Backlist Review: Cataloochee

Between the Civil War and the government’s creation of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park lives were lived in Cataloochee, a town in the mountains of North Carolina.


You can visit when the roads are open. It’s a great alternative to the crowded main parts of the park. And if you do go read this book, because the multi-generational family saga is the perfect compliment to a day spent exploring the trails, crossing the creek, and exploring abandoned homesteads.

The book begins with gunshots. In the chapters that follow we go back and learn the story of Ezra Banks, and the years of hard work and darkness that brought the shots on. This book is everything I love in a novel. It’s a slow build of a multi-generational classic.

For fans of Cataloochee:

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Writing Prompt: Mollie Garfield In Love


Mollie Garfield was just a young teen when her dad, the president James A. Garfield, was shot and killed. Imagine having to live with grief like that on a public stage. She moved back to Mentor, Ohio with her mom Lucrecia who dedicated herself to preserving her late husband’s papers. When her Dad’s former private secretary Joseph Stanley Brown came to help it’s no wonder she fell in love with him.

This is the historical fiction book I would love to read, but no one has written yet. If you write it please send me an ARC!

Related books:

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REVIEW: A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthy

A Place We Knew Well is a fascinating novel that takes place in the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It hits all of my sweet spots: a historical novel with likable characters, and a good story line. Besides the likability though, what fascinated me the most was the exploration of the ways people act in times of extreme stress.

In the novel we learn about the crisis, mostly through the character's reactions to newspaper articles and television reports. At the same time, we get caught up in small town drama heightened by the fact that the residents are kind of worried that World War III is going to start at any minute. You really get a personal and nuanced look into the Cuban Missile Crisis from the point of view of a variety of people. Reading this book encouraged me to read more about the Cold War.

If you liked A Place We Knew Well try:

When I was reading this, I kept thinking about one of my favorite brain science books Willpower.  The reasons people use (or don't) when making decisions is fascinating to me, and very applicable to the story line in A Place We Knew Well.

People see the name Stephen King, and immediately decide they won't like it. What's great about 11/22/63 though isn't any kind of mystical horror woo woo stuff. What's great is the historical detail, and obvious research that went into this most excellent time travel novel.

Books I'm Adding To My TBR:

Note: Links to are affiliate links. I was given a copy of A Place We Knew Well as part of the Library Thing Early Reviewers program, but all opinions are mine.