Tag Archives: Race relations

Mike Sanders. Thirsty 2. East Orange, NJ: Wahida Clark Presents, 2011.

Justice Dial is back in this bloody sequel to Thirsty, Mike Sanders’s novel about hustling on the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina. Beautiful, clever, and ruthless, Justice used to make loads of cash by seducing men, gleaning the location of their wealth, and passing on the information to her brother, Monk. But then it all went wrong, and in a terrible case of mistaken blame, her murderous, drug lord ex-boyfriend Carlos came after the brother and sister. Monk was killed, but Justice fled to Chicago.

Now Justice owns and operates a successful strip club but has never stopped plotting her revenge on Tan, the vicious drug dealer who killed her brother. The situation heats up when Justice returns to the Queen City to support her best friend Sapphire, whose mother is dying. Sapphire was a victim of a nearly fatal beating when Carlos’s crew thought she crossed them, and Carlos has been making restitution ever since he discovered her and Justice’s innocence. Sapphire has forgiven him, but Justice refuses, so Sapphire sees her best friend’s return to Charlotte as an opportunity to convince her of Carlos’s sincerity.

Meanwhile, Tandora Mendoza, daughter of the Mendoza crime family, is out for her own revenge. Robbed by Justice, Monk, and their gang, Tan has already eliminated one sibling, and now she’s waiting for her chance at Justice…before Justice can get to her first. The two women stalk one another through Charlotte and finally Chicago, surrounded by their henchmen and women. But who can they really trust? In the end, a true enemy may be the one they least expect. Justice must survive the hatred of those who want her dead, while fighting the love of the one man she swore never to forgive.

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 2010-2019, 2011, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Sanders, Mike, Suspense/Thriller

Alice J. Wisler. A Wedding Invitation. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2011.

When Samantha Bravencourt misinterprets a wedding invitation and lands up at a stranger’s nuptials in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she’s embarrassed and annoyed. Still, the trip gives Sam the chance to visit her eccentric Aunt Dovie, and to get away from working in her mom’s D.C. fashion boutique. What she doesn’t count on is the past returning to haunt her with a vengeance.

When Samantha last saw Lien Hong , it was nearly a decade earlier, and Lien was Sam’s student at the Philippine Refugee Processing Center near Manila. In 1985, many Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian families were trying to immigrate to the United States. The teachers at the PRPC taught them English and American culture, attempting to ease their transition. Now Lien and her family are in Winston-Salem, and she is thrilled to find Samantha. Sam isn’t sure how she feels about their reunion. Lien was a handful then, and obsessed with the man Sam had a crush on–her handsome fellow teacher, Carson Brylie, also a North Carolinian. Carson broke Sam’s heart, and she would rather not be reminded of him or this part of her past.

But she doesn’t have much choice when Carson hears about her presence, and calls. Soon he’s back in her life, and as confusing as ever. Sam doesn’t know what Carson wants, but she does know that she won’t be so fast to give away her heart a second time. Unfortunately, since Lien needs both Sam and Carson’s help badly, Sam can’t avoid him. The young Vietnamese is an Amerasian: the daughter of a Vietnamese woman and an American G.I. Ridiculed and stigmatized, Lien’s mother gave her up to relatives as a baby, and fled. Now Lien is getting married, and wants to find her birth mother more than anything. As Samantha and Carson spend more and more time together in an effort to unite a family, Sam learns that the surest path to happiness lies in learning to trust herself, others, and God once more.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Forsyth, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Wisler, Alice J.

Alan Thompson. A Hollow Cup. Livermore, CA: Wingspan Press, 2011.

Lilah Freedman, a young woman involved in the civil rights movements in the small North Carolina town of New Hope in 1966, was brutally murdered one night after a protest at the local university. The white man originally accused of her murder was never convicted and a great deal of mystery and racial tension has surrounded this cold case ever since. Now, in 1991, a State attorney thinks he has enough evidence for a surprising new indictment, throwing the small town into an uproar once again. Pete Johnson and Luke Stanley, two attorneys sharing a past with each other, Lilah Freedman, and New Hope, return seeking closure and redemption in their own lives. Pete, having watched an unfairly convicted client of his go to his death, is disillusioned with the justice system. Luke Stanley, having spent his life fighting for racial integration in Chicago, seeks to bring that battle to his home town.

A complex novel that often switches perspective to give the reader a chance at glimpsing the world through a variety of eyes and opinions, A Hollow Cup travels back and forth in time between the youth of these main characters in the 1960s and their actions in the present day of 1991, illustrating the racial division and tension of each time. Alan Thompson’s readers will enjoy the geographical treasure hunt as the author describes his characters’ forays throughout the fictional town of New Hope, which bears a great many similarities to Chapel Hill.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Historical, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Orange, Piedmont, Thompson, Alan

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

Lori Copeland. The One Who Waits for Me. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2011.

Captain Pierce Montgomery, Second Lieutenant Samuel “Preach” Madison, and First Lieutenant Gray Eagle are three veterans traveling home to North Carolina after the Civil War. They cannot wait to get home to their family, the promise of peace, and the taste of sweet tea.

Beth and Joanie Jornigan are two sisters who have just undertaken the heartbreaking task of burying their parents. Although their hearts are heavy, the sisters see their parents’ deaths as an opportunity to flee their horrendous Uncle Walt and his son, Bear. Uncle Walt forced the Jornigans to work the farm, treating them as farmhands, not kin, and threatened to marry Beth to Bear while neglecting Joanie’s health. To add a touch of finality to this chapter of their lives, the Jornigan sisters torch their shanty as they leave the farm.

The soldiers’ plans for returning home are upended when they happen upon an enormous field fire. As they try to rescue survivors, they save the Jornigan sisters. Over the next few days, as the men help the sisters and another field hand (whose baby they just delivered) flee an angry Walt, the men begin to realize the impact these women will have on their lives. Romantic interests are formed, and Beth’s negative impression of men is challenged. Beth also realizes the power of prayer and the presence of a higher power.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Copeland, Lori, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational

Clyde Edgerton. The Night Train. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011.

The phrase “the night train” has two meanings in Clyde Edgerton’s latest novel. For most people in Starke, North Carolina, this daily event is something to which they give little thought. Accepting the brief clatter, many have trained themselves to sleep right through it. The tracks upon which the train glides divide the small town racially, with Larry Lime Beacon of Time Reckoning Breathe on Me Nolan (so named by his grandmother) being from the black side and Dwayne Hallston being from the white side. Although they live on different sides of the track, Larry Lime and Dwayne forge a friendship that encompasses their shared love of mischief and music – and overlooks race.

For Larry Lime and Dwayne (and anyone else following pop culture in 1963) “Night Train” represents the hottest single on the charts. James Brown’s unbelievable presentation of it on Live at the Apollo prompts Dwayne to envision his band performing a similar rendition on the local television program The Brother Bobby Lee Reese Country Music Jamboree (a show that “people on both sides of the tracks enjoyed”). Fortunately for Dwayne, Larry Lime is musically gifted, especially after taking lessons from a  jazz master called The Bleeder, and he instructs his friend on exactly how to move, sound, and look on stage. When Dwayne and his band, the Amazing Rumblers, land a spot on the show, Dwayne and Larry Lime see firsthand how unprepared Starke (and society) is to see a white boy impersonating James Brown. In an age of sit-ins, with the Ku Klux Klan seven miles down the road, and prejudice strong, Dwayne and Larry Lime test the status quo, not afraid to blow like the night train through Starke, North Carolina.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Edgerton, Clyde, Novels Set in Fictional Places

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

Alex Hairston. She Creeps. New York: Dafina Books, 2008.

For the first time in Naomi Gaffney’s twenty-nine years, life is normal. Although her childhood was marred by her white mother’s death, her black father’s conviction of that murder, and the racial tensions that episode created in the community of Eden, North Carolina, Naomi finally has the life she always wanted. She is married to a man she loves, has three children she adores, and household chores she enjoys, such as cooking big meals for her family. This should be the picture of perfection, but Naomi is unsatisfied. When her sister suggests she go outside of her marriage to find happiness, Naomi balks at the thought. Sure, the spark she and her husband once shared has lost its shimmer, but after seeing what happened between her parents, Naomi is not interested in ruining a good (if not great) thing. All of this changes when an attractive mechanic rescues her on the side of the road. Naomi gives in to the temptation, but this puts her life in danger. There is a sociopath on the loose in Eden who is targeting “sinners.”  That zealot kidnaps Naomi with the intention of murdering her. As Naomi confronts the complications her act of adultery has created, she realizes that the simple life was not so bad after all.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Hairston, Alex, Piedmont, Rockingham

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

Blonnie Bunn Wyche. The Anchor: P. Moore Proprietor. Wilmington, NC: Banks Channel Books, 2003.

I don’t consider my questions treason. I think it’s more about common sense. Pauline Moore is full of questions, and opinions. Everyone is: it is 1764 and the small town of Brunswick, North Carolina, along with the rest of the colony, is stirring under England’s stifling taxation. Unfortunately, since Pauline is female and only fifteen at that, she is expected to stay quiet and serve the real thinkers: men. But when her profligate father leaves town, Pauline is the only one left to take charge of her little sisters, sick mother, and the family tavern. The next few years will be hard ones: this spunky heroine will face the chaos of a budding rebellion, the daily tasks of managing a business and household, and powerful men who assume that her gender makes her a weak and simple target. Pauline is anything but. Educated, strong, and stubborn, she grows to adulthood alongside her new nation, where she imagines everyone, including slaves and women, will be free.

In this beautifully written and precisely researched tale, Blonnie Bunn Wyche provides a stirring look at the colonial town of Brunswick (now in ruins), the birth of the Revolutionary War in North Carolina, and a strong and fiery heroine who dares to stand up for freedom for all. Pauline Moore’s bravery and moral code will resonate in the minds of young women and readers everywhere.

Winner of the Juvenile Fiction Award from the American Association of University Women, and the N.C. Historical Society of Sherrills Ford’s Clark Cox Fiction Award.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Brunswick, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Historical, New Hanover, Romance/Relationship, Wyche, Blonnie Bunn