Local Interest Historical Fiction

We're always looking for good historical fiction set in North Carolina (and, selectively, in South Carolina as well), so here's a list of some of the novels that we've found. All plot synopses are from GoodReads; we have also noted which books we have read.
Feel free to suggest additions to the list!

Camp Follower by Suzanne Adair (2008)
American Revolution
As the year 1780 draws to a close, the publisher of a loyalist magazine in Wilmington, North Carolina offers an amazing assignment to Helen Chiswell, his society page writer: pose as the widowed sister of a British officer in the Seventeenth Light Dragoons, travel to the encampment of the British Legion in the Carolina backcountry, and write a feature on LtCol. Banastre Tarleton. But Helen's publisher has secret reasons for sending her into danger. And because Helen, a loyalist, has ties to the St. James family, who seem to be in perpetual hot water with the forces of the Crown, she comes under the suspicions of the brutal Lt. Dunstan Fairfax. Filled with action, mystery, and suspense that climaxes at the Battle of Cowpens, Camp Follower is the story of a woman forced to confront her past to save her life during the War for American Independence.

Who Comes to King's Mountain? by John and Patricia Beatty (1975)
Children's/YA, American Revolution

Living in the South Carolina hills in 1780, a young Scottish boy, whose own family is divided between Loyalist and rebel, must decide for himself which side he will follow.

Rachel's Story by Idella Bodie (2009)

Children's, Great Wagon Road
Rachel and her family journey down the Great Wagon Road to join their relatives in South Carolina and start a new life. When their wagon breaks down and her family is attacked by Native Americans, Rachel finds herself forced to live without her parents. This historical novel is based upon actual events and shares an important moral message along with teaching about the challenges of the colonial period.

Drums by James Boyd (1928; 1995)
Children's, American Revolution
Drums, set in Edenton, North Carolina, has been called the best novel written about the American Revolution. The author notes that in this book the main facts of history have been followed except in two cases: the Bonhomme Richard did not sail from Brest but from Lorient; the incident of the vagabond in Chapter XXXV did not occur at Brooks's Club but at another club in London.

Carolina Rain by Nancy B. Brewer (2010)
Adult, Civil War
*Read and recommended*
Theodosia Elizabeth Sanders, “Lizzie” was born October 6, 1842, but in many ways, she is no different than a modern young woman of our era. Her open heart is filled with hope and a desire for love. Yet, her innocence makes her a target for the less than trustworthy. See how this remarkable young woman rises above all prejudices to embrace the hearts of her true friends.

Storm Warriors by Elisa Carbone (2001)
Children's/YA, Jim Crow Era
*Read and recommended*
Driven from his home by the Ku Klux Klan and still reeling from the death of his mother, Nathan moves with his father and grandfather to the desolate Pea Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina to start a new life. Fortunately, life on Pea Island at the end of the 19th century is far from quiet. The other island residents include the surfmen--the African American crew of the nearby U.S. Life-Saving Station--and soon Nathan is lending an extra hand to these men as they rescue sailors from sinking ships. Working and learning alongside the courageous surfmen, Nathan begins to dream of becoming one himself. But the reality of post-Civil War racism starts to show itself as he gradually realizes the futility of his dream. And then another dream begins to take shape, one that Nathan refuses to let anyone take from him.

White Seed by Paul Clayton (2009)
Lost Colony
One of the most haunting mysteries in American history - The Lost Colony of Roanoke comes roaring back to life in White Seed, with a compelling cast of characters, among them - Maggie Hagger, indentured Irish serving girl, a victim of rape and intimidation, driven to desperate action against a tyrant when all around her have lost hope, Manteo, the Croatoan interpreter for the English, an inhabitant of two worlds, belonging to neither, who longs for love and acceptance and finally finds it in Maggie's arms, John White, ineffective Governor, painter and dreamer, drawn to the brink of insanity and back in his efforts to rescue his people, Captain Stafford, a brave, disciplined, but cruel soldier, with the seeds of class hatred imbedded in his soul years earlier, and Powhatan, the shrewd Tidewater warlord who wages a stealthy jihad against the colonists, waiting to ensure they have truly been abandoned before launching his final assault.

Beyond the Crossroad by Eugenia Collier (2010)
Set in the 1800s in the mountains of North Carolina, Beyond the Crossroad explores a little-known aspect of American history--the practice of holding Black people in bondage after legal slavery had ended. This is the journey of Caroline--a journey that is both physical and psychological. She is given or sold from owner to owner, encountering other re-enslaved Black people along the way. Her owners see her as a commodity and not as a person, and each gives her a different name, a name meaningful to themselves but not to her. Although Caroline answers to those names to survive, she always knows who she is. "My name is Caroline," she tells her fellow slaves. Later, imprisoned in a smokehouse with snakes slithering over her legs and rats nibbling her toenails, she realizes that she must choose to live or perish. At the moment when bondage has stripped her of virtually everything, she chooses life over death, and asserts, I AM CAROLINE! Now she is ready to risk everything for freedom. Now she is at the crossroad.

Cherokee Dragon by Robert J. Conley (2000)
Children's/YA, colonial
Acclaimed novelist Robert J. Conley once again mines the history of his people, the Cherokee. In a fascinating and compelling novel, he explores the life of Dragging Canoe, the last great war chief of the united Cherokee tribe. In the late eighteenth century, as the English settlers begin steadily encroaching upon the Cherokee lands, the Nation-split up amongst several towns and many chiefs-unites in a series of battles under the war chief Dragging Canoe. But the united front is not one that lasts: Dragging Canoe's belief that they must fight the settlers to preserve their lands and their culture is far from universal. As strife wracks the Cherokee nation and the settlers begin to rebel against the English government, Dragging Canoe's fight-and the fight of his followers.

Soft Rain by Cornelia Cornelissen (1998)
Children's, Trail of Tears

Affecting and accessible, here is the dramatic, moving story of a Cherokee family's bravery in the face of persecution, told from the perspective of nine-year-old Soft Rain. 

Cherokee Sister by Debbie Dadey (2000)
Children's, Trail of Tears
*Read and recommended*
Allie MacAllister knows better than to run through the woods without a hat. But the sun feels so good on her skin, she barely minds when her mother scolds her for getting as dark as her dog. And Allie knows better than to slip out of Sunday worship to visit Leaf Sweetwater. But she hasn't seen her best friend for days, with all the trouble brewing between the Cherokees and the white settlers. Her parents will never notice she's missed the boring sermon if she hurries back. When Leaf lets Allie try on her new buckskin dress, Allie couldn't be happier. But blind hatred shatters her happiness when army men come to round up Leaf's family, forcing them from their home--and taking Allie with them to walk the cruel Trail of Tears. As conditions on the trail grow more desperate, the girls' hope of rescue fades away, and all that's left is a grueling nightmare of prejudice and terror. Throughout the harrowing journey, Allie and Leaf share each other's strength and courage, forging a bond of sisterhood greater than any blood tie.

The Outer Banks House by Diann Ducharme (2011)
Adult, Reconstruction
In 1868, on the barren shores of post-war Outer Banks North Carolina, the once wealthy Sinclair family moves for the summer to one of the first cottages on the ocean side of the resort village of Nags Head. Seventeen-year-old Abigail is beautiful, book-smart, but sheltered by her plantation life and hemmed-in by her emotionally distant family. To make good use of time, she is encouraged by her family to teach her father’s fishing guide, the good-natured but penniless Benjamin Whimble, how to read and write. And in a twist of fate unforeseen by anyone around them, there on the porch of the cottage, the two come to love each other deeply, and to understand each other in a way that no one else does. But when, against everything he claims to represent, Ben becomes entangled in Abby's father's Ku Klux Klan work, the terrible tragedy and surprising revelations that one hot Outer Banks night brings forth threaten to tear them apart forever.

Jim the Boy by Tony Earley (2000)
Children's, Great Depression
Selected by Granta as one of America's best young writers and featured in The New Yorker's best young fiction issue, Tony Earley now gives us a luminous portrait of a ten-year-old boy growing up in the Depression-era town of Aliceville, North Carolina.

The Blue Star by Tony Earley (2008)
Children's, WWII
Seven years ago, readers everywhere fell in love with Jim Glass, the precocious ten-year-old at the heart of Tony Earley's bestseller Jim the Boy. Now a teenager, Jim returns in another tender and wise story of young love on the eve of World War Two. Jim Glass has fallen in love, as only a teenage boy can fall in love, with his classmate Chrissie Steppe. Unfortunately, Chrissie is Bucky Bucklaw's girlfriend, and Bucky has joined the Navy on the eve of war. Jim vows to win Chrissie's heart in his absence, but the war makes high school less than a safe haven, and gives a young man's emotions a grown man's gravity.

Betrayal at Cross Creek by Kathleen Ernst (2008)
Children's, American Revolution
*Read and recommended*
A little-known aspect of the American Revolution comes alive in this absorbing novel set in 1775. Elspeth Monro and her grandparents recently moved from Scotland to North Carolina to escape the poverty and political instability of their homeland and are forced to choose sides in the brewing conflict. Elspeth tries to live a normal life, spending time with friends and learning to become a weaver. However, local Patriots continually confront the members of her family, using scare tactics to try and persuade her grandfather and cousins to join their cause. Even more disturbing, the Patriots seem able to anticipate the family members' whereabouts, suggesting that someone is spying on them. This well-told story has an intriguing plot, and details about the Scottish settlers and life in the Colonies are carefully integrated into the narrative. 

Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier (2006)
At the age of twelve, under the Wind moon, Will is given a horse, a key, and a map, and sent alone into the Indian Nation to run a trading post as a bound boy. It is during this time that he grows into a man, learning, as he does, of the raw power it takes to create a life, to find a home. In a card game with a white Indian named Featherstone, Will wins – for a brief moment – a mysterious girl named Claire, and his passion and desire for her spans this novel. As Will’s destiny intertwines with the fate of the Cherokee Indians – including a Cherokee Chief named Bear – he learns how to fight and survive in the face of both nature and men, and eventually, under the Corn Tassel Moon, Will begins the fight against Washington City to preserve the Cherokee’s homeland and culture. And he will come to know the truth behind his belief that “only desire trumps time.” 

Cape Fear Rising by Philip Gerard (1994)
Adult, Jim Crow Era
In August 1898, Wilmington, North Carolina, was a mecca for middle-class Negroes. Many of the city's lawyers, businessmen, and other professionals were black, as were all the tradesmen and stevedores. Negroes outnumbered whites by more than two to one. But the white civic leaders, many descended from the antebellum aristocracy, did not consider this progress. They looked around and saw working class whites out of jobs. They heard Negroes addressing whites "in the familiar." They hated the fact that local government was run by Republican "Fusionists" sympathetic to the black majority. Rumors began to fly. The newspaper office turned into an arsenal. Secret societies espousing white supremacy were formed. Isolated incidents occurred: a shot was fired through a streetcar bearing whites, a black cemetery was desecrated. This incendiary atmosphere was inflamed further by public speeches from an ex-Confederate colonel and a firebrand Negro preacher. One morning in November, the almost inevitable gunfire began. By the time order was restored, many of the city's most visible black leaders had been literally put on trains and told to leave town, hundreds of blacks were forced to hide out in the city's cemetery or the nearby swamps to avoid massacre, and dozens of victims lay dead. Based on actual events, Cape Fear Rising tells a story of one city's racial nightmare--a nightmare that was repeated throughout the South at the turn of the century. Although told as fiction, the core of this novel strikes at the heart of racial strife in America.

The Rising Shore - Roanoke by Deborah Homsher (2007)
Lost Colony
Here is the story of the Lost Colony told by two pioneering women who sail from London to the wild American shore in 1587. Elenor Dare is daughter of the governor. Margaret Lawrence is her servant. Members of the first English venture to colonize the New World, they both struggle bravely, angling against each other, to discover and grasp their dreams.

The Packhorseman by Charles Hudson (2009)
In April 1735, twenty-year-old William MacGregor, possessing little more than a bottle of Scotch whiskey and a set of Shakespeare’s plays, arrives in Charles Town, South Carolina, to make his fortune in the New World. The Scottish Highlands, while dear to his heart, were in steep economic decline and hopelessly entangled in dangerous political intrigue. With an uncle in Carolina, the long ocean voyage seemed his best chance for a new start. He soon discovers that the Jacobite politics of Scotland extend to Carolina, and when his mouth gets him in trouble with the Charles Town locals, dimming his employment opportunities, he seizes the one option still open for him and takes a job as a frontier packhorseman.   Soon young MacGregor is on the Cherokee trail to Indian country, where he settles in as a novice in the deerskin trade. Along the way William learns not only the arts of managing a pack train and trading with the Indians, but of reading the land and negotiating cultural differences with the Cherokee—whose clan system is much different from the Scottish clans of his homeland. William also learns that the Scottish enlightenment he so admires has not made much headway in the Carolina backcountry, where the real challenges are to survive, day to day, during the tense times after the Yamasee War and to remember that while in Indian country . . . it is their country. 

Nowhere Else on Earth by Josephine Humphreys (2000)
Adult, Civil War and Reconstruction
*Read and recommended*
In the summer of 1864, sixteen-year-old Rhoda Strong lives in the Lumbee Indian settlement of Robeson County, North Carolina, which has become a pawn in the bloody struggle between the Union and Confederate armies. The community is besieged by the marauding Union Army as well as the desperate Home Guard who are hell-bent on conscripting the young men into deadly forced labor. Daughter of a Scotsman and his formidable Lumbee wife, Rhoda is fiercely loyal to her family and desperately fears for their safety, but her love for the outlaw hero Henry Berry Lowrie forces her to cast her lot with danger. Her struggle becomes part of the community's in a powerful story of love and survival. Nowhere Else on Earth is a moving saga that magnificently captures a little-known piece of American history.

The Night Flyers by Elizabeth McDavid Jones (2000)
Children's, WWI
*Read and recommended*

When Pam's homing pigeons disappear while her father's away fighting in World War I, she uncovers evidence of an enemy spy!

The Road to Devotion by Cameron Kent (2009)
Civil War
When Sarah Talton's father suddenly passes away in the summer of 1860, she is left with a teenaged sister to care for, and the family farm and slaves to oversee. Determined to keep their land out of the hands of opportunists, she embraces her father's iron will and hardhearted demeanor. But when she falls in love with a French merchant who speaks no English, and is given charge of a runaway slave who brings them both together, Sarah begins to question the values and beliefs instilled by her father and upheld by her Winston, North Carolina community. When the Civil War looms, and community leaders clamor for blood and obedience, Sarah finds herself traveling a road that will lead either to her ruin or to her freedom.

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa M. Klein (2010)
YA, Lost Colony
Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens—until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke, in the New World. Ralegh pledges to come for Cate, but as the months stretch out, Cate begins to doubt his promise and his love. Instead it is Manteo, a Croatoan Indian, whom the colonists—and Cate—increasingly turn to. Yet just as Cate's longings for England and Ralegh fade and she discovers a new love in Manteo, Ralegh will finally set sail for the New World.

What Lies Buried: A Novel of Old Cape Fear by Dewey Lambdin (2005)
Respected political leader Harry Tresmayne has been found murdered beside a lonely road on Cape Fear. Harry's friend, Matthew Livesey, is drawn to investigate the truth, and the more Livesey learns about Harry's private life, the more reasons for murder he finds.

Roanoke by Sonia Levitin (1973; 2000)
YA, Lost Colony
Sixteen-year-old orphan William Wythers, is eager to try life in the New World. He and the other settlers face an arduous voyage and difficult months ahead on Roanoke Island, off the coast of Virginia. Yet there is a wonderful freedom in defining the rules for this new world in America. And when William falls in love with a young Native American woman, it seems that life is going to be happy after all. But when John White arrives from England with fresh supplies for the settlement, not a single person remains. Who knows what happened? An unsolved mystery in American history comes brilliantly alive in Sonia Levitin's historical novel about the lost colony in Roanoke.

Letters from a Slave Girl by Mary E. Lyons (1992)
Children's/YA, slavery
*Read and recommended*
Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery; it's the only life she has ever known. Now, with the death of her mistress, there is a chance she will be given her freedom, and for the first time Harriet feels hopeful. But hoping can be dangerous, because disappointment is devastating. Harriet has one last hope, though: escape to the North. And as she faces numerous ordeals, this hope gives her the strength she needs to survive. Based on the true story of Harriet Ann Jacobs, Letters from a Slave Girl reveals in poignant detail what thousands of African-American women had to endure not long ago. It's a story that will enlighten, anger, and never be forgotten.

Letters from a Slave Boy by Mary E. Lyons (2007)
Children's/YA, slavery
*Read and recommended*
Like his mother and grandmother before him, Joseph Jacobs was born into slavery. Joseph lives with his grandmother and sister in North Carolina, but he has not seen his mother for more than seven years. Unbeknownst to Joseph, his mother, Harriet, has been hiding from her owner in the attic of the house that Joseph lives in. But when Harriet's hiding place is in danger of being revealed, she is forced to flee north to safety only moments after being reunited with her family. Devastated by losing his mother for the second time, Joseph begins to ponder the nature of the world he lives in. Soon Joseph, seeking freedom and a place where he can be himself, follows his mother north. As he searches for answers, Joseph experiences life in Massachusetts, California, Australia, and aboard a whaling ship — but there's no place where Joseph feels that he can truly be free. In this companion novel to Letters from a Slave Girl, Joseph's stirring quest for freedom and identity is told through letters imagined by the author. Based on the real-life stories of Harriet and Joseph Jacobs, Letters from a Slave Boy is set against the backdrop of some of the most exciting and turbulent times in American history.

Gentle's Holler by Kerry Madden (2005)
Children's/YA, 1960s
The sixties may have come to other parts of North Carolina, but with Mama pregnant again, Daddy struggling to find work, and nine siblings underfoot, nobody in the holler has much time for modern-day notions. Especially not twelve-year-old Livy Two, aspiring songwriter and self-appointed guardian of little sister Gentle, whose eyes "don't work so good yet." Even after a doctor confirms her fears, Livy Two is determined to make the best of Gentle's situation and sets out to transform the family's scrappy dachshund into a genuine Seeing-Eye dog. But when tragedy strikes, can Livy Two continue to stay strong for her family?

Louisiana's Song by Kerry Madden (2007)
Children's/YA, 1960s
Livy Two is happy that Daddy is finally out of his coma, but the befuddled man who comes home is not the daddy the Weems family once knew. He forgets their names, he wanders off—he won’t even touch his beloved banjo. Set in Appalachia in 1963, this heartwarming, and heart-wrenching, follow-up to Gentle’s Holler is narrated by the irrepressible Livy Two, and traces the ups and downs of her large mountain family. Shy and awkward 11-year-old Louise (Louisiana) becomes the reluctant hero as she develops a talent for painting, takes care of Daddy, and shows a surprised Livy Two that sometimes the quietest sibling turns out to be the strongest.

Jessie's Mountain by Kerry Madden (2008)
Children's/YA, 1960s
Livy Two has always dreamed of becoming a singer, and her decision to run off to Nashville’s Music Row is made with confidence—she figures the money she’ll bring home will buy the family’s house as well as forgiveness for running away. The Nashville adventure is a disaster, though; even her cherished guitar is stolen. Livy Two takes her failure hard, but finds comfort in the girlhood diary of her mother, Jessie. Outraged to discover that young Jessie had dreams now long-forgotten, Livy Two puts the whole family to work and makes Mama’s ultimate dream come true.

Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven (2009)
YA, Great Depression
Set in Appalachia in the years before World War II, Velva Jean Learns to Drive is a poignant story of a spirited young girl growing up in the gold- mining and moonshining South. Before she dies, Velva Jean's mother urges her to "live out there in the great wide world". Velva Jean dreams of becoming a big-time singer in Nashville until she falls in love with Harley Bright, a handsome juvenile delinquent turned revival preacher. As their tumultuous love story unfolds, Velva Jean must choose between keeping her hard-won home and pursuing her dream of singing in the Grand Ole Opry. 

Velva Jean Learns to Fly by Jennifer Niven (2011)
*Read and recommended* see review
Velva Jean Hart, the fiercely independent heroine of Jennifer Niven's spectacular debut novel, Velva Jean Learns to Drive, returns in a captivating adventure that literally sends her soaring. Bristling at the limitations faced by a woman in rural Appalachia and fuelled by the memory of her late Mama telling her to "live out there," Velva Jean hits the road to pursue her dream of singing at the Grand Ole Opry. But after a string of auditions, she begins to lose hope- until her brother pays her a surprise visit and treats Velva Jean to a flying lesson that ignites a brand-new dream: to become a female pilot. Funny, poignant, and utterly unforgettable, Velva Jean Learns to Fly will have fans cheering all over again.

Hiwassee by Charles F. Price (2003)
Adult, Civil War
Set near the end of the Civil War in the mountainous farm country of North Carolina, this story centres on Madison Curtis and his wife Sarah, whose mansion lies in the path of a gang of Union partisans. They are hiding their oldest son, Andy, who was wounded in the Confederate Army, risking torture and death to protect him. We meet also the Curtis' younger sons, who are caught up in the great battle of Chickamauga in Georgia, and we are offered a unique glimpse of war as the common soldier saw it-confusing, monotonous and terrifying by turns.

Freedom's Altar by Charles F. Price (1999)
Adult, Reconstruction
Judge Madison Curtis has just pronounced the benediction over the grave of his oldest daughter when two grimy women riding double on a mule enter his driveway. "Have ye got misfortune, I wonder?" the elder one calls. "Iffen ye do, I rejoice in hit." The Curtises have misfortune indeed. The Civil War has left them a dead daughter, two dead sons, vengeful neighbors, and a once-grand home now broken down. Just as debilitating is Judge Curtis's guilt over his actions in wartime, when he sacrificed another family to save his own. The most immediate reminder of the judge's past sins is a man he once held in bondage, who has returned to the mountains of western North Carolina after serving with the Union army. In slavery, the Curtises knew him as Black Gamaliel, but he now insists on being known by his proper name-Daniel McFee. They achieve an uneasy peace as Daniel proposes a sharecropping arrangement and begins a new life in freedom. But the judge perceives that the opportunity for true racial reconciliation after the war is being squandered. Militating against it is an antihero who would elevate the blacks by crushing the landed whites-a demagogue by day and a killer by night. He is Nahum Bellamy the Pilot, and he means to hold Judge Curtis accountable even unto death. In this, the sequel to his critically acclaimed novel Hiwassee, Charles F. Price examines those sacrificed on freedom's altar; carefree Andy Curtis, who returns from war to assume burdens beyond his capacity; Oliver Price, who must weigh his responsibility toward his dying wife against the need of his friends; and, foremost, the Curtises' former slaves, who struggle against bitterness and discover their better selves at an hour of need.

The Cock's Spur by Charles F. Price (2000)
Adult, Reconstruction
The mulatto ex-slave Hamby McFee dreams of leaving the valley of the Hiwassee in western North Carolina, and cockfighting is his means to that end. A renowned trainer of some of the meanest birds in the pit, he rests his hopes on the aged,much-feared Gouger, the apricot-tinted Pile-Driver, the strangely calm, lightening quick Buttermilk. Out of loyalty, fifteen years after the Civil War, he still inhabits the farm where he was once chattel. As Andy Curtis, the leader of the household, drifts into insanity and his once-lovely sister Rebecca withers on the vine, Hamby finds himself assuming all the responsibilities of a land owner without reaping any of the benefits. The other thread of the story involves Ves Price, the son of a close friend of the Curtis family, who is imprisoned by a moonshining competitor, Webb Darling in his mountaintop fortress. McFee, who holds a grudge against Darling, arranges a climactic chicken fight on the king's home ground. In it, and with considerable reluctance, he well discover just how deeply his home and friends lie in his heart.

Where the Water-Dogs Laughed by Charles F. Price (2003)
This fourth novel weaving together family history and rich fiction about 19th century Appalachian life, Price offers us mortal love and loss, mythic renewal, set against traditional culture beset by irrevocable change. Price weaves together families from earlier books in this saga of endings and beginnings, and provides the sage, ageless viewpoint of Yan-e'gwa D the bear D crafting ultimately human stories.

Nor the Battle to the Strong by Charles F. Price (2008)
Adult, American Revolution

Cast Two Shadows by Ann Rinaldi (1998)
Children's/YA, American Revolution
*Read and recommended*
A young girl living in South Carolina during the American Revolution discovers the duplicity within herself and others. It's 1780, and war has come to Camden, South Carolina. Caroline Whitaker's father is in prison for refusing to pledge allegiance to the king; her brother, Johnny, is away fighting for the Loyalists; and she, her mother, and her sister are confined to an upstairs chamber as British colonel Lord Francis Rawdon occupies their spacious plantation house. Caroline soon learns that Johnny is injured and needs her help to get home. Caroline receives permission from Rawdon to fetch Johnny, but she is not to make this journey alone. Her black grandmother, a slave on the plantation, accompanies her...on a trip that turns Caroline's already tumultuous world upside down and forces her to question all that she holds dear.

Shadow of a Quarter Moon by Eileen Clymer Schwab (2011)
Adult, slavery
1839, North Carolina. As the daughter of a plantation owner, Jacy has been raised in privilege- until she discovers that she's the offspring of a dalliance between her father and a slave. The revelation destroys Jacy's sense of who she is and where she belongs in the world. Equally shocking, her biological mother and brother are still slaves on the property. As she gets to know them-and the handsome horse trainer, Rafe-she begins to see life in the South with fresh eyes. And soon Jacy will have to make a treacherous journey that she hopes will end in freedom for them all...

The Mystery of Beautiful Nell Cropsey by Bland Simpson (1993)
*Read and recommended*
As compelling as fiction, The Mystery of Beautiful Nell Cropsey tells the dramatic story of the disappearance of nineteen-year-old Nell Cropsey from her riverside home in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in November 1901. Bloodhounds, detectives, divers, and even a psychic were brought in to search for her, and the case immediately became a national sensation.

On Agate Hill by Lee Smith (2006)
Adult, Reconstruction
The story of orphan Molly Petree emerges from a dusty box discovered in an abandoned North Carolina plantation house. The box contains the vestiges of a life that began in Reconstruction days and continued deep into the 20th century, registering the efforts of a heroic woman determined to salvage her few chances. Lee Smith, the author of Fair and Tender Ladies, unwraps this personal saga through ephemera, notes, and court records. In sum, these washed-up pieces become a carefully modulated character portrait of a brave woman. 

The Lyon's Roar and series by M.L. Stainer (1997-2004)
Children's/YA, Lost Colony
*Read and recommended*
The Lyon's Roar  is the first book in a series of five entitled The Lyon Saga. This historical novel is the story of 14 year old Jessabel Archarde and her family, original members of the 1587 Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. The story traces their voyage across the Atlantic, the founding of the colony and Jess's growing fascination with the Indians of Croatoan Island.

Black Crows and White Cockades by Christine R. Swager (1999)
Children's/YA, American Revolution
*Read and recommended*
This is a story about a young girl living near Camden, South Carolina during the occupation by the British during the Americana Revolution. Although fictional, the story is weaved around historically accurate facts that include Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter, Lord Cornwallis, Banastre Tarleton, and even includes a young Andy Jackson and his mother who nursed sick and wounded American prisoners who were kept on board ships in Charleston Harbor. Mrs. Jackson died from a fever she contracted conducting this "mercy mission."

If Ever Your Country Needs You by Christine R. Swager (2001)
Children's/YA, American Revolution
This is the sequel to Dr. Swager's popular Black Crows and White Cockades, a historical novel about the America's Revolutionary War in South Carolina. It follows the first novels main characters, Ann Bixby, a 14 year old spy for the rebel army and Jamie McCaskill, a young patriot scout riding with Col. Francil Marion.

Spirit Up the People by Gerald F. Teaster (2006)
Children's/YA, American Revolution
*Read and recommended*
Cowpens was one of the most important battles in the American Revolutionary War. The story of this battle and the events leading up to it are told through the eyes of three Upcountry South Carolina children and their families. Two of these families were Patriots, or Whigs, who were in favor of gaining independence. The other family was Loyalist, or Tory, who supported the British efforts. The children and their families are fictional but the details relating to the battle are very real. This book tries to capture what it must have been like to the people caught up in the events leading up to and surrounding the battle. Two large armies were traveling through the sparsely settled Carolina Upcountry. These armies generated fear, hope, excitement and dread throughout the population, adults and children alike.

The Sands of Pride by William R. Trotter (2002)
Civil War
In this grandly ambitious masterpiece of Civil War fiction, noted novelist and historian William R. Trotter has created nothing less than an epic re-creation of the whole experience of the war—from secession to Gettysburg—within the microcosm of North Carolina, a theater of war never before brought to life in a major novel of the Civil War. Trotter's powerful story follows the intertwined fates of over two dozen major characters—real and fictional, Union and Confederate, combatants and civilians—swept up in the hurricane of war. In The Sands of Pride, he chronicles the exploits of bold blockade-runners like Southerner Matthew Sloane, intrepid naval warriors like Federal officer William Barker Cushings, sadistic bushwhackers like Cyrus Bone, and spies like the Confederacy's seductive Belle O'Neal. The novel's center of gravity is the beautiful coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina, in the midst of a vibrant, bawdy "Golden Age". It was the South's most vital port and guarded by the largest, most formidable earthen fortress ever built in America, Fort Fisher, a stupendous feat of engineering and a symbol of Southern defiance. After every other significant Rebel port had been vanquished, Fort Fisher's guns kept open Wilmington's boisterous docks, which poured supplies from Europe that kept the Confederacy alive. The Sands of Pride tells a story both vast and intimate. Civil War buffs will be stunned by the stirring events depicted here. All readers will be fascinated by its colorful, passionate characters and swept along by its page-turning momentum.

The Fires of Pride by William R. Trotter (2005)
Civil War
As William R. Trotter once more takes up the stunning array of characters—Union and Confederate, fictional and historical, combatant and civilian—that he introduced in the inaugural novel of his epic series, The Sands of Pride, it is now the closing days of July 1863. Robert E. Lee's army has been repulsed at Gettysburg, the tide of history has shifted, and the fortunes of the Rebel side have begun, inexorably, to decline. Featuring the brief but glorious career of the mighty ironclad ram, the CSS Hatteras, which emerges from the hollows and backwaters of North Carolina to challenge the might of the Union navy, The Fires of Pride is a richly textured, sweepingly dramatic epic, a towering work that combines deep scholarship with an intensely human understanding of the men and women of the period.

Blood Oath by Jimmy Cherokee Waters (2008)
Adult, colonial/American Revolution
*Read and recommended*
Epic in scope, seeped in history, this novel presents the settlement of the Southern Mountains of the American frontier. From the Great Smokies of Tennessee and the Carolinas, through the Georgia Blue Ridge, follow the lives of both the white settlers and the Cherokee, their interactions governed by the famed Blood Oath. Runs-To-Water, a Cherokee Chief and his grandson Ridge both struggle to come to terms with the threat of the white man. Feel the sense of destiny of the four white men, heroes of the Battle of King's Mountain, as they capture and tame the lower mountain ridges. Experience the world of the prostitute, captured from the docks of Savannah, and shanghaied to the frontier of the Georgia gold fields. Sense the isolation of the toothless white man, an early trader with the Cherokee, as he views, first hand, the destruction of a whole First American Nation. The ancient Blood Oath of the Cherokee demanded blood for blood, and carnage soon followed, as the war hatchet, the screams of captives, and the crack of muskets transformed the quiet stillness of the mountain river valleys into an eighteenth century war zone.

Kings Mountain by G. Clifton Wisler (2002)
Children's/YA, American Revolution

On his fourteenth birthday, Francis Livingstone receives a Dickert rifle, some pencils, and two boxes of paper for doing what he loves best -- drawing. He could not know then just how important these gifts would become -- not only to him and to his family, but to the entire Patriot cause. It's the spring of 1780, and the Revolutionary War is raging. Before the war reaches Francis's South Carolina home, Francis travels straight into the heart of conflict -- to his grandmother's tavern in Camden, where he must watch his every move while he is forced to host the enemy. There he gets his first taste of what war is really like, but it won't be his last. When the fighting spreads closer to home, he discovers how he might use his gifts to protect his family and their way of life.

The Anchor: P. Moore Proprietor by Bonnie Bunn Wyche (2003)
Children's/YA, colonial
It's 1764, and 15-year-old Polly Moore finds herself running her ne'er-do-well father's tavern in Brunswick, a village on the Cape Fear River in the North Carolina colony. Polly also assumes responsibility for her two younger sisters and for her family's slaves and servants, since her mentally fragile, pregnant mother refuses to get out of bed. Like all colonial taverns, The Anchor is the center of village news and activity. Polly hears everything while she cooks and serves meals, runs the turpentine operations and sawmill, and cares for her family. Women are not supposed to be political, but Polly learns just how personal politics can be after Lieutenant Governor William Tryon arrives at Brunswick, the infamous Stamp Act goes into effect, and ships in the river can't unload supplies she desperately needs. She hears news of the growing dissatisfaction with King George. She witnesses the first armed pre-Revolution rebellion at Tryon's plantation house in 1766. Along the way, she forms her own opinions about slavery, freedom, and the treatment of women.p In this meticulously researched story populated with historical figures, spunky Polly rises to the challenges that confront her and grows wise beyond her years.

Cecilia's Harvest by Bonnie Bunn Wyche (2009)
Children's/YA, American Revolution
Sixteen-year-old Cecilia Moore marries Kenneth Black as the first battles of the American Revolution swirl through the southern colonies. What Cecilia wants is to leave Three Sisters Tavern in Wilmington, North Carolina, and be mistress of her own home. What she finds at the lonely Black farm at Rocky Point are neglect and betrayal. Then Kenneth's murder leaves her no choice but to take charge and use her skills to survive. Cecilia has her baby, starts a salt works at Topsail Sound, opens a cheese factory in her kitchen and learns to grow tobacco as a cash crop. She deals with roving vandals, and British troops when redcoats move into Wilmington. With the words of he Declaration of Independence alive in her head, she frees her slaves. Cecilia knows she has played a small part in spreading the sparks of freedom. Then she surprises everyone with her plans for the future in the new state. Cecilia sees fields ripe for harvest in this sequel to the acclaimed "The Anchor - P. Moore, Proprietor."

Scarecrow in Gray by Barry D. Yelton (2006)
Civil War
We ran headlong across the fields. Minie balls filled the air with that strange, buzzing sound. Every now and again I could feel the air whip my neck as one flew close by. One of the balls ripped a chunk out of my left ear. Dirt flew up all around us where balls struck the ground. Men were dropped everywhere, most dead where they fell. A peaceful hill country farmer from North Carolina, Francis Marion Yelton, is torn from his beloved family and thrust into the barbarity of America's deadliest conflict: the War Between the States. Forced to become a soldier and fight a war in which he has no stake, Francis struggles to come to grips with his new role. Blood and battle threaten to transform Francis from a man of peace to a brutal warrior, and he struggles to hold on to his ideals. Wracked with doubt and guilt, tormented by the violent acts he has been forced to commit, Francis looks to his faith in God and to the memory of his devoted wife and loving children to sustain him through the dark night of war's insensate butchery. Battle after battle, through hailstorms of lead and waves of cold steel, Francis fights to survive. Will he ever see home again?