Category Archives: 1925


Claude C. Washburn. The Green Arch. New York: Albert & Charles Boni, 1925.

Arthur Holland is a World War I veteran suffering from a failed romance and what we would now call PTSD.  In an attempt to sort himself out, he rents a cabin outside of Beckett, North Carolina.  The cabin is nothing special, but its location is spectacular.  The agent from whom he rents the cabin provides Holland with a well-trained, spirited horse, Cham.  Soon Holland is taking long rides into the woods.  On one such ride he comes upon an enormous rhododendron, rooted in a brook.  When Holland passes under the rhododendron he feels as though he has entered an enchanted land.  Soon things happen–enchanting and otherwise–as Holland makes friends with a mysterious old man and his beautiful granddaughter and  experiences hospitality unimaginable in such a remote location.  But he also has a dust-up with a band of malevolent mountaineers who may be shadowing him on his rides.  Throughout these days of adventure, Holland still feels detached from the dangers and beauty he encounters until his foolish curiosity puts a young woman in peril.

Tryon, North Carolina is thought to be the model for Beckett. In this novel, the mountains of Polk County are portrayed as wild and dangerous.

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

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Filed under 1920-1929, 1925, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Polk, Washburn, Charles C.

James Hay, Jr. The Bellamy Case. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1925.

Stokes Jackson is a slick political operative who comes down to Asheville from New York to run Wayne Gilmore’s state senate campaign. It’s the early 1920s and women have just gotten the right to vote, so a key part of Jackson’s strategy is to persuade women to vote for his candidate.  However, Gilmore’s opponent is a woman, Joan Bellamy.  Jackson’s first thought is to throw mud on Bellamy, but before he can do that he is murdered.  The whole Bellamy family comes under suspicion.  Only with the help of a detective is Joan able to prove her innocence, and as the novel ends her personal and professional futures look quite bright.

Because there were two factual errors early in the book (Asheville is not in Orange County and Marshall, not Madison, is the county seat of Madison County), I was ready to dismiss this novel, assuming that the author hadn’t spent much time in the state. In fact, James Hay Jr. spent over a decade in Asheville, working some of that time at the Asheville Citizen.  And, in 1920, a woman, Lillian Exum Clement, was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly from Buncombe County.

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

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Filed under 1920-1929, 1925, Buncombe, Hay, James, Madison, Mountains, Mystery

James Boyd. Drums. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925.

This book can lay claim to being the classic Revolutionary War novel for North Carolina.  At the start of the novel the main character, John Fraser, is a young everyman from the pine woods.  After he is given the opportunity for an education in Edenton, he becomes a gentleman, loyal to the Crown and a bit of a ladies’ man.  Johnny hears the complaints of the colonists and sees the English exercise their authority with arrogance, but he feels only confusion, not a real change in his loyalties.  Only when he crosses the ocean to live in London does his political allegiance shift.  Fraser does a favor for John Paul Jones and later joins Jones aboard the Bonhomme Richard.  When he returns to North Carolina, Johnny is a strong Patriot and ready to settle down with his first and truest love.

A later edition of the book has illustrations by N.C. Wyeth.

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

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Filed under 1920-1929, 1925, Boyd, James, Chowan, Coast, Historical