Appalachian Literature


Great Books Set in Our Appalachian Mountains


Appalachian History Students need to come check out a book as soon as possible.  Please let me know if there is a specific book you wanted to read but could not find.  Some of the books we have are below.  If there is a book you would like to read but cannot find it here, please let me know.  
 


David Baldacci

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41a7U8uDe%2BL._SX277_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgDivine Justice

    Known by his alias, "Oliver Stone," John Carr is the most wanted man in America. With two pulls of the trigger, the men who destroyed Stone's life and kept him in the shadows were finally silenced.
    But his freedom comes at a steep price: The assassinations he carried out prompt the highest levels of the U. S. government to unleash a massive manhunt. Now as the hunters close in, Stone's flight from the demons of his past will take him from the power corridors of Washington, D.C., to the coal-mining town of Divine, Virginia-and into a world every bit as bloody and lethal as the one he left behind.

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HQFjZ-w1L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgWish You Well

    Precocious 12-year-old Louisa Mae Cardinal lives in the hectic New York City of 1940 with her family. Then tragedy strikes--and Lou and her younger brother, Oz, must go with their invalid mother to live on their great-grandmother's farm in the Virginia mountains. Suddenly Lou finds herself coming of age in a new landscape, making her first true friend, and experiencing adventures tragic, comic, and audacious. But the forces of greed and justice are about to clash over her new home...and as their struggle is played out in a crowded Virginia courtroom, it will determine the future of two children, an entire town, and the mountains they love.

 

Georgia Charles

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cA9W5sqoL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgMurder in the Mountains

    Murder in the Mountains: The Justus and Meadows Family Massacre is the true story of the murders of a mother, daughter, son-in-law, and three small grandsons. Even though the murders occurred over 100 years ago, the event still evokes an emotional response today, especially from the ancestors of Elizabeth Baker Justus (known in the community as Aunt Betty). Aunt Betty was a midwife and widow living in the small, rural community of Hurley in the mountains of southwest Virginia. Her youngest daughter, Lydia, Lydias husband, George, and their three children lived in the home with Aunt Betty. They lived a quiet and simple life until one fall evening when murder entered the small log cabin and forever altered the lives of an entire family and community. The motive for this unspeakable tragedy is as old as time money. Aunt Betty sold a large tract of timberland to the W. M. Ritter Lumber Company, a thriving business in the community. The person convicted of these murders was the Purchasing Agent for this company. Providing factual documentation, as well as the family history handed down through the generations, Georgia Charles presents the gripping and compelling story, detailing the tragic events that led to the murder of her ancestors. Murder in the Mountains: The Justus and Meadows Family Massacre is a thrilling page-turner readers will not discard until finished.

     

 

 

Vera and Bill Cleaver

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VODbJdqjL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg   Where the Lilies Bloom

Mary Call has promised her dying father to keep her brother and sisters together forever on the mountain, and never to take any help from strangers. She is determined to keep her word. No matter what. At first she is sure she can manage. Romey, Ima Dean, and Devola help gather herbs to sell in town; the riches of the mountains will surely keep the family clothed and fed. But then winter comes, fast and furious, and Mary Call has to learn that the land where the lilies bloom is also a cruel and unforgiving place, and it may take more than a promise to keep her family together.

Wilma Dykeman

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31yUAdp1yOL._SY298_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe Far Family

     

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511HTDIMU3L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe Tall Woman

 

Denis Giardina

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qb78uDjuL._SX305_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgStorming Heaven

    Annadel, West Virginia, was a small town rich in coal, farms, and close-knit families, all destroyed when the coal company came in. It stole everything it hadn't bothered to buy -- land deeds, private homes, and ultimately, the souls of its men and women. Four people tell this powerful, deeply moving tale: Activist Mayor C.J. Marcum. Fierce, loveless union man Rondal Lloyd. Gutsy nurse Carrie Bishop, who loved Rondal. And lonely, Sicilian immigrant Rose Angelelli, who lost four sons to the deadly mines. They all bear witness to nearly forgotten events of history, culminating in the final, tragic Battle of Blair Mountain -- when the United States Army greeted 10,000 unemployed pro-union miners with airplanes, bombs, and poison gas. It was the first crucial battle of a war that has yet to be won.
    "Brilliant, diamond-hard fiction, heartwrenching, tough and tender." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

Sharon McCrumb

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pgBg3IiVL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgBallad of Frankie Silver

Set in the Appalachian wilderness and blending legends and folklore with high suspense, this stellar novel, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, is considered one of McCrumb's crowning achievements.In 1833 Frankie Silver was an eighteen-year-old girl convicted of murder in Burke County, North Carolina. Through a detailed investigation, the local sheriff, and soon all the townsfolk, discover reason to question her guilt---but the wheels of justice were mercilessly unstoppable, and she was hanged. Now, more than a century later, another woman is convicted of murder in the lush hills of Tennessee. Her life is in the hands of Spencer Arrowood, a man who begins to discover that the convictions of these two women have deep and haunting parallels. Although Frankie's fate cannot be changed, there is still time to alter the fate of another innocent woman.In a voice that could only be Sharyn McCrumb's, the worlds of these two murders, these two women, intersect in this densely plotted and lyrical novel―and characters, generations, and history are breathlessly painted against an Appalachian canvas.

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51DyzAD9GOL._SX298_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgIf I Killed Him When I Met Him

    When forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson becomes the official P.I. for her brother Bill's fledgling Virginia law firm, she quickly takes on two complex cases.  Eleanor Royden, a perfect lawyer's wife for twenty years, has shot her ex-husband and his wife in cold blood. And Donna Jean Morgan is implicated in the death of her Bible-thumping bigamist husband.

    Bill's feminist firebrand partner, A. P. Hill, does her damnedest for Eleanor, an abused wife in denial, and Bill gallantly defends Donna Jean. Meanwhile, Elizabeth's forensic expertise, including her special knowledge of poisons, gives her the most challenging case of her career. . . .

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51w6zXva8YL._SX294_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgShe Walks Those Hills

     

Jim Miller

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ecAsZe4mL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgHis First, Best Country

    Novel. Available again from SPD, HIS FIRST, BEST COUNTRY is one of the most beautifully written novels I have ever read...-Gurney Norman, Appalachian Heritage. Whether describing the natural wonders of the Appalachian Mountains or a drunk friend passing out on a car's horn, Jim Wayne Miller's language is right on target: And they'd leave the fire to follow the hounds, their blood aroused, their noses tingling with all the possibilities of weed smoke and awakening earth. Hurrying after the hounds, suddenly believers again, faith in the woods restored by a wildness that entered them in the music of baying hounds. Joyce Dyer of Appalachian Journal writes, Jim Wayne Miller is wonderful when he goes to the core of what is most painful and most difficult about our relationship to home, about our relationship to the land that has sustained us, to the people that have loved or tried to love us, to our neighbors, and to ourselves.

  • Newfound

 

Verna Mae Slone

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/519H2x3KOuL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgRennie’s Way

    "This first work of fiction by Verna Mae Slone, firmly grounded in her own background, is set in the 1920s and 1930s in a closeknit community in eastern Kentucky, where family roots run deep. At its center stands as strong and resilient a heroine as any in American literature. Verna Mae Slone, a native of Knott County, Kentucky, is the author of several books, including the bestselling memoir, What My Heart Wants to Tell.

 

Doris Buchanan Smith

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eFPthFMYL._SX306_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgReturn to Bitter Creek

    An illegitimate child in the South learns the meaning of love and family life

     

Lee Smith

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41302EFPMCL._SX313_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgFamily Linen

    "Brilliant, haunting, dark, joyous, remarkably compelling...immensely difficult to put down...a master storyteller."

     

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SK6XESXWL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgFancy Strut

    Speed, Alabama, is frantically preparing for the event of a lifetime: Sesquicentennial Week. And all her proud citizens are kicking up their heels in a lively, pompous fancy strut....

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51UYY57dZlL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgOral History

     

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61ABzXZbW%2BL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgSaving Grace

    Florida Grace Shepherd, eleventh child of the itinerant, snake-handling Reverend Virgil Shepherd, grew up traveling across the Appalachian South. In her heart, she raged against the constant hardships that her parents insisted were part of the Lord’s plan. As she got older, she learned of her father’s “backsliding” with other women, and watched as it drove her mother to an early grave.
     
    Returning to Scrabble Creek, where her happiest memories took place, Grace recounts the harrowing journey of her life with the Lord, from her travels with her father to the day she finally broke free of him only to marry another preacher much older than she, as well as her own stumbles along the rocky and winding path to her own redemption.

 

James Still

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4167stStSIL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgRiver of Earth

    First published in 1940, James Still's masterful novel has become a classic. It is the story, seen through the eyes of a boy, of three years in the life of his family and their kin. He sees his parents pulled between the meager farm with its sense of independence and the mining camp with its uncertain promise of material prosperity. In his world privation, violence, and death are part of everyday life, accepted and endured. Yet it is a world of dignity, love, and humor, of natural beauty which Still evokes in sharp, poetic images. No writer has caught more effectively the vividness of mountain speech or shown more honestly the trials and joys of mountain life.

 

Jesse Stuart

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JIn5bYQhL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgCradle of Copperheads

    There is an old eloquent, and perhaps naïve folk expression which I have not heard much in recent years. People used to say, "I've got Christmas in my bones." It indicates a feeling which stirs-or should stir-in the human marrow at the approach of and throughout the Christmas season. It is a warm, gentle excitement, a quiet rejoicing merriment that comes from deep inside and fills the heart and tingles the blood. It comes from seeing clear winter nights filled with crisp air and brilliant stars, from bright windows in homes and shops, from candles and tinsel and gay packages and children's faces. I've got Christmas in my bones. Thus does Mutt Burton begin this warm and gentle book about his lifelong passion for Christmas and all its trappings. Burton, a Christmas scholar and an ardent promoter of the Twelve Days of Christmas, writes about every aspect of the season, including Christmas history and lore. More importantly, he reminisces about his family's Christmas traditions and his own joyous experiences, never losing sight of the important message that is at the heart of Christmas: love.

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Cq5izQfGL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe Thread Runs So True

    First published in 1949, Jesse Stuart’s now classic personal account of his twenty years of teaching in the mountain region of Kentucky has enchanted and inspired generations of students and teachers. With eloquence and wit, Stuart traces his twenty-year career in education, which began, when he was only seventeen years old, with teaching grades one through eight in a one-room schoolhouse. Before long Stuart was on a path that made him principal and finally superintendent of city and county schools. The road was not smooth, however, and Stuart faced many challenges, from students who were considerably older—and bigger—than he to well-meaning but distrustful parents, uncooperative administrators and, most daunting, his own fear of failure. Through it all, Stuart never lost his abiding faith in the power of education. A graceful ode to what he considered the greatest profession there is, Jesse Stuart’s The Thread That Runs So True is timeless proof that “good teaching is forever and the teacher is immortal.”

 

James Alexander Thom

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YxzOgf-5L._SX299_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgFollow the River

    Mary Ingles was twenty-three, married, and pregnant, when Shawnee Indians invaded her peaceful Virginia settlement, killed the men and women, then took her captive. For months, she lived with them, unbroken, until she escaped, and followed a thousand mile trail to freedom--an extraordinary story of a pioneer woman who risked her life to return to her people.

 

Adriana Trigiani

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41C04Rxn1KL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgBig Cherry Holler

    BIG CHERRY HOLLER, the extraordinary sequel to BIG STONE GAP, takes us back to the mountain life that enchanted us in Adriana Trigiani’s best selling debut novel. It’s been eight years since the town pharmacist and long time spinster Ave Maria Mulligan married coal miner Jack MacChesney. With her new found belief in love and its possibilities, Ave Maria makes a life for herself and her growing family, hoping that her fearless leap into commitment will make happiness stay. What she didn’t count on was that fate, life, and the ghosts of the past would come to haunt her and, eventually, test the love she has for her husband. The mountain walls that have protected her all of her life can not spare Ave Maria the life lessons she must learn. BIG CHERRY HOLLER is the story of a marriage, revealing the deep secrets, the power struggle, the betrayal and the unmet expectations that exist between husband and wife. It is the story of a community that must reinvent itself as it comes to grips with the decline of the coal mining industry. It is the story of an extended family, the people of Big Stone Gap, who are there for one another especially when times are toughincluding bookmobile librarian and sexpert Iva Lou Wade Makin, savvy businesswoman Pearl Grimes, crusty cashier Fleeta Mullins, and Rescue Squad captain Spec Broadwater, who faces the complications of his double life. Ave Maria’s best friend Theodore Tipton, now band director at the University of Tennessee, continues to be her chief counselor and conscience as he reaches the pinnacle of marching band success.  When Ave Maria takes her daughter to Italy for the summer, she meets a handsome stranger who offers her a life beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ave Maria is forced to confront what is truly important: to her, to her marriage, and to her family. Brimming with humor, wisdom, honesty, and the drama and local color of mountain life from Virginia to Italy, BIG CHERRY HOLLER is a deeply felt, brilliantly evoked story of two lovers who have lost their way and their struggle to find one another again.

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dVkP4GWWL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgBig Stone Gap

    Nestled in the lush Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the town of Big Stone Gap has been home for Ave Maria Mulligan Machesney and her family for generations. She’s been married to her beloved Jack for nearly twenty years, raised one child and buried another, and run a business that binds her community together, all while holding her tight circle of family and friends close.

    But with her daughter, Etta, having flown the nest to enchanting Italy, Ave Maria has reached a turning point. When a friend’s postcard arrives with the message “It’s time to live your life for you,” Ave Maria realizes that it’s time to go in search of brand-new dreams. But before she can put her foot on the path, her life is turned upside down.

    Ave Maria agrees to helm the town musical, a hilarious reunion of local talent past and present. A lifelong friendship collapses when a mysterious stranger comes to town and reveals a long-buried secret. An unexpected health crisis threatens her family. An old heartthrob reappears, challenging her marriage and offering a way out of her troubles. An opportunistic coal company comes to town and threatens to undermine the town’s way of life and the mountain landscape Ave Maria has treasured since she was a girl. Now she has no choice but to reinvent her world, her life, and herself, whether she wants to or not.
    Trigiani is at her best in this exquisite page-turner. Home to Big Stone Gap is an emotional and unforgettable journey that reminds us that you can go home again and again.

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Afesk9GPL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgMilk Glass Moon

    Milk Glass Moon, the third book in Adriana Trigiani's bestselling Big Stone Gap series, continues the life story of Ave Maria Mulligan MacChesney as she faces the challenges and changes of motherhood with her trademark humor and honesty. With twists as plentiful as those found on the holler roads of southwest Virginia, this story takes turns that will surprise and enthrall the reader.

    Transporting us from Ave Maria's home in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Italian Alps, from New York City to the Tuscan countryside, Milk Glass Moon is the story of a shifting mother-daughter relationship, of a daughter's first love and a mother's heartbreak, of an enduring marriage that contains its own ongoing challenges, and of a community faced with seismic change.

    All of Trigiani's beloved characters are back: Jack Mac, Ave Maria's true love, who is willing to gamble security for the unknown; her best friend and confidant, bandleader Theodore Tip-ton, who begins a new life in New York City; librarian and sexpert Iva Lou Wade Makin, who faces a life-or-death crisis. Meanwhile, surprises emerge in the blossoming of crusty cashier Fleeta Mullins, the maturing of mountain girl turned savvy businesswoman Pearl Grimes, and the return of Pete Rutledge, the handsome stranger who turned Ave Maria's world upside down in Big Cherry Holler.

    In this rollicking hayride of upheaval and change, Ave Maria is led to places she never dreamed she would go, and to people who enter her life and rock its foundation. As Ave Maria reaches into the past to find answers to the present, readers will stay with her every step of the way, rooting for the onetime town spinster who embraced love and made a family. Milk Glass Moon is about the power of love and its abiding truth, and captures Trigiani at her most lyrical and heartfelt.

 

Ruth White

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51DoWEr88HL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgBelle Prater’s Boy

Around 5:00 a.m. on a warm Sunday morning on October 1953, my Aunt Belle left her bed and vanished from the face of the earth. Everyone in Coal Station, Virginia, has a theory about what happened to Belle Prater, but twelve-year-old Gypsy wants the facts, and when her cousin Woodrow, Aunt Belle's son moves next door, she has her chance. Woodrow isn't as forthcoming as Gypsy hopes, yet he becomes more than just a curiosity to her-- during their sixth-grade year she finds that they have enough in common to be best friends. Even so, Gypsy is puzzled by Woodrow's calm acceptance of his mother's disappearance, especially since she herself has never gotten over her father's death. When Woodrow finally reveals that he's been keeping a secret about his mother, Gypsy begins to understand that there are different ways of finding the strength to face the truth, no matter how painful it is. Belle Prater's Boy is a 1996 Boston Globe - Horn Book Awards Honor Book for Fiction and a 1997 Newbery Honor Book.

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/518iB-pCeJL._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgButtermilk Hill

The days seem carefree for Piper Berry in her hometown of Buttermilk Hill, North Carolina -- days filled with fishing with her daddy and ten-year-old aunt/best friend Lindy and listening to her grandmother's stories. But then Mama, Tiny Lambert (whom readers may remember from Weeping Willow), announces she wants more out of life than being a housewife, and Daddy thinks this is unreasonable. He moves out and that ugly word d-i-v-o-r-c-e becomes a reality. Soon Mama's time becomes consumed with waiting tables and taking college classes. Daddy remarries, adopts two sons, and has a new baby daughter. Piper can't help but feel as if she doesn't belong anywhere anymore, and her only comfort is found in spending time with Lindy and their friend Bucky, whose life is full of his own share of family trouble. Piper's growing interest in and talent for poetry help her find a voice to say the things that are hardest and make an important decision about following her own dreams.

  • Diary of a Wildflower

    Best known for her award-winning children's books, Ruth White has penned her first novel for adults based on her own mother’s early years in the Virginia mountains. After spending a bitter childhood on an isolated mountaintop, Lorelei Starr sets her sites on far-off places. As a teenager in the roaring twenties, she is dazzled by the carefree world of flappers and bobbed hair, the Charleston and the IT girl, Prohibition, and the notorious speakeasies. Most important she finds men who are handsome, well-bred, well-educated, and reek of old money. As a mere wildflower, she doubts she can ever compete with the exotic orchids in this new world. But after a sad visit back home she comes to realize her own power, which will help her break the cycle of hopelessness among the women of her family.
    As a kid you loved Belle Prater's Boy. As a teen you loved Weeping Willow. Now, as an adult, you will love Diary of a Wildflower.

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510sHSe98yL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgSearch for Belle Prater

Since Belle Prater inexplicably disappeared about a year ago, her son, Woodrow, and his cousin Gypsy have been searching for answers. Then, on the stroke of midnight on Woodrow's birthday, the phone rings. No one is at the other end of the line, but Woodrow is certain it was his mama. They find out that the call was placed from nearby Bluefield, and set out to see if they can track her down. Joining them is Cassie Caulborne, the new girl in school, who is endowed with the gift of second sight. Unfortunately, they can find no trace of Belle. Once again, Woodrow realizes that perhaps even worse than not knowing where she is, is not understanding why his mama would leave him. How Woodrow, Gypsy, and Cassie come to understand the truth, and Woodrow eventually finds Belle, fills this oftrequested sequel to Belle Prater's Boy with magic and suspense. The Search for Belle Prater is a 2006 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

  • Sweet Creek Hollow

  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MFusoPqbL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgTadpole

It's the beginning of summer 1955, and though her family is struggling financially, Carolina's mama still indulges her four daughters' whims, like springing for all of them to get permanents. Each of her older sisters seems to have cut out a niche for herself, but Carolina Collins is still trying to find her own special place in life. The girls' hardship is softened by the sudden appearance of their favorite cousin, Tadpole, a charismatic thirteen-year-old with a knack for guitar playing. Tad sees in Carolina a spirit and talent that no one has noticed before, and he predicts that she "is gonna surprise everybody one of these days." The Collinses soon learn the real reason for Tad's visit, however, and the weeks that follow are filled with dread that his abusive guardian will come and take him away. But Tad is not the sort of boy to succumb to a bully, and he and Carolina both have surprises in store for everyone.


  • Description: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51bvnAJT4kL._SX361_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
    Way Down Deep

Although Ruby seemed to just appear out of thin air on the steps of the courthouse on the first day of summer in 1944, no one in Way Down Deep, West Virginia, ever worried too much about where the toddler came from. They figured that if Ruby's people were dumb enough to lose something as valuable as a child, then that was their problem. So even though Ruby can't help but wonder where she came from, she has led a joyful and carefree life in Way Down Deep, loved and watched over by Miss Arbutus – proprietor of The Roost, the local boardinghouse – the residents of The Roost, and the rest of the town. But when Ruby is twelve, a new family moves to Way Down Deep, and they inadvertently provide enough clues about Ruby's past that she is able to find her own people. Ruby travels from Way Down Deep to the top of Yonder Mountain to learn who she really is – only to find that she is bound to Way Down Deep by something even stronger than family ties: love. With a touch of fairy-tale magic and a lot of heart, Ruth White explores just what it is that makes a place truly home.