Category Archives: Craven


A Walk to Remember: Nicholas Sparks’ New Bern

The WeddingWant to walk in the footsteps of some of your favorite Nicholas Sparks lovers? The City of New Bern has designed a “Walk to Remember Tour” based around three of Sparks’ novels: A Bend in the Road, The Wedding, and The Notebook. The tour is self-guided and highlights fifteen spots around New Bern. A copy of the tour guide is available on the City of New Bern website along with a short video showing a glimpse of Nicholas Sparks’ new home.                          The Notebook

Although not a North Carolinian by birth, Nicholas Sparks has lived in New Bern for many years, and as his fans are probably well aware, Sparks has been heavily influenced by the state. All seventeen of his novels are set in various locations around North Carolina, predominantly in small cities and towns and around the coast. Sparks has also influenced North Carolina. He and his wife established the Epiphany School of Global Studies and donated a track to New Bern High School.

A Bend in the RoadNew Bern, the second oldest town in North Carolina and birth place of Pepsi, boasts a lot of state firsts: movie theater, printing press, public bank, bookstore, postal service, capital. The town has more than 150 sites officially recorded in the National Register of Historic Places. With spring break coming up, Nicholas Sparks fans and history buffs might be interested in mingling fact with fiction in New Bern.

Read some of the blog’s past posts on Nicholas Sparks novels here.

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Filed under Coast, Craven, Romance/Relationship, Sparks, Nicholas

David C. Corbett. A Good Marine’s Murder. New York: iUniverse, 2006.

When Colonel Jack Adams’s Harriet jet crashes while on a routine training mission, the brass at the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, North Carolina tap Colonel Dan Breakheart to lead the investigation.  Moments before the crash, Col. Adams reported that the engine was decelerating.  When the standard emergency procedures failed to correct the problem, Adams knew he had to eject, and that’s when he found out that the ejection seat didn’t work.  Breakheart thinks that the probability that one plane would have two such problems is low, so he suspects sabotage.  While Breakheart and his team painstakingly examine the remains of the plane, another officer is murdered.  Once again, Breakheart does not believe that this is a coincidence. Dogged investigation and a bit of daring-do enable him to crack the case.

David Corbett flew fighter jets for twenty-eight years, and readers who share this background will appreciate the details, terminology, and slang related to flying that are embedded in the storytelling.  At the back of the book, the author thoughtfully provides definitions for those unfamiliar with flying terminology.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Coast, Corbett, David C., Craven, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller

Jimmy C. Waters. The Bender Legacy. Toccoa, GA: Currahee Books, 2011.

The story of the Bender Family, begun in Waters’s New Bern: 1710 in the Carolinas, continues in this account of the Civil War in and around the family’s hometown of New Bern, North Carolina. Since Martin Bender built the family plantation in the 18th century, life has been good for the Benders- they have become successful cotton farmers and dry goods merchants. This novel begins in 1854 at the deathbed of John Knox Bender, the current Bender patriarch, as he instructs his sons in a shocking legacy passed down from father to son since Martin’s time. John Knox’s three sons, Philemon, Bryan, and Jake, are as different as can be: Philemon, the eldest, is boisterous and commanding, while Bryan, the middle son, is a quiet, bookish young man with a crippled arm. Jake, the youngest, is the sharply intelligent first mate on a ship transporting cotton to Britain. Although each reacts differently to their father’s surprising command, they all agree to honor his wish and keep the family legacy.

Soon, though, they will be tested. The dying John Knox Bender foresees what none of the rest can imagine: war will strike the South in just six short years. As the three sons scatter to the winds in an attempt to defend their homes and homeland, we accompany them to witness the war in different places: from the trenches on battlefields, through the eyes of a blockade runner out to sea, and where the conflict was perhaps the most brutal: on the farms and homesteads of Southern families. As these young men and their compatriots fight for their lives and for everything else they hold dear, some will emerge from the conflict, while others will fall.

Half history and half historical fiction, Jimmy C. Waters weaves statistics, facts, and a plethora of imaginary characters together in this stirring sequel to New Bern. Witness every battle that took place during the War Between the States in North Carolina, on the front lines with the brothers Bender.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Craven, Historical, Waters, Jimmy C.

Deborah Wallis. Child’s Play. New Bern, NC: McBryde Publishing, 2011.

The subject matter of this book is every parent’s worst nightmare: the kidnapping of children by a pedophile ring. When Abby Weaver sees the Amber Alert message for a missing boy on her television, she wants to take action. Abby joins the group of volunteers looking for Garrett Morrow, hoping to give back to the community some of the kindness that she experienced when her husband died six months ago.  When another young boy is kidnapped and Garrett’s body is found, Abby’s thoughts turn to something else.  In an earlier book, Sweet Dreams & Flying Machines, Abby’s son, Chris, was almost abused by a pedophile. That experience has haunted Abby, and when she sees how much the kidnapped boys looked like each other and their resemblance to Chris, Abby injects herself into the investigation.  As a journalist, she knows how to talk to people, and her articles in the Raleigh newspaper give her visibility. Following a lead given her by an elderly woman, Abby and her friend Fran find where the boys have been kept, but the danger is far from over as Abby and Chris become targets of two men who want revenge.

Although parts of this book are chilling, there are some lighter moments, and the reappearance of NCIS special agent Brad Marshall left this reader wondering if future books in the series will include a new romance for Abby.

This is the second book in the Abby Weaver Mystery series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Craven, Novels in Series, Onslow, Wallis, Deborah

Laura S. Wharton. Leaving Lukens. Mt. Airy, NC: Broad Creek Press, 2011.

In June of 1942, Lukens is a small town on the North Carolina coast, and it’s getting smaller. Residents left first in trickles, but now they’re crossing the Neuse in a torrent to places like Oriental, with its modern conveniences and thriving community. Ella Marie Hutchins, seventeen, is dead set against leaving. Everything she loves is in Lukens: her house, her Grandmother, and her handsome boyfriend, soon-to-be naval officer Jarrett Migette. When Jarrett announces he’s leaving earlier than planned, and her mother decides that they’re moving, Ella is distraught. Leaving Lukens might be the safest idea, however, as the war is closer than anyone thinks. Walking alone near the tideline one evening, Ella is threatened by a vicious Nazi scout, and barely escapes unscathed. Luckily, she’s assisted by a young stranger named Griff, who just happens to be passing by. Griff’s story makes sense–he’s a recreational sailor and treasure-hunter, visiting his uncle in Lukens on his prize sailboat Susanna. Soon he and Ella are fast friends, and as they spend more time together sailing, biking, and picnicking throughout the long, hot, Lukens summer, they begin to feel more for one another. But Griff is more than he seems, and the secret mission he is bound to fulfill will push Ella into danger greater than she’s ever faced before.

Filled with sailing lore, secrecy, Nazis, and romance, Leaving Lukens is an exciting new adventure from the author of The Pirate’s Bastard.

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




Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Carteret, Coast, Craven, Historical, Pamlico, Suspense/Thriller, Wharton, Laura S.

Steve Watkins. What Comes After. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2011.

Iris Wight knew that moving to Craven County, North Carolina, from her lifelong home in Maine would come with many changes, but she had no choice. Her father had just passed away, and her best friend’s family who was supposed to take care of the sixteen year old backed out of their promise. Iris’s only option was to start over in a new land where she would stand out with her Northern accent, attend a high school that did not offer the AP (Advanced Placement) classes she was used to, and would be without the comfort of her best friend and softball teammates.

What Iris could not have anticipated, though, was just how different her life in Craven County would be. Her Aunt Sue and cousin Book, both of whom she met briefly as a young child, do not welcome her with open arms (although Aunt Sue is more than happy to take Iris’s inheritance). Instead, they treat her as if she is a nuisance and give her the chores of milking the goats and pasteurizing the milk for cheese that will be sold at the farmers market. Iris does not mind these responsibilities; playing with the goats is the only form of warmth she receives in North Carolina. The way Aunt Sue and Book treat the farm animals and the family dog, however, deeply troubles Iris. Their cruelties are in stark contrast to the way her veterinarian father taught her. When she tries to protect the four-legged friends she has grown to adore, Aunt Sue and Book beat her. This violent act puts Iris in the hospital, then into foster care, and Aunt Sue and Book in jail. Over the next few months, Iris must prove to herself and to others that she is worthy of independence, trust, and affection.

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


Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Craven, Watkins, Steve

Deborah Wallis. Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines. New Bern, NC: McBryde Publishing, 2010.

What would you do if your husband died and no one will give you a straight answer about why it happened?

When Major Danny Weaver’s Harrier jet goes down during an air show at Cherry Point Marine Air Station everyone’s initial assumption is that it was a terrible accident.  Did a part break?  Was the maintenance check incomplete?  Was it pilot error?   Abby, Major Weaver’s widow, is relieved when the commanding officer tells her that a preliminary investigation has ruled out pilot error, but she is disturbed when he warns her to expect a prolonged investigation and some uncomfortable questions.  It seems that Danny’s unit is under investigation for an unspecified problem.

Abby had some hints that the unit had problems.  Not long after the unit returned from Iraq, Danny had words with another officer, and an enlisted man asked for Danny’s help with a personal problem that forced Danny to go up the chain of command.  Abby didn’t push Danny for details, but after his death she wished that she had.  Using the skills she learned as a reporter, Abby embarks on an investigation that exposes the dark side of several service members’ lives. She also puts herself and her young son in danger.

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


Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Carteret, Coast, Craven, Mystery, Novels in Series, Wallis, Deborah

Jimmy C. Waters. New Bern: 1710 in the Carolinas. Toccoa, GA: Currahee Books, 2009.

This novel takes on a little-known but interesting period in North Carolina history.  Through the experiences of Martin Bender, a young immigrant to the Carolina Colony, the author unravels a complicated tale of religion, war, piracy, and the simple struggle for survival.  Historical persons such as Thomas Cary, Baron de Graffenreid, John Lawson, and Blackbeard figure in the novel as Martin comes to adulthood fighting the Tuscaroras inland and then pirates along the coast.

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


Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coast, Craven, Historical, Waters, Jimmy C.

Edmund Kirke. My Southern Friends. New York: Carleton, 1863.

A New York businessman forms close ties of friendship with several families in Jones and Craven counties.  They assist each other in solving personal and financial problems even though they have different points of view on slavery and other issues.  Slavery receives a lot of attention; corrupt masters, violent overseers, and miscegenation figure in the plot.  The tragedies in the book are based on episodes that the author knew of from his experiences as a director of a cotton trading and shipping company prior to the Civil War.

Edmund Kirke is a pseudonym of James R. Gilmore.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1860-1869, 1863, Coastal Plain, Craven, Jones, Kirke, Edmund, Novels to Read Online

Robert W. Hester. The Battle for North Carolina: Historical Novel of the War between the States. Charleston, SC: BookSurge Publishing, 2008.

In this novel, the Civil War is far from over in December of 1864.  Confederate naval fighters in the waters off North Carolina defeat the Union navy’s blockade.  Wilmington and eastern North Carolina are still threatened, even though Sherman’s march through Georgia has destroyed his army, not Georgia.  This book tells a tale of fierce fighting along the Carolina coastal plain during the early months of 1865.  Historical figures appear, along with fictional characters whose presence adds romantic interest to the narrative and gives the reader a vivid sense of the war’s cost to civilians.

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


Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Craven, Docufiction, Hester, Robert W., Historical, New Hanover