Tag Archives: Appalachia

Sweeping Up Glass

Title: Sweeping Up Glass

Author:  Carolyn Wall

Publisher: Delta, August 2009

Summary: Olivia Harker was a happy child living with her father in rural Kentucky. Her father, Tate, was her whole world and she loved helping him take care of wounded and sick animals. Olivia’s happiness came to an abrupt end after her mother Ida’s release from the state hospital. Ida’s madness was still evident, and with her father’s attentions focused on her mother, Olivia’s hatred toward Ida grew. An accident leaves Olivia alone with her mother and she turns to alcohol and men for comfort.

Now Olivia is a young grandmother raising her grandson Will’m and taking care of Ida whose madness has been building through the years. After hunters start killing her beloved wolves on her land, Olivia sets out to find the people responsible. Instead of answers, Olivia finds more questions about her childhood, her neighbors, and the mystery surrounding the accident that stole her father from her. The closer she gets to the truth, the closer to danger she places herself and Will’m.

Sweeping Up Glass explores the complexity of family relationships, the damage done by hate and deception, and the strength of the human spirit. This is a wonderful story and would make a great book group selection.

Who will like this book? Fans of To Kill a Mockingbird or Fried Green Tomatoes.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator


Title: Serena

Author: Ron Rash

Publisher: Ecco, October 2008

Summary: Have you ever read a book that is so good, you just don’t understand how the author isn’t more well-known? For me, that book was the astonishing One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash. This talented author’s words are so devastatingly beautiful that they make you stop and re-read the same sentence over and over again. His latest book, like his previous efforts, is set in Appalachia, this time in the Western North Carolina’s logging fields of the late 1920s. It is there we meet Pemberton, the owner of a lumber company racing to clean out the forest before he loses his land to a planned National Park, and his wife, Serena.

Pemberton is an ambitious man, and Serena is more than his equal. Her unrelenting drive allows no questioning, and certainly no opposition. The violence and danger of life in a lumber camp is mirrored by the treacherous actions of Serena, who may be the most memorable female villain since Lady Macbeth. This fabulous book opens a window into a forgotten past, and will resonate with historical fiction fans, as well as readers who enjoy a good thriller.

Who will like this book? Fans of regional fiction. People who enjoy thrillers that aren’t procedural or formulaic.

If you like this, try this: One Foot in Eden and The World Made Straight, both by Ron Rash.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Broken Angel

TitleBroken Angel

Author:  Sigmund Brouwer

Summary: Set in a Christian dystopia, in the not-so-far-off future, Broken Angel is the story of religious fundamentalism gone horribly wrong. Caitlin has grown up in Appalachia, an independent country within the United States run by fanatics who have distorted Christianity. Punishments for crimes in Appalachia (including the heinous crime of reading and teaching others to read) range from forced labor to death by stoning. No wonder there is secret network of people, known as the Clan, who help people escape this hell hole. Oops-that probably would have gotten me 5 years of hard labor in the factory.

As Caitlin reaches puberty, her father plans for her escape to the Outside. You see, Caitlin was born with a deformity that they have been able to hide up until now. If this deformity is discovered, she will certainly be put to death. Since everyone’s movements in Appalachia are monitored by the government, escaping is never easy. Caitlin is forced to flee on her own as her father tries to draw the bounty hunters away from her tracks, but she eventually meets up with two other fugitives. Together, they must help each other survive while keeping ahead of their pursuers. Will all three of them make it? What really happened to her father when the bounty hunter caught up to him? Is everyone in Appalachia what they appear to be? What is this mysterious deformity of Caitlin’s? Brouwer does a great job of keeping this a fast paced story with intriguing characters and plot twists.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator