Category Archives: Henderson


Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia to the Rescue. New York: Viking, 2012.

Change is on the way. Even though Miss Julia has known all along that Lloyd (her late husband’s love child) would leave her cozy nest someday, she never expected to dread it so much. To cope, she takes on a fun project: renovating the house for when her husband, Sam, returns from the Holy Land.

Just as Miss Julia has settled into her summer routine, she receives an ominous phone call. It sounds like it is from Mr. Pickens, a private investigator who is away on the job, but the connection is lost before she can confirm it. Knowing that Hazel Marie, his wife, is worried about his well-being after not hearing from him, Miss Julia embarks on an expedition to find him. She picks up Etta Mae Wiggins on the way out of Abbotsville, and the two women soon find themselves in the backwoods of West Virginia. When the local sheriff refuses to give them any information about their friend, our steel magnolia performs a jail– er, hospital-break to get the injured Mr. Pickens back to North Carolina.

Even though everyone is back in their proper places, all is not well. The West Virginia lawman is sure to follow the trio back to question Mr. Pickens, and that could mean trouble for Miss Julia and Etta Mae. A strange local has returned to town, and she has set her sights on hijacking Miss Julia’s carpenter, Adam. Worse than stealing her talented worker, Miss Julia fears this New Age religious leader is trying to influence his thinking. As always, Abbotsville is lucky to have Miss Julia save the day!

Miss Julia to the Rescue is the thirteenth novel in the “Miss Julia” series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Henderson, Humor, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Ross, Ann B.

Travis Thrasher. Gravestone. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2011.

Chris Buckley still isn’t sure whether or not he survived the ritual murder of his true love. He’s walking and breathing, but something inside feels dead. Unfortunately, life goes on as usual (or unusual) in the strange and sinister town of Solitary, North Carolina. In this sequel to Solitary and the second book in the Solitary Tales, Chris finds himself swept along in the daily grind with the rest of the kids at Harrington High– taking classes, eating lunch, and getting picked on by the school bully. His mother still struggles with alcoholism and depression following her divorce, but she manages to bring in a steady income and even finds Chris a part-time job. On the outside, Chris looks and acts like any other teenager.

However, unlike his compatriots, Chris’s goals have nothing to do with going to college or getting good grades. He has one thing on his mind: exposing Solitary’s evil, embodied by Pastor Jeremiah Marsh, to the world. The problem with this is that the Devil in Solitary is strong and watches Chris unceasingly. Bad things have happened in the past to those who have tried to root it out, and if Chris keeps pushing, he might be next. Thankfully, Chris isn’t alone in his fight, but he isn’t sure who to trust: Iris, the strange old lady who runs the inn where he works? Jared, his long-lost cousin? Poe, who used to be Jocelyn’s best friend? Sheriff Wells, who once told Chris to come to him with anything? As before, no one is forthcoming, and Chris must make his way blindly forward, hoping that this time, his decisions won’t result in his own or anyone else’s death. But evil is strong, and that hope may be in vain.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Children & Young Adults, Henderson, Horror, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational, Thrasher, Travis

Travis Thrasher. Solitary. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2010.

Chris Buckley is dealing with a lot for a 16-year-old: first his parents divorced, and now Chris and his mother have moved from Chicago to the small town of her girlhood in the rural North Carolina mountains. Solitary, North Carolina is as different from Chicago as night from day– here Chris and his mother live in a three-room cabin without internet access or television, and the center of town is small enough to fit into one city block. Chris is miserable at the town high school, where he manages to get on the wrong side of the school bully and his posse, can’t find his classes, and everyone stares at him constantly. But Solitary has one thing Chicago doesn’t: Jocelyn Evans.

Jocelyn is the most beautiful girl in Solitary, the most beautiful girl Chris has ever seen. Although she first ignores him and then treats him with disdainful politeness, he can’t help but keep trying to befriend her. Little by little, her icy exterior thaws, and he starts to see the real Jocelyn, who is kind, spirited–and fears for her life. Chris doesn’t understand what she’s so afraid of, but the rest of the school seems to know. Only no one’s talking, and when Chris tries to solve the mystery on his own, things get ugly quickly.

There are cryptic, anonymous notes warning him to stay away from Jocelyn, strange dogs haunting the woods behind his house, and the stares of his new classmates now seem more sinister than curious. There’s something strange about the church everyone attends, as well, especially Jeremiah  Marsh, the charismatic pastor. Everyone in town seems to take the time to tell Chris that he and his mom don’t belong here, they’re outsiders, and they had better keep their heads down if they know what’s good for them. But no one tells Chris Buckley what to do, and he refuses to give up his precious relationship with Jocelyn, even if it means his destruction. Which it surely will, because the Devil is alive and well in Solitary.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Children & Young Adults, Henderson, Horror, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Thrasher, Travis

Mark de Castrique. The Sandburg Connection. Scottsdale, AZ: Poisoned Pen Press, 2011.

As this novel opens, Blackman and Robertson are working on a routine surveillance case for an insurance company.  Has that UNC-Asheville professor really been disabled by a recent back surgery, or is she trying to pull a fast one? When Sam sees her heading for a hike up Glassy Mountain, he follows with his camera, hoping to get evidence that will sink her case.  Instead, after Sam hears the woman yell “NO!” he rushes to her, only to find her barely clinging to life after a hard fall.

Janice Wainwright does not survive the fall. Feeling that Sam is under suspicion, Sam and Nakayla begin to investigate all aspects of the professor’s life.  She is survived by a teenage daughter, a sister who was distant and disapproving, and a colleague with whom she shares a painful history.  Teenage Wendy is distraught but reluctant to accept her aunt’s comfort.  Instead, Wendy throws herself into the care of her pet goat, a goat that is related to the ones kept by the poet Carl Sandburg when he lived near Glassy Mountain.  As in the previous Sam Blackman mysteries, this is a tale that weaves very contemporary interests with the history and literary culture of the Asheville area.  Even when the outlines of the mystery becomes clear, this book still contains surprises that will delight Sandburg fans, history buffs, and those who enjoy a good mystery.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, deCastrique, Mark, Henderson, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series

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

Bobbie Pyron. A Dog’s Way Home. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2011.

Abby Whistler, age eleven, knows that Tam is her true north star. It doesn’t matter that Tam is a Sheltie; nothing feels more right than when they are together. But then the unthinkable happens: a terrible accident, and Tam and Abby are separated with hundreds of miles dividing them. Still, Abby refuses to stop believing that her Tam will return, and the little Sheltie, filled with an indomitable spirit, will do anything to see his girl again.  Both Tam and Abby make new friends, encounter heartbreak, and discover their strength as they desperately attempt to reunite.

Bobbie Pyron has crafted a novel filled with the magic and dangerous beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and its inhabitants- an inspiring tale of determination and the power of love. Although highly suspenseful, this heartwarming tale will delight both parents and children, and you will cheer for the intrepid Abby Whistler and her true north star, the sweet and soulful Tam.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Caldwell, Children & Young Adults, Henderson, Mountains, Pyron, Bobbie, Suspense/Thriller, Transylvania, Watauga

Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle. New York: Viking, 2011.

Everyone in Miss Julia’s household has been preparing for the birth of Hazel Marie’s twins.  Hazel Marie has moved into the bedroom on the first floor, Etta Mae has agreed to help out when the babies are born, and copious amounts of baby supplies have been bought.  But Mother Nature has her plans too.  In one of the funniest scenes in this series of books, the twins are born in Miss Julia’s living room during a blizzard.  Miss Julia practically passes out from the shock, but Lillian takes charge, and the babies are delivered safely.

J.D., the babies’ father, and Miss Julia’s husband, Sam, miss the excitement, since they are both in Raleigh on business.  They return to a household in turmoil.  The babies are not nursing well, and no one is getting enough sleep. Just when the babies settle down, another problem arises.  A body has been found in a nearby toolshed.  Since the body was found on the property of Lloyd’s teacher, Miss Petty, Miss Julia can’t resist poking around.  She soon wishes she hadn’t.  The dead man is someone Miss Julia had financial dealings with–dealings that Sam did not know about–and this is the last straw for Sam. Suddenly, Miss Julia’s marriage appears to be on the rocks, and this shakes our heroine to her core.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Henderson, Humor, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Ross, Ann B.

Leanna Sain. Return to Nowhere. Kingsport, TN: Twilight Times Books, 2009.

Twenty-two years have passed since Emma Franklin walked through an iron gate to enter 1827 and to leave 2004 and her “modern-day” life behind forever. In that time, has married Gavin MacKinley, had six children, and never regretted crossing into a new century.

Now her tomboyish eighteen-year old daughter, Charlotte, has become transfixed by the magical gate. Charlotte is at a crossroads in her life. She’s known as “Doc Charlie” to everyone in MacKinley, North Carolina, and becoming a physician has always been her dream. Unfortunately, the Boston medical school where she hoped to go rejects her. Charlie’s parents tell her that she is to marry James MacGregor, the Scottish nephew of Gavin’s best friend, who they have never met. And the MacKinleys’ land is threatened by their aggressive neighbors, the Freemans. Sadly, the Freemans’ extreme measures result in the deaths of two of Charlie’s closest confidants.

Charlie feels the need to escape the pressure and heartache of the last few days. She decides to pass through the gate during the full moon intending to learn medicinal practices of early Cherokees. After spending a few days in 1819 learning about Indian herbal remedies (and warning her new friends of the Trail of Tears), Charlie returns home just as typhoid fever breaks out in MacKinley. She must put her new skills to the test, which means tending to the hated Freemans. When the fear and illness pass, Charlie has a chance to meet MacKinley’s new pastor – Jamie MacGregor! They quickly become devoted to each other, and Charlie is able to enjoy her two loves: medicine and Jamie.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Henderson, Historical, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Sain, Leanna, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Leanna Sain. Gate to Nowhere. Kingsport, TN: Twilight Times Books, 2008.

“Before I tell you anything, Gavin, I want to assure you that I’m not crazy. I’m not an escapee from an asylum, and I’m not a witch. I’m just me. My name is Emma Jane Franklin. I’m thirty-four years old; my birthday is April 6… 1970.”

Emma Franklin has been in Nowhere, North Carolina, for a few days when she reluctantly begins to tell her host, Gavin MacKinlay, the story of how she arrived. Gavin can hardly believe his ears – how can someone from the twenty-first century be in his apple orchard? He is transfixed by her beauty, charm, and interest in him and his property; this leads him to believe that she is not lying to him. If what she is saying is true, Emma passed through the gate during a full moon in 2004 to arrive on his plantation in 1827.

Although the thought of traveling through time is shocking enough, Emma gives Gavin some very startling news. In a few days time, the community, which has decided to rename their settlement “MacKinlay” out of admiration of his successes, will suddenly turn on him. Because Emma knows the future, she knows that generations of MacKinlay residents have cursed Gavin’s name, but neither she nor Gavin understand why. Equipped with the information Emma does have, they work together to prevent the events that caused this rift and thus change the course of history.

When the month has passed and the moon is full again, Emma is able to walk through the gate to get back to 2004. Once there, she finds neighbors who are genuinely friendly and who are proud to tout their town’s history. However, Emma is torn. She misses Gavin, who she found to be an honest, gentle person. She finds she likes the practices of the nineteenth century and has no desire to stay in this century. Emma must choose which life to live, although this time, if she passed through the gate, there can be no turning back.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Henderson, Historical, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Sain, Leanna, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Rose Senehi. The Wind in the Woods. Vilas, NC: Canterbury House Publishing, 2010.

Jack “Tiger” Morrison is an honorable man.  He has balanced the competing demands of family and his strong environmental creed. Together, he and his wife, Susan, created a family and started a successful camp for children in North Carolina’s Green River Valley.  Susan has been dead for some time, the victim of a drunk driver, but his daughter Sammy helps him run the camp.

Tiger’s love of the camp and love of nature is as strong as ever, but lately he can’t help but notice that the property around the camp is being bought by developers. How can he hold on to the camp–should he even try? What does Sammy want?  Tiger has a feeling that this will come to a head soon, but he is unprepared for the other developments of this eventful summer when a serial killer is stalking women in the mountains.  Senehi mixes difficult and horrifying elements–the murders and the threats to Tiger’s way of life–with warm elements such as a young camper’s growth and a pair of romances.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Henderson, Mountains, Senehi, Rose, Suspense/Thriller