Tag Archives: World War II

Diane Chamberlain. Keeper of the Light Trilogy.

Set in the fictional Outer Banks town of Kiss River, Diane Chamberlain’s trilogy explores love, loss, and the power our loved ones have over our hearts and mind, even after death. The trilogy centers on the four members of the O’Neill family: father Alec, mother Annie, and the children Clay and Lacey. Although Annie O’Neill is tragically murdered in the opening pages of Keeper of the Light, her presence remains a main character throughout the entire trilogy, inspiring and at times haunting those who survived her passing. Not least of these is her daugher, Lacey. Thirteen at the time of her mother’s violent death, we watch Lacey grow from a rebellious, grieving teenager into a thoughtful young artist who must eventually grapple with motherhood in her turn. Although the books are set around new characters who come into the O’Neills’ lives, the trilogy remains focused on this family, their struggles to overcome Annie’s death, and the compelling lighthouse on the fictional Kiss River.

Author Diane Chamberlain


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Filed under 1990-1999, 2000-2009, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, Dare, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Series

Ellery Adams. The Last Word. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2011.

Oyster Bay, North Carolina, has changed Olivia Limoges. When she arrived a few years ago, people referred to her as “the grouchiest woman on the entire North Carolina coast.” Now she’s a fixture of this tight-knit community who is about to open a new restaurant with her long-lost half-brother, Hudson. She also leads the Bayside Book Writers group and is developing an meaningful relationship with the Chief of Police, Sawyer Rawlings. Although it’s hectic, the refined Olivia is content with the life that she has created, especially with the presence of her attentive poodle, Captain Haviland.

In the midst of planning menus, reworking drafts about Ramses the Great and his courtesan, Kamila, and helping Hudson and his wife, Kim, prepare for a new child, the unthinkable strikes Oyster Bay. Nick Plumley, a bestselling author who has just moved to the seaside town is found (by none other than Olivia) murdered. His book, The Barbed Wire Flower, described a horrifying scene at the nearby New Bern POW Camp in which two German prisoners escape after killing one of the guards; Plumley had hoped to do research along the coast for a sequel. As Olivia and the Bayside Book Writers help Chief Rawlings search for the reasons why someone would want the well-known writer dead, they discover a more sinister side to Plumley and his associates. Plumley’s murder also exposes long-buried secrets about one of their own that stun Olivia and Oyster Bay.

Check the availability of this title in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog, or start with the first two “Books by the Bay” mysteries, A Killer Plot and A Deadly Cliché.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Adams, Ellery, Coast, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

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.

Roy Irwin Gift. Moon Blue.[United States]: Spirit Books, 2011.

Sergeant Holly Rollins comes home to Raleigh, North Carolina in the spring of 1943 to recover from the bloody carnage he experienced on Guadalcanal. With him he brings malaria and a lung fungus, a load of shrapnel embedded in his back, and a mind tormented by the horrors of fighting the Japanese. His hometown hails him as a hero, he’s given a medal of honor, and the mayor asks Holly to ride next to him in a victory parade, but that doesn’t change the fact that Holly’s best friend since childhood and comrade-in-arms, Powell Reddy, is buried in a swamp back on that island. Sergeant Rollins needs time and space to heal wounds both physical and mental.

Unfortunately, Raleigh in 1943 isn’t a peaceful place for healing. LaBelle Blue, the black woman who raised Holly, needs him to investigate the murder of her granddaughter Lana, and bring justice to her killer. This is no easy task in a time of such rampant disregard for the life of a young, poor, black girl, but LaBelle wants to bury her grandchild, so Holly goes looking. As he investigates, the young sergeant turns up old friends, enemies, lovers, and many memories. Angered by the racism and segregation that frustrate his attempts to discover the murderer, Holly quickly becomes entangled in the events surrounding Lana’s death, which encompass more than he could imagine.

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




Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Gift, Roy Irwin, Historical, Mystery, Piedmont, Wake

A. L. Provost. The Unwilling Spy. New York: Xlibris, 2011.

It is 1943, and the atomic arms race is on. In Los Alamos, New Mexico, physicists labor night and day to develop the first atomic bomb … and nearby German spies observe them. In this fictional account of espionage and murder, German, American, and British agents are embroiled in a battle of wits to uncover scientific secrets first, before the enemy has a chance to gain the advantage.

The tale begins in Santa Fe with Gunter Fleiss, cleverly disguised as all-American Bill Wilson. When he and his attractive co-conspirator, Marla Hawkins, discover the location of a bomb test-site near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, they get word to the Fuhrer as quickly as possible. The Nazi network in America works overtime to set up an attractive, female German spy who will meet a German expert in Camp Lejeune to ferret out the secrets of the bomb. But these observers are not themselves unobserved. The FBI gets wind of their plan, and dispatches their own attractive, female German-American counter-agent to North Carolina.

The Fuhrer decides to send trusted SS Colonel Max Reiner on this dangerous North Carolinian mission, but there is one problem: Colonel Reiner doesn’t know the first thing about atomic physics, and the powers of the beautiful German spy lie in chemistry of another kind. The Fuhrer is forced to send along an expert in atomic physics. When physicist Hans Richter is chosen, he has no desire to go. His father was murdered by an SS officer, and Richter abhors the Nazi Party. Ever since that tragedy, Hans has been biding his time for revenge, and what better revenge than using this opportunity to sabotage the Fuhrer’s plans?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Historical, Lenoir, Onslow, Provost, A. L., Suspense/Thriller

Carolyn Guy. Autumn Bends the Rebel Tree. Vilas, NC: Canterbury House Publishing, 2011.

Clarinda Darningbush enters the world at the turn of the 19th century, the youngest in a large family rooted in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Absent parents and dangerous surroundings means she grows up quickly, learning from her older siblings how to thrive in the unforgiving mountain environment. One day, she stops with her brother to speak with a handsome, blue-eyed stranger, and her whole world does a “dipsy-doodle.” Rufus McCloud is just as smitten as Clarinda, and soon they are happily married. Seventeen children and Rufus’ banjo music fill their joyful home on Levi’s Mountain to the brim, but tragedy comes to call. Left without her dearest love, Clarinda must weather life as a widow and single mother, struggling through the Great Depression and World War II with the help of her devoted children. Hooking rag rugs for trade, fighting off panthers and bears, and even building a new house when a devastating fire destroys their old home, Clarinda is the epitome of strength and courage. Throughout this bittersweet life of toil, she sometimes sees and hears her winsome husband, although she tells no one. Clarinda is sure that one bright day they will be reunited, and as spry as they were in youth, dance off together on the air.

A Boone, North Carolina native, Carolyn Guy has put forth what many readers are calling one of the most accurate depictions of North Carolina mountain life during the 1930s and 1940s that they’ve ever read. Bursting with Appalachian dialect, music, and customs, readers will find Clarinda’s resourcefulness and faith an inspiration as much as they will enjoy the humorous scrapes and stories of her large, warm family.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Guy, Carolyn, Historical, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Watauga

Kay Salter. Thirteenth Summer. 2nd ed. Beaufort, NC: Bara Media, 2008.

When she was twelve, Sarah Bowers spent the summer at her grandparents’ house in Beaufort, North Carolina. Now that it is her thirteenth summer, Sarah has returned to the coastal town. Besides being in a place she loves, Sarah has much to be excited about this season: a new baby sister, Amy, reacquainted friends, a makeover to look more mature, and the imminent end of World War II. However, she also experiences difficult situations. When she witnesses a boy being bullied twice, she bravely defends him in court to expose the truth. Her girl friends’ bodies are changing quickly, and she is dissatisfied with her lack of curves. And at birthday party for her cousin Marnie, Sarah feels uncomfortable around older boys who are drinking alcohol. As the summer progresses and Sarah encounters more new ordeals, she values the advice and support of her grandparents more than ever.

This is the second novel in the Sarah Bowers Series.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Carteret, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Historical, Novels in Series, Salter, Kay

Kay Salter. Twelfth Summer. Beaufort, NC: SoundSide Publications, Inc., 2008.

Sarah Bowers’ father has just been called to serve in World War II. To give the rest of the family a diversion, her parents decide that Sarah, her mother, and her brother should live with her grandparents in Beaufort, North Carolina for the summer. Although at first Sarah is disappointed to leave the bustle of Raleigh, she learns to love the sight and the smell of the salt marshes as well as the kind coastal natives. Surrounded by her adoring grandparents and new acquaintances, Sarah finds many adventures in Beaufort that she could not experience in Raleigh. For example, she and her friend, Porter, find themselves stranded on Piver’s Island in the middle of a storm – and an air raid drill. As the Bowers cope with the temporary absence of her father and their sacrifices amid the ongoing war, Sarah discovers what is truly important in life: family.

This is the first novel in the Sarah Bowers Series.

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


Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Carteret, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Historical, Novels in Series, Salter, Kay, Wake

Barbara Kingsolver. The Lacuna. New York: Harper, 2009.

Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Lacuna follows the short but fascinating life of Harrison William Shepherd. Born to a Mexican mother and an American father, Shepherd grows up in Mexico after his parents’ divorce. Living on a pineapple plantation without any access to formal education, Shepherd reads old, moldy novels he finds in the hacienda library. He also begins a lifelong habit of keeping a journal. Literature and writing become Shepherd’s two passions. To this he adds an appreciation for art after he is hired as Diego Rivera’s assistant, cook, and typist. Living in Rivera’s home he also comes to know Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky; he establishes a strong connection with Kahlo.

After Trotsky’s assassination in 1940, Shepherd flees to New York. His assignment is to deliver Kahlo’s paintings to the Museum of Modern Art. He tries to avoid being questioned by the authorities about his relationship with Trotsky, a fear that follows him throughout his life.

After spending time in New York, Shepherd learns that his father died before he could meet him. In a car left to him in his father’s will, Shepherd takes the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to its end in Asheville, North Carolina. Here he meets Violet Brown, an older widow, in a boarding house. Although World War II has just started and Shepherd is of fighting age, his homosexuality prevents him from serving in the military. He is given a job supervising the transportation of national treasures from Washington, D.C. to the Biltmore Estate where they will be stored for the duration of the war.

After establishing himself in Asheville, Shepherd leaves the boarding house and buys a home. In this new setting, he begins writing novels about Pre-Columbian Mexico that gain him great notoriety (he is compared to Thomas Wolfe) and undesired attention from teenage girls. Shepherd enlists Brown to help him confront his popularity, and she proves to be a devoted assistant and archivist.  (It is Brown who is responsible for preserving the diary entries, letters, and newspaper clippings interspersed throughout the novel.) Brown stands by Shepherd as he is investigated by the House Committee on Un-American Activities regarding his relationship with Rivera, Kahlo, and Trotsky. After the inquiry Shepherd is fired from the Department of State, his books are banned, and he is distrusted by locals and the general public. Shepherd tries to adapt to his new, censored life, but he finds it difficult. When he drowns in Mexico, he is a person who most people would like to forget.  Brown, his faithful companion, is responsible for the story we have today.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Buncombe, Historical, Kingsolver, Barbara, Mountains

Keith Warren Lloyd. Cape Hatteras: A Novel. New York: iUniverse, 2008.

It’s common to think that the battle for the seas during World War II took place in distant locales like the South Pacific and the North Atlantic, but our own Outer Banks was the site of a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between American merchant and military vessels and German U-boats.  In this novel, the young commander of a U-boat makes it ashore after his boat sinks off Cape Hatteras.

Wolf Krugar is no gun-ho Nazi, but he serves loyally to uphold his class traditions and to protect his wife and daughter.  After his U-boat is destroyed by an American attack, Krugar clings to the debris of a tanker that he had earlier torpedoed.  He drifts on to Hatteras Island.  Harnessing his remaining strength, he walks to a remote cottage, home of Anne MacPherson, a local woman who has returned to the island to heal from the death of her young husband, who died in the Pacific Theater.  It is the classic setup for a tale of unexpected romance, but this novel is more sophisticated than that.  The reader is treated to a story of two damaged individuals who stay true to themselves while recognizing the humanity in the other.  The scenes with Kurt and Anne are interspersed with ones that show the local sheriff and military authorities closing in on Kurt.  These scenes ground the drama between Kurt and Anne in the larger conflict that includes the need to keep supplies flowing to Europe and the possibility of spies and double agents on each side of the conflict.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Coast, Dare, Lloyd, Keith Warren