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Authors Out of Carolina Reading List

Officially launched on August 28, Authors Out of Carolina are a group of four Charlotte, North Carolina, writers who regularly visit to write and talk shop. When they realized they were all launching books over the summer, the women decided to band together for a tour. Their book releases culminate September 1 with Marybeth Mayhew Whalen’s The Things We Wish Were True. As summer comes to a close, consider picking up these books for the long holiday weekend or suggesting one to your book club. We loved Erika Marks’ The Last Treasure so much that we included it on our Summer Reading List.

 

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The Fifth Avenue Artists Society by Joy Callaway

The Bronx, 1891. Virginia Loftin, the boldest of four sisters in a family living in genteel poverty, knows what she wants most: to become a celebrated novelist despite her gender, and to marry her first love Charlie. When Charlie proposes instead to a woman from a wealthy family, Ginny is devastated. Shutting out her family, she holes up and turns their story into fiction, obsessively rewriting a better ending. Literary success eludes her — until she attends a salon hosted in her brother’s writer friend John Hopper’s Fifth Avenue mansion. Among painters, musicians, actors, and writers, Ginny returns to herself, even blooming under the handsome John’s increasingly romantic attentions. Torn between two worlds that aren’t quite as she’d imagined them, Ginny will realize how high the stakes are for her family, her writing and her chance at love.

 

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Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright 

Blues musician Cory Ainsworth is barely scraping by after her mother’s death. That is until she discovers a priceless piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia hidden away in a shed out back of the family’s coastal South Carolina home: Elvis Presley’s Stutz Blackhawk, its interior a time capsule of the singer’s last day on earth. A backup singer for the King, Cory’s mother Honey was at Graceland the day Elvis died. Yearning to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past—and possibly her own identity — Cory decides to drive the car back to Memphis and turn it over to Elvis’s estate, retracing the exact route her mother took 37 years earlier. As she winds her way through the sprawling Deep South, with its quaint towns and long stretches of open road, the burning question in Cory’s mind — who is my father? — takes a backseat to the truth she learns about her complicated mother, the minister’s daughter who spent a lifetime struggling to conceal the consequences of a single year of rebellion.

 

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The Last Treasure by Erika Marks

As students with a shared passion for shipwrecks, Liv, Sam and Whit formed a close bond searching for the mysterious Patriot, a schooner that disappeared off the Carolina Coast in 1812 with Aaron Burr’s daughter Theodosia aboard. But as the elusive ship drew them together, love would bring them even closer — and ultimately tear them apart. It’s been seven years since Liv left Sam to be with Whit, and the once close-knit trio went their separate ways. Liv has given up her obsession with Theodosia Burr to focus on her career as a salvage diver and her passionate but troubled marriage to the reckless and hedonistic Whit. But when a diary of Theodosia’s is discovered in a collector’s estate, she is pulled back to the world of the Patriot, this time with startling new clues as to what might have really happened. But when she and Whit reunite with Sam for one last salvage in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, buried romantic tensions begin to resurface, and once again Liv must choose between two men with very different hearts.

 

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The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house. Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts — until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel. During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us.

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