Category Archives: Camden


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

Z. K. Burrus. Senestre on Vacation. Livingston, AL: Livingston Press, 2011.

Thomas Senestre delights in sarcasm (if he delights in anything), even if his acerbic commentary remains mostly unvoiced. Recently promoted by default to Lieutenant in the Jackson City Police Department, he knows he leads a tepid life at best; that of a rather inept, single, insomniac policeman eking out existence in a cramped, cockroach-infested apartment. His closest friend and drinking partner is the city undertaker, which seems to fit Senestre’s personality perfectly. So Senestre drinks. And snarks.

This existence is rudely interrupted by a plea for help from a woman claiming to be a friend of his wayward mother. Adora Phelps is being stalked, or thinks she is, and begs her friend’s policeman son to come do some snooping of his own. Suspicious and feeling vaguely put-upon, Senestre nonetheless answers her summons to the small Outer Banks town of Pantego, where he encounters irritating locals, the batty Adora, and water (which he hates). Is Adora truly in danger? Will Senestre unwittingly learn who his absent father was? Will he ever manage to fall asleep?

Z.K. Burrus’ brooding debut novel bites its way to a grisly, suspenseful end. Set in locations based on Elizabeth City and Manteo, North Carolina, local readers may not recognize their sunny home state through the sleep-deprived, cryptic eyes of Thomas Senestre, but they will surely chuckle over his dark witticisms.

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


Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Burrus, Z. K., Camden, Coast, Dare, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Pasquotank, Suspense/Thriller