Outer Banks Reads

March 17, 2020

Who doesn’t love curling up and getting lost in a good book? Whether you’re on the beach, in a hammock, or in cozied up at home: we’re here to share Outer Banks Reads. Get your fill of all things Coastal Carolina from wherever you may be!

Nights in Rodanthe – Nicholas Sparks

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks comes a tender story of hope and joy; of sacrifice and forgiveness—a moving reminder that love is possible at any age, at any time, and often comes when we least expect it. At forty-five, Adrienne Willis must rethink her entire life when her husband abandons her for a younger woman. Reeling with heartache and in search of a respite, she flees to the small coastal town of Rodanthe, North Carolina to tend to a friend’s inn for the weekend. But when a major storm starts moving in, it appears that Adrienne’s perfect getaway will be ruined—until a guest named Paul Flanner arrives. At fifty-four, Paul has just sold his medical practice and come to Rodanthe to escape his own shattered past. Now, with the storm closing in, two wounded people will turn to each other for comfort—and in one weekend set in motion feelings that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

The Prayer Box – Lisa Wingate

These things I do, this melody of an ordinary day, keep the hours in order. . . . Strange to think of that. The song of an ordinary life. Mine would be in these letters to you.

When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in Iola’s rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper–the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with lessons in faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything.

This book is the first book of a trilogy, including: The Story Keeper, and The Seakeepers Daughters

Summer Rental – Mary Kay Andrews

Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction….

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she’s made over the past decade of her life. Julia—whose caustic wit covers up her wounds–has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can’t hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life.  And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs.

Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he’s hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he’s ever cared about.

Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity.  Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs?

Five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life. Five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness. Five people who each need a sea change, and one month in a summer rental that might just give it to them.

Hatteras Island: Keeper of the Outer Banks – Ray McAllister

Hatteras Island is a barrier island, part of the famed Outer Banks that runs parallel to the North Carolina coast. But any map, let alone a satellite view from space, will show the island is not a part of North Carolina at all. Hatteras belongs to the Atlantic Ocean, as much a part of the sea as fish and waves, and as much at the sea’s mercy as sandcastles on the beach. And it belongs to the heart. In Hatteras Island: Keeper of the Outer Banks, award-winning coastal writer Ray McAllister returns to the site of his family’s annual vacations a quarter-century ago. Much has changed on Hatteras. But even more has not. Elsewhere, fast-food restaurants, strip malls, and beach-dominating duplexes have overcome resort islands. But the storm-buffeted Hatteras-as much as 30 miles from the mainland and largely protected against intruders by national seashore status-has kept its soul.

Summer’s Child – Diane Chamberlain

Early on the morning of her eleventh birthday, on the beach beside her North Carolina home, Daria Cato receives an unbelievable gift from the sea—an abandoned newborn baby. When the infant’s identity cannot be uncovered, she is adopted by Daria’s loving family. But her silent secrets continue to haunt Daria.

Now, twenty years later, Shelly has grown into an unusual, ethereal young woman whom Daria continues to protect. But when Rory Taylor, a friend from Daria’s childhood and now a television producer, returns at Shelly’s request to do a story about the circumstances surrounding her birth, something precarious shifts in the small town of Kill Devil Hills.

The more questions Rory asks, the more unsettled the tiny community becomes, as closely guarded secrets and the sins of that long-ago summer begin to surface. Piece by piece, the mystery of summer’s child is being exposed, a mystery that no one involved—not Shelly, Daria, not even Rory—is prepared to face.

Chronicles of the Outer Banks: Fish Tales & Salty Gales – Sarah Downing

The Outer Banks has a long history of unconventional characters and curious occurrences. Did you know that escapees from an escargot farm keep the snail police on their toes? A larger-than-life likeness of Sir Walter Raleigh was once beheaded in Manteo, and the town gave itself a royal makeover in honor of a visit from a princess. The village of Corolla was integral to the early years of the Space Race. Local author Sarah Downing shares these and many more offbeat tales.

Something Read, Something Dead – Eva Gates

Winter falls on North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Lucy Richardson and her friends joyfully help her favorite cousin, Josie O’Malley, plan her wedding. The owner and head baker of Josie’s Cozy Bakery and her fiancé, chef Jake Greenblatt, want a small, simple wedding.

But to their horror, Josie’s imperious grandmother, Gloria, descends with the “Louisiana Mafia”: a gaggle of aunts and cousins who intend to take control of the wedding plans. Gloria doesn’t do small and simple, and cousin Mirabelle has her own ideas for Josie’s wedding, something grand and lavish—and paid for by Josie’s parents, of course—that will kickstart her fledgling event planning business and get her work shown on the covers of wedding magazines. To make matters worse, Mirabelle focuses her full Southern charm on the prospective groom…and Jake doesn’t seem entirely adverse to her attentions.

To smooth the waters, Lucy hosts a bridal shower at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library. But it turns deadly when Mirabelle collapses—soon after eating the gluten-free treats Josie prepared specifically for her. Now, to save her favorite cousin from prison, Lucy will have to bring a crook to book in this fifth festive Lighthouse Library mystery from national bestselling author Eva Gates.

Other Coastal NC reads:

The NotebookNicholas Sparks

A man with a faded, well-worn notebook open in his lap. A woman experiencing a morning ritual she doesn’t understand. Until he begins to read to her.  The Notebook is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love, a story of miracles that will stay with you forever. Set amid the austere beauty of coastal North Carolina in 1946, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returned home from World War II. Noah, thirty-one, is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories. . . until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again. Allie Nelson, twenty-nine, is now engaged to another man, but realizes that the original passion she felt for Noah has not dimmed with the passage of time. Still, the obstacles that once ended their previous relationship remain, and the gulf between their worlds is too vast to ignore. With her impending marriage only weeks away, Allie is forced to confront her hopes and dreams for the future, a future that only she can shape. Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments, and fundamental changes that affect us all. Shining with a beauty that is rarely found in current literature, The Notebook establishes Nicholas Sparks as a classic storyteller with a unique insight into the only emotion that really matters.

The Southern Side of Paradise – Kristy Woodson Harvey

With the man of her dreams back in her life and all three of her daughters happy, Ansley Murphy should be content. But she can’t help but feel like it’s all a little too good to be true.

Meanwhile, youngest daughter and actress Emerson, who is recently engaged and has just landed the role of a lifetime, seemingly has the world by the tail. Only, something she can’t quite put her finger on is worrying her—and it has nothing to do with her recent health scare.

When two new women arrive in Peachtree Bluff—one who has the potential to wreck Ansley’s happiness and one who could tear Emerson’s world apart—everything is put in perspective. And after secrets that were never meant to be told come to light, the powerful bond between the Murphy sisters and their mother comes crumbling down, testing their devotion to each other and forcing them to evaluate the meaning of family.

With Kristy Woodson Harvey’s signature charm, wit, and heart, The Southern Side of Paradise is another masterful Peachtree Bluff novel that proves she is a “Southern writer with staying power” (Booklist)

A Walk to RememberNicholas Sparks

Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he’d fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister. A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it. Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter’s life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood

Certainly, Carolina’s got a lot worth writing about! What’s your favorite OBX-inspired book to read?

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