Author Archives: Bridget Madden

Inglis Fletcher. Queen’s Gift. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1952.

This installment of Inglis Fletcher’s Carolina Series is set in Edenton, North Carolina during the late 1780s.  Political tensions run high in North Carolina after the colonies gain independence and the Federalists and Anti-federalists debate ratifying the Constitution.  Adam Rutledge and his wife Mary are highly respected political and social leaders in their community, but when Adam returns from an extended visit to Illinois with a different political perspective the couple goes through a stressful period.  Old friends (and North Carolina greats) like Samuel Johnston and Jemmy Lenoir are not pleased with Adam’s new politics. Mary has been in ill health, and the distance between Mary and Adam is compounded by Mary’s devotion to the plantation – Queen’s Gift – that has been in her family for years, while Adam has a vested interest in the success of the western territories.

With the help of new friends Sylvia Hay and Angus Moray, Mary’s health is restored. Adam’s demand for a Bill of Rights helps North Carolina ratify the Constitution and join the Union.  When a late brewing hurricane causes great damage to Queen’s Gift, Mary takes it as a sign to turn her sights to the West.

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Filed under 1950-1959, 1952, Chowan, Coast, Fletcher, Inglis, Historical, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship

Stephen March. Armadillo. Huntsville, TX: Texas Review Press, 2003.

Chuck is renting a rather depressing trailer from his older cousin Cross, who owns and operates the body shop where Chuck works.  Chuck gets into trouble working for his cousin at the body shop, which has a successful after-hours program of stripping and repainting stolen cars.  An unlikely partner named Wanda falls into Chuck’s life, bringing with her mischief, sensuality, whimsy, and a love of animals.

Cross is a violent man with a shady past, and when Chuck begins to stand up to him, Cross takes out his anger on Wanda and her pet armadillo and canary.  Chuck and Wanda retaliate by seeking revenge and a new life far from their Eastern North Carolina trailer park.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Coastal Plain, March, Stephen, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Price, Reynolds. Blue Calhoun. New York: Atheneum, 1992.

Blue Calhoun narrates the story of his adult years in Raleigh during the 1950s from the distance of old age.  He begins his story in his mid-thirties, when he is working at a store that sells sheet music and instruments.  One day at work, an old friend from school stops by the store with her daughter Luna, who is not much older than Blue’s daughter Madelyn.  At 16, Luna is a talented young musician, and her dark hair, good looks, and confidence catch Blue’s interest.  As the story unfolds, Blue has to grapple with his feelings for Luna and wanting to protect his wife and daughter.  Second and third chances can’t prevent how the reverberations of how Blue’s unfaithful actions will affect his family, including his granddaughter, for whom the story is narrated.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1992, Piedmont, Price, Reynolds, Wake

Stephen March. Catbird. Sag Harbor, NY: Permanent Press, 2006.

Zeb Dupree is down on his luck in New Orleans when he finds a one-eyed abandoned puppy in a trash can.  Zeb’s wife is leaving him for another man, his father recently committed suicide, and he just lost his job as a newspaper editor.   In the midst of this mid-life crisis, Zeb heads back to Cedar Springs, North Carolina, the town where he attended college on a scholarship in the 1960s.

The novel alternates between the present and flashbacks of Zeb’s life growing up in the fictional Seaton, N.C.   This emotional shuffling between the past and present intensifies Zeb’s struggling efforts to rebuild his life.   After his return to Cedar Springs, Zeb works as a condo painter and a fiddler in a traveling country-rock band, dates an artist named Jenny, and tries to reconnect with his family.   His family members are also plagued by the loss of their father and the stress experienced by a younger brother who is a Vietnam vet.   Zeb begins to find peace (or at least patience) when he buys the property surrounding his father’s old house and begins to renovate the structure and farm the land.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, March, Stephen, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Margaret Maron. Sand Sharks. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2009.

A professional conference at Wrightsville Beach sounds like just the thing that Judge Deborah Knotts needs.  While her new husband is in Virginia tying up some loose ends of his previous life, Deborah can relax on the beach and catch up with old friends over long, leisurely dinners. There are the usual professional ambitions and jealousies on display, but none of it bothers Deborah until one of her colleagues is murdered.  The deceased was shark who had sullied his robes with unethical behavior.  Now that he’s dead all the other judges are talking about him, but Deborah’s interest in the crime is greater than most after she learns that one of those unethical acts involved a man who was Deborah’s big mistake from her college years.  But it turns out that there are many people in Wilmington connected to the murdered judge, and the suspect list grows accordingly.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coast, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

Maggie Bishop. Murder at Blue Falls: The Horse Found the Body. Boone, NC: High Country Publishers, 2006.

Jemma Chase’s parents own a dude ranch near Boone where she works as a trail leader.   The ranch’s dining hall serves as a gathering place for locals as well as guests, with good food and better gossip.  When a rash of strange crimes begin to happen in town, Detective Tucker and his partner investigate all possible suspects, including Jemma.  The crimes become more serious, and then Jemma’s horse finds a dead body near a trail.  Tucker realizes that Jemma isn’t a suspect, she’s a target.  Jemma’s natural curiousity leads her to play CSI and investigate the crimes on her own in order to help Detective Tucker and the police department find out who is behind the crimes.   Detective Tucker is impressed with Jemma’s moxie, leaving readers to wonder if his desire to serve and protect is purely professional.

This is the third novel in Bishop’s Appalachian Adventure series.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Bishop, Maggie, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship, Watauga

Maggie Bishop. Emeralds in the Snow. Boone, NC: High Country Publishers, 2004.

Emerald Graham, a petite math professor at Appalachian State University, has always had the best of everything – the right clothes, the best schools, the promise of a large inheritance, and plenty of the gemstones she’s named after.  Em decides to take up skiing and after an embarrassing fall, meets Lucky Tucker, a handsome and rugged member of the ski patrol.  Lucky has been working since he was a young boy to help his large, close-knit family make ends meet.  Despite their drastically different lifestyles, Em and Lucky quickly find that they get along well.  After Em finds an old treasure map that used to belong to her grandfather, the two decide to embark on what appears to be an innocent adventure.  When they uncover an old murder and a case of emeralds, the pair opens up a mystery that shakes up both their families.  Will this tension drive them apart or closer together?

This is the second novel in Maggie Bishop’s Appalachian Adventure series, and includes cameo appearances by Wes and Suzanne from Bishop’s first novel, Appalachian Paradise.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Bishop, Maggie, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship, Watauga

Lauralee Bliss. Blue Ridge Brides. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, 2007.

This three-in-one collection tells the love stories of three women living in three very different times across the state.  Lauralee Bliss’ novella, Journey to Love, begins in London, where Beth Colman has just buried her father.   With nothing left for her in Britain, she sets out for America in 1650 with Judith, her sister, and Mark, Judith’s husband.  The trio is trying to solve the mystery of their ancestors who were some of the original settlers of the lost colony of Roanoke, but Beth is looking for more.  Guided by her strong faith, and the hardy John Harris who knows the country well, she just might find love during the journey.

In Lynn A. Coleman’s Corduroy Road to Love, Ida Mae McAuley is strong, single woman with a brilliant mind for business living in 1830s Charlotte.  She’s caught between the affection of two men, both of whom are hiding something.  Ida Mae must use her keen sense to figure out who she’ll trust with her heart.

Tamela Hancock Murray tells the story of a Drusie, a small town singer in the 1930s in her novella The Music of Home.  Drusie is happy and successful in Sunshine Holler – she’s engaged to the love of her life, Gladdie Gordon, and sings at Church on Sunday with her sister.  When Drusie is given the chance to risk it all and enter showbiz, will Drusie leave her mountain home and loved ones behind?

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Bliss, Lauralee, Coast, Coleman, Lynn A., Dare, Historical, Mecklenburg, Mountains, Murray, Tamela Hancock, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship

Maggie Bishop. Appalachian Paradise. Boone, NC: High Country Publishers, 2002.

Suzanne decides to take a break from her workaholic tendencies as a computer programmer for a large Baltimore company and go hiking alone in the Pisgah National Forest.  She’s fiercely independent, driven, and always has a plan.  In fact, her 5-day solo hike is practically planned down to the minute, but all that goes out the window when her concerned uncle sends along an uninvited mountain man named Wes to keep an eye on Suzanne.  Despite Suzanne’s reluctance to let go of her itinerary and the initial tension of hiking with a handsome stranger, Wes manages to teach Suzanne how to slow down and see the forest through the trees.  As their romance grows, Suzanne becomes more aware of past disappointments, especially her relationship with her father who she hasn’t spoken to in over ten years.  When he shows up at one of Wes’ family gatherings, she is forced reconsider her emotional distance and embrace the present.

This is the first novel in Bishop’s Appalachian Adventure Series.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2002, Bishop, Maggie, Mountains, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship, Watauga

Maggie Bishop. The Appalachian Adventure Series.

Maggie Bishop’s action-packed novels are all set in the North Carolina mountains and feature an unforgettable cast of characters.  In her contemporary novels, you’ll find mystery, nature, camping, hiking, skiing, and always a little romance.  The novels are centered around four cousins – Wes, Lucky, Tucker, and Grady.  Bishop’s first two novels feature Wes and Lucky and take place in and around Boone and Appalachian State University while her later two novels take place in Banner Elk and Lees-McRae College.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2010-2019, Bishop, Maggie, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship, Series, Watauga