Category Archives: 2001


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. Better Off Dead. New York: Avon Books, 2001.

Casey Jones, Triangle-based Private Investigator and (contrarily) ex-convict, is enjoying a quiet evening at home watching NC State trounce Duke at basketball. That is, until her boyfriend Burly starts haranguing the disconsolate Blue Devils fans from their Durham apartment window. With all the ruckus, Casey almost misses the knock on her door- and may come to wish she had. Her visitor is a terrified cleaning lady, who isn’t worried for herself, but for her employer- the infamous Helen Pugh McInnes. Casey knows a little about Helen: a graduate student who accused a well-respected Duke professor of rape, she lost her case and became a community pariah. Casey comes to learn that the gentle Helen has spent the year since her day in court too afraid to leave her quiet country home, terrorized by perverse phone calls and letters from her rapist, who is clearly still at large. Even venturing onto her front porch leaves her in the throes of a major panic attack. Casey knows right away that she has to help Helen, but since Helen is viewed as a liar and a loose woman, Detective Jones must tread carefully.

Her first move is to protect Helen: Casey’s boyfriend Burly, her lovable yet flabby boss, Bobby, and Bobby’s voluptuous girlfriend and paragon of Southern charm, Fanny, as well as a host of others all take up residence in Helen’s spacious, self-induced prison. Meanwhile, the thirty-something Casey applies a liberal amount of concealer and eyeshadow in order to infiltrate Duke University itself, going undercover as a non-traditional coed. But she isn’t entirely prepared for what she finds. As usual, the case is complicated by unforeseen circumstances: a wide-eyed college boy develops a crush on the gruff Casey, and for some reason it’s more difficult than usual to determine who the rapist really is. But Casey Jones always gets her man…unless this time, he gets to her first.

Readers will be glad to know that this tightly wound narrative deals sensitively with a difficult topic while still maintaining the series’ usual sense of humor. Katy Munger’s cast of misfits, cops, and strange birds is back, with some entertaining new additions. The Duke community will be pleased to note that the author issues a strong statement in the beginning as to the very fictional content of this novel. The UNC and NC State communities will be more satisfied with Duke’s (inevitable?) loss in the opening game.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Durham, Munger, Katy, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Henry Joe Liverman. Taking Stock: Life and Death at Juniper Bay. Columbia, NC: Sweet Bay Tree Books, 2001.

When a baby is coming, preparations can keep the whole family busy.  In Juniper Bay, North Carolina, three children are born around Christmas 1924, much to the delight of their families.  For two of the grandfathers, however, their attention is on making plans for another life event: their deaths.  Carson Calhoun and Titus Paine know that their time is near, so they begin to make arrangements for their families and their legacies.  In the midst of the joy that comes with new life, Carson and Titus are coming to terms with the end of their time on earth with their families.  As the two men make their wishes known, readers are introduced to the colorful townspeople of tiny Juniper Bay.

Furr County is a fictitious place, thought to be based on Tyrrell County.

Taking Stock: Life and Death at Juniper Bay was meant to be the first in the “Juniper Bay” series, but the author died unexpectedly in 2003 before any other books were published.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Coast, Liverman, Henry Joe, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Tyrrell

Cheris Fredricka Hodges. Searching for Paradise. San Jose: Writers Club Press, 2001.

Kenya Washington is just starting out as a journalist.  After a stint in Georgia, she is back in North Carolina, working in Greensboro.  She likes being back in the state where she went to college and feels that she is making some progress in her career, but her love life is stalled.  Her good friend, Drew, a DJ on an Atlanta radio station, is in a similar boat. Drew’s radio show is just taking off, but she is still within the orbit of her college boyfriend, Xavier.  Luckily for Drew, a young doctor has moved into the apartment next to hers.  Drew may find love, but what about Kenya?

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Guilford, Hodges, Cheris F., Mecklenburg, Piedmont

Michael Malone. First Lady. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2001.

When a pair of teenagers found the body of a young woman in the woods on the north side of the Piedmont town of Hillston, there was a tag was affixed to her foot. The tag was addressed to Lt. Justin Saville and asked him to deliver the body to his friend, Chief of Police Cuddy Magnum. It is now several months later and the two policemen have not only failed to find the killer–nicknamed the Guess Who killer by the media–but they have also failed to determine the identity of the woman. Justin and Cuddy face media and community pressure to solve the case, but other complications arise, including the appearance a famous Irish rock star in town, the interference of crooked politicians, and several other murders. This is the third book in the Justin and Cuddy series of mysteries.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Malone, Michael, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Dixie Browning. More to Love. New York: Silhouette, 2001.

Can one week change everything?  Molly Dewhurst thought that a week on Ocracoke Island would help her take the first steps toward turning her life around. Get past her divorce, relax, loose a little weight. It was a reasonable “to do” list, but Molly has trouble focusing on her goals after she meets the handsome Rafe Webber. Their first meeting starts off rocky, but when they try to share the same cottage for a week, the relationship improves. (Of course)

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


Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Browning, Dixie, Coast, Hyde, Romance/Relationship

Dixie Browning. Rocky and the Senator’s Daughter. New York: Silhouette, 2001.

Sarah Jones Sullivan has had a unenviable life.  Her father, an ambitious United States senator, used Sarah as a prop during his political career.  Without a mother or confidantes to guide her, shy Sarah married one of her father’s proteges, Congressman Stanley Sullivan.  When each man’s misbehavior (influence peddling by dad; sexual adventures by the husband) becomes public, Sarah’s life is in shambles. Rocky Waters was a young reporter when he met the teenage Sarah Jones at one of her father’s political events. Now, almost two decades later, Rocky wants to warn Sarah that a scandal-hungry public is about to feast on her life again.  Sarah, now a widow with a secret she wants to hide, is suspicious of Rocky, but since this is a romance novel, suspicion gives way to something else. This is a nice novel of second chances and forgiveness.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Browning, Dixie, Coast, Currituck, Romance/Relationship

Diana Gabaldon. The Fiery Cross. New York: Delacorte Press, 2001.

The second book in the second Outlander trilogy, The Fiery Cross starts with a Gathering of the Clans in 1770 North Carolina. It chronicles the next two years in the lives of time-traveler Claire Fraser, her Highland-born husband Jamie, her daughter Brianna, and her son-in-law Roger as the American Revolution draws nearer. Much of the story’s action takes place in the mountains of North Carolina, but as troubles in the colonies increase, some of the characters’ militia obligations take them around the state and others travel in search of safety. The title is not a reference to the Ku Klux Klan, but rather a reference to the Scottish tradition of burning a cross to rally clansmen during times of war.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Gabaldon, Diana, Historical, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Joan Medlicott. The Gardens of Covington. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2001.

The “Ladies” have been living in Covington for just over a year and although they have settled into their home, they’re not so sure they are truly accepted by their neighbors. Each of the women faces her own trials, tribulations, and triumphs: Hannah works in her greenhouse and takes up an environmental cause, Grace opens a tearoom with her gentleman friend Bob (who wants to build a house on the ladies’ land), and Amelia works on her photography and falls for a mysterious man. The ladies also befriend the lonely and elderly Miss Lurina Masterson and face developers from Georgia who want to ruin their beloved Cove Road with a slew of new condominiums. This is the second book in Medlicott’s Covington series.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Medlicott, Joan, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia Takes Over. New York: Viking, 2001.

At the opening of Miss Julia Takes Over, Hazel Marie Puckett disappears after a dinner-date in Asheville with Abbotsville’s new fundraiser. Although Hazel Marie was the mistress of Julia’s now-deceased husband, she and her son Lloyd are now part of Julia’s family and the upstanding widow is determined to find her. Since the police won’t help, Julia enlists the assistance of a beer-drinking, womanizing private eye. Her search brings her all around North Carolina and has her meeting a NASCAR driver outside Rockingham, whose missing property is connected to Hazel Marie’s disappearance. Readers of the first novel in the Miss Julia series will be familiar with the cast of supporting characters, including Miss Lillian, Sam Murdoch, Pastor Ledbetter, and televangelist Brother Vernon Puckett.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Henderson, Humor, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Ross, Ann B.