Category Archives: 2000


Lights, Camera, Novel: Catherine Marshall’s Christy.

Christy TV SeriesSome of the best stories originate from real life, like Catherine Marshall’s 1967 novel Christy. Marshall was inspired to write her famous book based on the experiences of her mother, Leonora Whitaker, who left her family and home in North Carolina to teach at a mission school in the Appalachian Mountains in 1909. After Marshall and her parents later visited the mission school in Del Rio, Tennessee in the late fifties, Marshall wanted to tell her mother’s story. Many elements in Christy are rooted in fact. Marshall conducted extensive research into Appalachian life and culture, so even the fictionalized aspects of the novel are still well-founded.

Twenty-seven years later, Christy was developed into a TV series, which debuted on Easter Sunday on CBS. True to the novel, the show was filmed in Tennessee. Kellie Martin portrayed Christy. Tyne Daly won an Emmy for her supporting role as Alice Henderson, a Quaker missionary, and LeVar Burton joined the cast in season two. Fans of Marshall’s novel enjoyed the series, though their satisfaction was short-lived. Executives canceled the show soon after the season two finale was shot. Twenty-one episodes were filmed in all.

Viewers were upset about the cancellation because the season two series finale ended on a cliffhanger with Christy split between two very different men vying for her affection, the rugged Dr. Neil MacNeil and the handsome Reverend David Grantland. Seeking resolution, fans wrote to CBS requesting that the show be put back on the air. Five years later, in 2000, PAX network (since renamed Ion) continued the unresolved plot line in a made-for-TV movie. Some of the same actors reprised their roles, but Christy was recast using an unknown actor, Lauren Lee Smith. Three TV movies adapting Marshall’s novel were released between 2000 and 2001 giving fans the closure they were denied in the canceled TV series. The movies — Christy: Return to Cutter Gap, Christy: A Change of Seasons and Christy: A New Beginning — were filmed primarily in Canada.

Lauren Lee Smith as Christy

A book cover with Lauren Lee Smith as Christy.

Christy still boasts an active fan base. Starting in 1997, enthusiasts of the novel and TV show have met to discuss their fascination for Christy. The annual meeting was dubbed “ChristyFest,” and it often occurs in Townsend, Tennessee, the filming location of the TV show. This year ChristyFest will be held May 23-25 in Del Rio, Tennessee. From the ChristyFest site, it appears that registration will open soon.

No doubt, Christy has captured the attention of loyal fans, and the love triangle between the main characters is a big draw. In writing this post, I found evidence of a Neil and Christy fan site with photos from the TV show and the TV movies, interviews with cast members, episode guides, and analysis and more. There are also special fan fiction sites and some fictionalized Twitter accounts created from the perspectives of Christy, Neil, David, and Alice.

Catherine Marshall is recognized as a Christian writer. The Christy Awards were created to acknowledge Christian fiction writers and the three Christy TV movies were backed by the support of the now defunct PAX network, which focused on “family-based” programming. It appears that Inspiration Network, or INSP TV, currently broadcasts episodes from the Christy TV series. INSP headquarters are in the Charlotte metro area.

Kellie Martin as Christy

An audiobook cover with Kellie Martin as Christy.

Read the original blog post on Catherine Marshall’s Christy here. The complete TV series is available through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog along with the original novel and an audiobook version of the novel read by Kellie Martin.

Sources consulted here: Christianity Today, The Christy Awards, ChristyFest site and blog, Christy Fan Fiction, IMDb, Inspiration Networks/INSP TV, Neil and Christy fan site, Twitter (see paragraph above for the specific accounts), Wikipedia (Catherine Marshall, Christy [novel], Christy [TV series])

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2000-2009, 2001, Buncombe, Historical, Marshall, Catherine, Mountains, Novels by Region, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship

Katy Munger. Bad to the Bone. New York: Avon Books, 2000.

Casey Jones is doing well: despite being an (unfairly convicted) ex-con, she has established herself as one of the Triangle’s premiere, if unofficial, private investigators. But when Tawny Bledsoe walks through her door, she gets a bad feeling. At first, Casey attributes this to the fact that the pale, fragile-looking Tawny is black and blue all over, and claims that her ex-husband first beat her, then stole their four-year-old daughter. Ms. Bledsoe begs Casey to get her child back, and with her special interest in wronged women, Raleigh’s toughest cookie is on the case. However, Tawny’s story begins to look suspicious after Casey easily tracks down the ex, and instead of a wife-beating kidnapper, finds a reputable Wake County Commissioner and devoted father who is a respected member of the African-American community. When Tawny’s $1,000 check bounces, Casey is convinced she’s been had in a spiteful divorcée’s spat. But then Tawny’s current beau (a scummy car mechanic named Boomer) turns up murdered, and Casey knows there’s more to the situation than simple fraud. As the P.I. snoops around, she uncovers several unsavory parts of Tawny: the cocaine addict, the blackmailer, and the abusive parent. When Casey’s no-good ex-husband Jeff gets involved, things quickly move from bad to worse, and the gloves come off as Casey goes to all lengths to put Tawny behind bars where she belongs.

Fans of the feisty, self-starting Casey Jones will enjoy this adventure, in which the fallible but lovable heroine faces a type of villain she hasn’t encountered  before, as well as turmoil in her romantic life,  but also puts some old troubles to rest.

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


Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Chatham, Durham, Munger, Katy, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wake

Zolene. Ecstasy’s Angel. New York: Xlibris, 2000.

In the years following the Civil War, the fiery Katherine St. Clair is a beautiful young woman who is tragically orphaned when her father and stepmother are killed in a bandit-induced train accident. Because Katherine’s stepmother was a malicious woman who squandered away her husband’s wealth and accrued enormous amounts of debt, the extensive St. Clair estate near Wilmington, North Carolina must be sold. The St. Clair family’s sympathetic barrister takes care of all the arrangements, not wanting to hurt the emotionally traumatized young woman further. But Katherine’s trials have just begun.

One dark and stormy night, she takes in a wounded young man, not realizing that he is both the new owner of her ancestral home and a former Yankee captain. Brandon Morgan is handsome, passionate, and completely delirious with fever. Katherine nurses him back to health, all the while fighting her growing attraction to him. Although unintended, the two eventually spend the night together. Brandon, still fevered, is convinced that he has met an angel. Katherine, distressed at her deflowering, sends him to a nearby hospital, determined to forget his name. Besides, her stepbrother, the tall, dark and sultry Ramon Van Marcus, has returned; together they hatch plan to marry in order to receive their small inheritance. But Katherine cannot avoid Brandon Morgan forever, or his determination to find and possess the woman he thinks of as his angel.

Readers of romance novels will be fascinated by Zolene’s highly dramatic interpretation of Reconstruction in this, her debut novel. The portrayal of race and gender are true to nineteenth century opinions, but this does not stop the novel from being a steamy bodice-ripper of the most exciting kind.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Coast, Historical, New Hanover, Romance/Relationship, Zolene

Dixie Land. Second Chances. Kernersville, NC: Alabaster Books, 2006.

Grace Garrett is thrown for a loop when she stops by her husband’s law office one night and finds an office assistant, half-dressed, on his desk. Can it be that her husband of twenty-plus years has been carrying on with this young woman?  When the woman is murdered, Grace is not the only one who wants an answer to this question.

Second Chances follows Grace as she attempts to juggle her responsibilities as a mother, daughter, wife, and friend with her investigations into her husband’s life and the history of the dead woman.  There are many twists and turns before Grace learns the full story and builds a new life for herself off the foundations of her years as Mrs. Andrew Garrett.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2006, Forsyth, Land, Dixie, Mystery, Piedmont

Richard L. Brown and Mikal H. El-Amin. 187 Iz an Art. Long Beach, CA: Double-Up Publishing, 2009.

When this novel opens, Kamikaze (Kaze) and his cousin Killa are in their teens, but already hustling.  Kaze is close to his mother, but she is in prison. Killa’s mother, Pam, is nominally responsible for both boys, but she is an alcoholic who can’t be counted on.  The cousins have just each other.  As they become better and bolder at hustling, they attract the attention of others, and they put together a drug organization, 187 CRU.  The book follows their exploits as they add members, take over territory, make connections with higher ups in the drug trade, and battle rival dealers for control of Durham’s streets.  The action, well described, comes fast and furious, and the body count is high.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2009, Brown, Richard L., Durham, El-Amin, Mikal H, Piedmont, Urban Fiction

Lynne Hinton. Friendship Cake. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000.

Membership in the Hope Springs Community Church Women’s Guild is waning, and the few remaining devoted members would like to find a way to revitalize the group. Beatrice Newgarden suggests that the women compile a cookbook in an effort to raise money and to become more connected with each other. As the women get together to share recipes and discuss the trials of such a large task, they discover how much they depend on each other and how unique their community is. Together, they experience the pain of losing dear friends as well as the joys of rekindled love and new life.

Friendship Cake is Lynn Hinton’s first book in her Hope Springs series.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Hinton, Lynne, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational

Sandra E. Bowen. This Day’s Madness. New York: iUniverse, 2000.

Trapeze artist Frankie is the young, orphaned star of the Doub Circus. When Frankie’s parents died they left her in the care of the circus owner and he and the other performers became her family. That Frankie is African American does not matter to them, but since she can pass as white, it is kept a secret in order to avoid controversy. On the circus’s first trip into the South, Frankie’s background is revealed and she is taken from the circus by members of the Granston, NC community. She is placed in an orphanage but after standing up for herself to a cruel authority figure, she is moved to a reform school. Eventually she is adopted, renamed Thomasena, and allowed to finish growing up outside institutions, but it is more than six years before she is free to leave Granston again.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Bowen, Sandra E., Historical, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Joyce and Jim Lavene. One Last Goodbye. New York: Avalon Books, 2000.

According to local legend, Navy Captain Billy Bost crashed his plane into Diamond Mountain Lake in 1944. More than 50 years later a Pulitzer Prize winning author comes to the mountain town of Diamond Mountain determined to find the plane, but he disappears and is found dead a few days later. Once the plane is raised, the police discover that the World War II pilot died of a gunshot wound, not the crash. Now Sheriff Sharyn Howard has to discover who killed the pilot and who killed the author writing about him. This is the second book in the Sharyn Howard series of mysteries.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Montgomery, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Mac Sherman Harris. Leaving Levittown. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2000.

The town of South Shore in fictional Walter County has a growing population of transplanted Northerners who headed south to retire and this has created significant tension between the newcomers and their neighbors. After a newly elected state senator is killed by a sniper while golfing, two local detectives become frustrated by a lack of evidence in the case. The victim’s widow is a suspect, as is a local man who hates all the town’s northerners, but both claim to be innocent. The waters are muddied even further as information about the victim’s past begins to surface.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Coast, Harris, Mac Sherman, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Sarah Shaber. Snipe Hunt. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2000.

Raleigh professor and “forensic historian” Simon Shaw was supposed to be spending his Thanksgiving week relaxing at Pearlie Beach, but he agreed to help his friend look for archaeological evidence of a Tuscarora village while he was there. What he did not agree to was investigating the corpse of a World War II diver dredged up off the coast. Confederate gold coins found with the body deepen the mystery and soon Simon is trying to determine if the Navy frogman drowned accidentally or was murdered. This novel is full of information and speculation about ships and shipwrecks, from Confederate blockade runners to German U-boats.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Coast, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Shaber, Sarah