Back in October I read a great book that I found at the local BJ’s – “Ghost on Black Mountain”. This novel tells the story of Black Mountain and its ghosts through the voices of five depression era women.
Nellie Clay comes to Black Mountain as a young bride – not realizing her husband is pretty much evil incarnate. Nellie’s story is intertwined with her mother’s, her housekeeper’s, her daughter’s, and more as we see the lives of these people and the community in which they live. Set in Depression-era North Carolina, the story centers around a murder and the ghosts that it conjures – and set free.
I just loved this book. I loved the voices, the story, the peek into mountain culture of that time. Ann Hite is a great writer and this story goes on my unforgettable list!
We recently took a vacation to Las Vegas. I always bring several books when we travel, and I had downloaded “The Girl Who Chased the Moon” onto my Kindle before we left, since I loved “The Peach Keeper” (reviewed here a short time ago). I ended up reading the entire novel on our flight from Boston to Nevada!
In “The Girl Who Chased the Moon”, teenager Emily Benedict arrives in her mother’s hometown in North Carolina to live with her aging (and giant) grandfather after her mother is killed in an accident. Emily only knows one side of her mother, Dulcie, and sees her as a driven, conscientious, hard-working woman, who values integrity and helping others above all else. The young Dulcie that Emily starts discovering is very different. Many of the townspeople still hold a grudge against Dulcie, and most remember her as self-centered, self-serving, and downright mean. Neighbor Julia Winterson, herself only back in town for a given time, reaches out to Emily and helps her navigate finding her mother and her own true self (Julia bakes cakes all the time, and has her own issues, too). Emily’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ attraction to a teenage boy, whose uncle once loved Dulcie, and her determination to figure out the mystery of floating lights in her yard at night, threatens to tear her family apart, and secrets are revealed all within the framework of a little bit of magic.
I just loved this book! I loved the characters and Ms. Allen’s portrayal of a small North Carolina town in the summer. Her ability to use magical elements in her books I thought, at first, would pull me out of the story, but instead it enhanced the story for me. There were several subplots to follow in this story, but it all gelled and came together seamlessly. It was a quick read for me, too.
If you enjoyed Ms. Allen’s other novels, I think you’ll like this one, too!
My Kindle suggested that I would like “The Peach Keeper” by Sarah Addison Allen, so I downloaded a sample. I found myself immediately pulled into the story, so I purchased it. “The Peach Keeper” tells the story of two 30-year-old women in North Carolina: down to earth Willa Jackson – who owns a natural products hiking store/coffee shop – and Paxton Osgood – the head of the ladies society who still lives at home (though in her parents’ pool house). Paxton has worked to renovate a lovely estate, the Blue Ridge Madam, once owned by Willa’s family and is hosting a gala event for her ladies society. When Paxton reaches out to Willa to attend, the past is re-opened, and their relationship and that of their grandmothers are re-examined in a new and extraordinary light.
I really enjoyed reading this novel! It had some mystery to it (a skeleton is found while renovating the Madam) as well as some light romance (both Willa and Paxton has love interests that they are fighting against). There was also an air of mystical realism in this story: the smell of peaches, a ghost that haunts them, pictures moving to places where they weren’t put, etc.
I hadn’t read anything else by Ms. Allen, but this novel made me want to!
If you enjoy stories about women and the relationships they forge – as well as they strength they convey – then you’ll probably enjoy this book!
Check out the book trailer! (via You Tube – also found on Amazon)