Tag Archives: Slavery

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.


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

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

Blonnie Bunn Wyche. Cecilia’s Harvest: A Novel of the Revolution. Wilmington, NC: Whittler’s Bench Press, 2009.

Cecilia Moore is certain of two things: first, that she has to get away from her hardworking older sister Pauline and the hateful family tavern, and second, that Kenneth Black, atop his fine stallion, Big Boy, is the handsomest man in Wilmington, if not all North Carolina. The winter’s day in 1775 when he asks for her hand in marriage is the happiest of her sixteen-year-old life: he drapes her in a diamond necklace and promises to whisk her away to his prosperous farm full of servants. Cecilia cannot imagine that within a few months, just as the country plunges further into deadly warfare, she too will be fighting for mere survival. Murder, pregnancy, wild animals, and marauding British soldiers make life an unforgiving onslaught, and as quickly as Cecilia’s fortunes rise, the next day only brings more brutal tests. But Cecilia, in addition to being a crack shot with her rifle, is possessed of a nimble mind and a brave heart. Whatever dangers threaten, she finds she has the strength to rise and meet them again and again.

As Americans, we know the story of the Revolutionary War: taxation, then Declaration, followed by fighting and eventually freedom. But what of the smaller stories, the personal tales that won our nation its liberty? Blonnie Bunn Wyche follows her award-winning novel, The Anchor: P. Moore Proprietor, with the suspenseful story of a young woman struggling to survive the bitter years of revolution. Cecilia Moore Black is a stalwart, gutsy heroine who will make an excellent addition to any young adult’s reading list.

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

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

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

Alex Haley. Roots. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1976.

This blockbuster novel, and the television mini-series made from it, are widely acknowledged as the sparks that ignited the genealogical craze in America in the 1970s.  It also started a national conversation on topics that had been off limits for most Americans–slavery and race.

Working from his own family’s history, Alex Haley tells the story of Kunta Kinte and his descendants.  Kunta Kinte’s early life in Africa, his capture and sale to slave traders, and the horrific sea voyage to America hold the reader’s attention for the first third of the book.  In America, Kunta is sold to a plantation owner in Virginia.  As the years go on, Kunta attempts escapes, but freedom will not be his.  Yet Africa remains alive in his mind, and he passes words and stories of his homeland on.

The scholar Michael Eric Dyson, writing in the introduction to the thirtieth anniversary edition of Roots says that the novel “helped convince the nation that the black story is the American story.”  It is also a North Carolina story.  Kunta’s daughter Kizzy is sold to a cockfighting ne’er-do-well in Caswell County.  That man rapes Kizzy, fathering her only child, “Chicken George” Lea. George works with the master’s birds and becomes so valuable to the master that George is allowed to bring his love, Matilda, onto the farm.  Their family grows, but the master’s bad bet at a cockfight breaks the family apart. George is sent to England and the rest of the family is sold to a more prosperous plantation in Alamance County.  There they remain until after the Civil War, when the family moves west into Tennessee.

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

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Filed under 1970-1979, 1976, Alamance, Caswell, Historical, Piedmont

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

Alex Haley. A Different Kind of Christmas New York: Doubleday, 1988.

Alex Haley was known worldwide for his blockbuster Roots.  Fewer people know this later, brief novel which tells the story of a slaveholding North Carolinian who has a change of heart.

Fletcher Randall is the son a powerful state senator in Ashe County.  Senator Randall’s 3,000 acre plantation is worked by over 100 slaves who bring in crops of cotton and tobacco.  Fletcher’s parents send him to the College of New Jersey (Princeton) where he endures insults and harassment because of his family’s slaveholding.  The harassment does not move Fletcher, but his relationship with three Quaker brothers does.  On a visit to their home in Philadelphia he is taken to a meeting of the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee, an anti-slavery organization involved with the Underground Railroad.  His outrage at this affront turns to something else as he reads about the Quakers and the Underground Railroad.  After much soul-searching, Randall changes sides and returns to Ashe County to assist enslaved people in a mass escape set for Christmas Eve.

This book was evidently issued for the holiday season in 1988. It is beautifully produced book, with a lovely dust jacket and ornamental designs in the book itself.

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

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Filed under 1980-1989, 1988, Ashe, Haley, Alex, Mountains

Michael Phillips. A Day to Pick Your Own Cotton. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2003.

Although Katie and Mayme are only teenagers, they are trying to run the Rosewood Plantation on their own and convince everyone in the nearby town of Greens Crossing that nothing is amiss. Under their watch, Rosewood becomes a sanctuary for several other young women in trouble, including a girl whose mother died when she and her daughter were fleeing her abusive husband, and an ex-slave who is hiding herself and her new baby from a cruel former master. Throughout the novel the four girls struggle to survive, keep one step ahead of those who would harm them, and find a way to pay the bank loans against the property. A Day to Pick Your Own Cotton is the the second book of the historical, faith-based Shenandoah Sisters series.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Historical, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Phillips, Michael, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational

Michael Phillips. Angels Watching Over Me. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2003.

Katie Clairborne and Mary Ann (Mayme) Jukes were born in the same county less than a year apart, but they did not meet until the Civil War brought tragedy to both their lives. Mayme, a slave on a plantation outside the fictional Greens Crossing, is the lone survivor of an attack by marauding Confederate deserters. She flees and eventually finds herself at Rosewood, the plantation owned by the Clairbornes. Unfortunately, the same gang attacked Rosewood and everyone is dead except Katie. The girls decide to run the plantation and keep the deaths a secret to protect Katie’s claim on the land. They form a strong bond and, through toil and faith, they survive together. This is the first book in the Shenandoah Sisters series of historical, faith-based novels.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Historical, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Phillips, Michael, Religious/Inspirational

Edmund Kirke. My Southern Friends. New York: Carleton, 1863.

A New York businessman forms close ties of friendship with several families in Jones and Craven counties.  They assist each other in solving personal and financial problems even though they have different points of view on slavery and other issues.  Slavery receives a lot of attention; corrupt masters, violent overseers, and miscegenation figure in the plot.  The tragedies in the book are based on episodes that the author knew of from his experiences as a director of a cotton trading and shipping company prior to the Civil War.

Edmund Kirke is a pseudonym of James R. Gilmore.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1860-1869, 1863, Coastal Plain, Craven, Jones, Kirke, Edmund, Novels to Read Online