Saturday, July 15, 2023

Sloth Goes Places - North Carolina

 


Sloth Goes Places is a feature where I share books I have tracked from previous Literary Escapes reading challenge hosted by Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book.

Today we are looking at books set in ....

North Carolina


One of my favorite books this week was set in this state, so I decided to spotlight it. Sloth lived in North Carolina for a year while Kiersten went to grad school. He wasn't a huge fan of the humidity, but he enjoyed sampling the barbecue. 

When I think about my reading, I do encounter NC quite a bit. It's a state where quite a few books I read this year have been set. It could be because I am reading multiple books from the same author, or because it's more popular than I thought. I know it's a fairly popular vacation spot as they have beaches and mountains to enjoy as well as many historic sites. 




The Summer of Songbirds
 by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Published by Gallery Books on July 11, 2023
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
five-stars
Goodreads

Four women come together to save the summer camp that changed their lives and rediscover themselves in the process in this moving new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Veil and the Peachtree Bluff series.

Nearly thirty years ago, in the wake of a personal tragedy, June Moore bought Camp Holly Springs and turned it into a thriving summer haven for girls. But now, June is in danger of losing the place she has sacrificed everything for, and begins to realize how much she has used the camp to avoid facing difficulties in her life.

June’s niece, Daphne, met her two best friends, Lanier and Mary Stuart, during a fateful summer at camp. They’ve all helped each other through hard things, from heartbreak and loss to substance abuse and unplanned pregnancy, and the three are inseparable even in their thirties. But when attorney Daphne is confronted with a relationship from her past—and a confidential issue at work becomes personal—she is faced with an impossible choice.

Lanier, meanwhile, is struggling with tough decisions of her own. After a run-in with an old flame, she is torn between the commitment she made to her fianc√© and the one she made to her first love. And when a big secret comes to light, she finds herself at odds with her best friend…and risks losing the person she loves most.

But in spite of their personal problems, nothing is more important to these songbirds than Camp Holly Springs. When the women learn their childhood oasis is in danger of closing, they band together to save it, sending them on a journey that promises to open the next chapters in their lives.

From an author whose “writing coats your soul with heart” ( E! Online ), The Summer of Songbirds is a lyrical and unforgettable celebration of female friendship, summertime freedom, and enduring sisterhood—and a love letter to the places and people that make us who we are.

I haven't written my review for this book yet, but it was so wonderful! An epic friendship and a goal to save the magical place that brought them together drove my adoration for this book, but I also got two second chance romances to enjoy as well. A good part of the book is spent at Camp Holly Springs, and I was treated to rich descriptions of this lovely place. 



Garden Spells
 by Sarah Addison Allen
Published by Bantam on August 28, 2007
Age/Genres: Adult, Enchanted Realism
five-stars
Goodreads

In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.…

The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants—from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys—except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.

When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down—along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy—if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom—or with each other.

Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own….

Another amazing story, but this one was punctuated with a touch of magic. Allen set many of her books in North Carolina, and one can tell how well she knows this state. The draw of this story was seeing the relationship between the sisters mended. Lovely and heartwarming tale. 

[review]



When We Let Go by Rochelle B. Weinstein
Published by Lake Union Publishing on May 17, 2022
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
four-half-stars
Goodreads

When Avery Beckett is proposed to by Jude Masters, a widowed father and the man she loves, it should be a time of great joy. Instead, Avery is on edge. She’s wary of the idea of family, doubtful of happy endings, and too afraid to take the leap. It’s the kind of fear that comes from having secrets.

Before Avery commits to a new life, she must reconcile with the one she left behind.

When Avery returns to her childhood farm in the North Carolina mountains, she’s surprised to be saddled with a companion: Jude’s teenage daughter, Elle, who’s grappling with the loss of her mother and the complicated emotions of first love. On a path of mending wounds and breaking down walls, Avery and Elle form an unexpected alliance. It’s giving them the courage to move forward. And for Avery, everything she needs to confront the past.

An emotional tale of mothers and daughters, loss and acceptance, When We Let Go is about the lessons that come from heartbreak and the healing it takes to embrace the joy of a second chance.

This was a new-to-me author, and I was wowed by my first encounter. So emotional, and there was quite a twist in there too. The farm setting was something that delighted me. I loved getting dirty as these characters went on their healing journeys. 

[review]



Have you read any books set in NC?
Let us know in the comments!

10 comments:

  1. I want to try Kristy Woodson Harvey after seeing your praise of her books. I've never been to North Carolina but I would love to visit. I know Anne @Books of My Heart lives there are it sounds pretty in all the books it's been featured as a setting.

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    1. It was the kind of story I love. Family, friendship, second chances, forgiveness -- all combined in a way that kept me flipping the pages. I have only really been to Raleigh when my daughter was in grad school, but I know of many popular vacation destinations in the state.

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  2. I know I must have read books happening in that state but I can't recall which ones!

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  3. I feel like the Carolinas seem to pop up a lot in books but I can never remember which one. I know that some of Karen Grey's books are set there.

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    1. I think the only book I read by her was set up north. (checking) Yep, Boston.

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  4. I haven't read any of these but I'm definitely familiar with NC. We vacationed in the mountains several times when I was a kid. And it's my husband's home state (and where his family still lives).

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    1. I didn't know the Hubs was from NC. Look at that! It's a very lovely state with lots to do and see

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  5. I've read a ton of books set in S. Carolina, but I'm not sure about N. Carolina. I guess I have read Garden Spells at least.

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    1. You have read books by Sarah Dessen, no? She always sets her books in NC

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