the trip are uncomfortable as the riders adjust to their close proximity to each other, but the drive is smooth, with little trouble from snow or icy roads.  That changes shortly after the van crosses into North Carolina.  The travelers encounter whiteout conditions and an avalanche that leaves them stranded.  Taking shelter in an abandoned cabin, they have a Christmas Eve that none of them could have anticipated.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Saperstein, David and George Samerjan

Steven Symes. Shadow House. Morrisville, NC: lulu.com, 2010.

Scott Bennett is suffering.  As a hardworking New York lawyer, he put his career ahead of his family.  And then his family was gone–killed in a car crash.  Scott is consumed with guilt and plagued by nightmares.  With little planning, he moves from New York to the North Carolina mountains.

Not liking the newer homes around Asheville, he buys a rundown Victorian out in the country, even though the real estate agent warns him that the locals think the house is haunted.  Initially Scott is more annoyed by the unfriendly locals than he is by the strange noises and unexplained occurrences in the house.  But over time Scott’s own demons as well as those in the house, push him to the edge.   After the spirits turn violent, Scott seeks help from psychics, ghostbusters, and a college friend who is a healer in New Mexico.  Together they appease the spirits–but also unearth a secret the locals wanted to keep buried.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Buncombe, Horror, Mountains, Symes, Steven

Ellen Block. The Language of Sand. New York: Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks, 2010.

After losing her husband and young son in a devastating house fire, Abigail Harker’s life changes forever.  Everything precious to her has been taken away, and she finds that without her family she cannot resume her life in Boston as a lexicographer.  Abigail’s husband spoke fondly of a small island in North Carolina – Chapel Isle – that he visited when he was a boy, and she decides to move there for a year to feel closer to his spirit.

After making the long drive from Massachusetts to North Carolina, Abigail’s first tour of Chapel Isle is daunting.  The ferry lands at a dock that is eerily unstable, and the property that she rents – a cottage and a lighthouse – is in abysmal condition.  Getting to know the locals is also difficult because most people, although curious about her, appear to be standoffish.  And there is the ghost that “looks after” (or haunts) the lighthouse and whose noises unsettle her daily.

Abigail must make a new life for herself on Chapel Isle while grieving the premature loss of her old life.  Although this is an unbelievably difficult task, over time she gains loyal friends and interesting memories on the island – and new strength.  Abigail, always inspired by words, uses her experiences on Chapel Isle to create a new vocabulary that redefines her life and allows her to survive.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Block, Ellen, Coast, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Kevin Burton McGuire. Fire Gazer: Arson at the Wolfe House. Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2009.

It’s the summer of 1998 and newspaper reporter Ben Jennings is assigned to interview a man who claims to have seen ghosts on the grounds of the old Highland Hospital in Asheville.  DC is that man.  He’s intelligent and provocative and he has a ragtag following.  DC is also on the scene of an unexplained fire that breaks out in downtown. As Ben accompanies DC to his camp near Riverside Cemetery and then around town, he begins to fall under DC’s spell even as he witnesses DC’s eerie ability to make a fire on any spot. Although as reporter Ben sees clues that point to another fire, he doesn’t suspect that it will be at one of Asheville’s most famous landmarks.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Buncombe, McGuire, Kevin Burton, Mountains

Denzil Strickland. Swimmers in the Sea. Lewisville, NC: Press53, 2008.

Strickland’s first novel opens outside of New Orleans with a horrible car crash that kills four people–a newly married couple in one car and two young children in the other. The children’s parents, Don and Gail Ebbets, survive but their marriage does not. Don is convicted of manslaughter and sent to prison. Gail takes their surviving son Cliff to North Carolina, but neither Cliff nor Gail manages to find happiness. Twenty-five years later a nearly-broke Cliff has a daughter and a rocky marriage. When he receives word that his father is dying and that a return to visit in Louisiana will lead to inheritance money, he heads to New Orleans to make peace with both his father and the memories that literally haunted his childhood.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Piedmont, Strickland, Denzil

Donna Boyd. The Awakening. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003.

Leo Tolstoy’s observation that “each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”  is once again proven true in this novel.  The sources of the Mason family’s unhappiness are many: unrealized dreams, overwork, spouses who drift apart, infidelity, a traumatized child.  Penny Mason, a surgeon in Chapel Hill, thinks that a summer at the family lake house will provide a healing environment for her and her family.  The lake house used to be her safe place, but something at the house has changed–and not just because her husband Paul has made extensive renovations to the old place.  Penny begins to have vivid, bloody nightmares, and her husband and daughter hear strange things and see a mysterious woman.  This ghost has her own sad and bloody history.  As the Masons research the house, they learn about two earlier families and the connections across the ages that in the end redeem them all.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Boyd, Donna, Piedmont

Edith Edwards. The Ghosts of Turtle Nest. New York: iUniverse, 2007.

Connie Edmonds has built a successful real estate business in Southport, but she is haunted by the past.  She didn’t intervene to prevent a sergeant from bullying a fellow WAC into despair and suicide.  The dead girl’s father, a United States senator, holds Connie responsible and has harassed her for decades. Connie’s friend Lucy has wrestled with guilt about the suicide, and Connie’s new love, the local Episcopal priest, has his demons too. When Connie has an opportunity to turn the tables on Senator Roberts, she must decide whether that is the path she should take.  Her Christian faith and a message from a Civil War era ghost figure in her thinking.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Brunswick, Coast, Edwards, Edith, Religious/Inspirational