Category Archives: 1992


Diane Chamberlain. Keeper of the Light. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

In this first installment of a trilogy set in the fictional town of Kiss River on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Chamberlain introduces her readers to the O’Neill family. A talented artist, Annie Chase O’Neill is revered by the locals. Playfully known as Saint Anne, her light, energy, and caring for others has given unfathomable gifts to the community. Dr. Olivia Simon, new to the area, has never met the famed Saint Anne, and is shocked to realize that the woman’s heart she literally holds in her hand one fateful Christmas Eve at the Kiss River Emergency Room belongs to her. Shot directly through the heart, Olivia knows immediately that the only chance to save the woman’s life is to attempt surgery, even though her staff would feel more comfortable air-lifting Annie to a larger facility. In spite of all of Olivia’s best efforts, Annie dies on the table, leaving behind a grieving husband and children. But this is just the beginning.

Olivia’s journalist husband, Paul, has been obsessed with Annie ever since he and Olivia moved to Kiss River from Washington, DC. Olivia thinks that his fixation began with an interview he did with Annie for the local paper, but as this story unfolds through present revelations and past reflection, we find that Paul and Annie’s relationship went much deeper than Olivia knew. Olivia’s marriage in ruins, the situation is further complicated when Annie’s handsome widower, Alec O’Neill, comes looking for answers about that night in the ER. Soon a complicated love square forms between Olivia, Alec, Paul, and Annie’s shade. In the center of it all is the Kiss River Lighthouse: a symbol of all that Annie loved and was. The lighthouse is scheduled to be moved in order to make way for construction, and both Alec and Paul throw themselves into the committee dedicated to saving it. Meanwhile, Olivia slips further and further into Annie’s life, becoming obsessed with understanding what made this woman so special. As the three adults circle slowly around Annie’s memory, it becomes increasingly clear that Annie and Alec’s troubled 14-year-old daughter Lacey, the spitting image of her murdered mother, is the one they should be watching.

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


1 Comment

Filed under 1990-1999, 1992, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, Dare, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Barbara Neely. Blanche on the Lam. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992.

Barbara Neely was sharing insights about the lives of African American women who earn their livings as domestic workers long before The Help hit bookstores.  In this first novel in a four book series, Blanche White, feisty and forty-something, takes a week-long job with a rich family as a way to hide out after she is sentenced to jail on a bad-check charge.  The family are off to their country house in Hokeyville, a good distance from the Durham County jail where Blanche is supposed to spend the next thirty days.  Not that time with the Mumsfields doesn’t feel like a sentence.  The family matriach, Aunt Emmeline, is in decline and family members are circling like vultures to get their hands on her money.  But there are other things going on too–the suicide of the local sheriff, the death of the family’s long-time gardener, and Aunt Em’s disappearance. Curious and observant by nature, Blanche decides that she has to get to the bottom of it all.  What she finds is multiple  murders–and a family that will pay her to go far away.

Blanche on the Lam is listed as one of the  20 Essential Novels for African-American Women. See the whole list at


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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 1990-1999, 1992, Mystery, Neely, Barbara, Novels in Series, Piedmont

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.

Leave a Comment

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

Margaret Maron. Bootlegger’s Daughter. New York: Mysterious Press, 1992.

Lawyer Deborah Knott is a modern southern woman, but as the only daughter of a notorious, retired bootlegger, she still has one foot in the traditions of the old south. After one of the local judges is particularly and unnecessarily harsh on one of her partner’s clients, she decides to run for a seat as district judge in Colleton County. The campaign is a hard one, but Deborah is also distracted by her large family and gets tangled up in trying to resolve the 18-year old unsolved murder of a neighbor. The first in the Deborah Knott series of mysteries, Bootlegger’s Daughter also won four of the major mystery awards: the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, & Macavity Awards.

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

1 Comment

Filed under 1990-1999, 1992, Coastal Plain, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Randall Kenan. Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992.

Randall Kenan introduced readers to the fictional town of Tims Creek in his 1989 novel A Visitation of Spirits and continued its story in his second book, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. Its twelve short stories are connected by the town, a cast of recurring characters, and the themes of death, sex, and poverty. The title story is a parody of a scholarly article, complete with a deceased fictional author and extensive footnotes. Let the Dead Bury Their Dead was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the Lambda Award.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 1990-1999, 1992, Coastal Plain, Kenan, Randall, Novels Set in Fictional Places