77 books like North Carolina Legends

By Richard Walser,

Here are 77 books that North Carolina Legends fans have personally recommended if you like North Carolina Legends. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Dead and Gone: Classic Crimes of North Carolina

Jennifer Bean Bower Author Of Winston & Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem

From my list on North Carolina murders, mysteries, and legends.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jennifer Bean Bower is an award-winning writer and native Tar Heel. A passionate student of North Carolina history, Bower seeks to document the lesser-known people, places, and events of her state's past. She is the author of four books: North Carolina Aviatrix Viola Gentry: The Flying Cashier; Animal Adventures in North Carolina; Winston & Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem; and Moravians in North Carolina.

Jennifer's book list on North Carolina murders, mysteries, and legends

Jennifer Bean Bower Why did Jennifer love this book?

Dead and Gone was the first book I purchased with my own “earned” money. I was ten years old when I saw the book on display in a North Carolina bookshop. The book’s cover was orange and featured an illustration of the grim reaper in a top hat and coat. Needless to say, it grabbed my attention. Inside, Wellman’s words did not disappoint as he brought ten (pre-1914) North Carolina murders vividly to life. In fact, his words were so vivid, that I could not put the book down and finished reading it in a day. Wellman’s book sparked my interest in North Carolina’s not-so-happy past and I am sure it will spark your interest too.

By Manly Wade Wellman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dead and Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Violent dealth is amazingly apt to remind us of vigorous life; these ten stories of classic North Carolina murders which occurred between 1808 and 1914 represent a much neglected part of the exciting history of the state. Victims include a Confederate general, a lovely orphan girl, a pathetic little boy, and a highly offensive political boss. The motives are the usual ones -- gain, revenge, ""elimination,"" and jealousy. The plaintive history and untimely death of Naomi Wise -- ""poor 'Omi"" they called her in Randolph County over five generations ago -- strikingly counterparts Dreiser's An American Tragedy ; Ida Bell…


Book cover of North Carolina Ghosts and Legends

Jennifer Bean Bower Author Of Winston & Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem

From my list on North Carolina murders, mysteries, and legends.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jennifer Bean Bower is an award-winning writer and native Tar Heel. A passionate student of North Carolina history, Bower seeks to document the lesser-known people, places, and events of her state's past. She is the author of four books: North Carolina Aviatrix Viola Gentry: The Flying Cashier; Animal Adventures in North Carolina; Winston & Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem; and Moravians in North Carolina.

Jennifer's book list on North Carolina murders, mysteries, and legends

Jennifer Bean Bower Why did Jennifer love this book?

Nancy Roberts, also known as the “First Lady of American Folklore,” inspired many children—including me—to read. North Carolina Ghosts & Legends recounts stories of “true” ghostly encounters and has sent many readers on ghost hunts of their own. I became fascinated with Roberts’ story of the Little Red Man—a ghost who is said to haunt a historic site in Winston-Salem—and while visiting the site (on a second-grade field trip), I interrupted a tour guide to inquire about his whereabouts. My classmates erupted in giggles and I was reprimanded for the disruption. Nevertheless, many years later, I had the pleasure of working at that historic site; but, I never had the pleasure of meeting the infamous ghost.

By Nancy Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked North Carolina Ghosts and Legends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nancy Roberts's Southern Ghost Lore Revival--Exhumed and Improved for Fearless Reader.

Nancy Roberts has often been described to as the "First Lady of American Folklore" and the Title is well deserved. Throughout her decades-long career, Roberts documented supernatural experiences and interviewed hundreds of people about their recollections of encounters with the supernatural.

This nationally renowned writer began her undertaking in this ghostly realm as a freelance writer for the Charlotte Observer. Encouraged by Carl Sandburg, who enjoyed her stories and articles, Roberts wrote her first book in 1958. Aptly called a "custodian of the twilight zone" by Southern Living magazine,…


Book cover of The Flaming Ship of Ocracoke and Other Tales of the Outer Banks

Jennifer Bean Bower Author Of Winston & Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem

From my list on North Carolina murders, mysteries, and legends.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jennifer Bean Bower is an award-winning writer and native Tar Heel. A passionate student of North Carolina history, Bower seeks to document the lesser-known people, places, and events of her state's past. She is the author of four books: North Carolina Aviatrix Viola Gentry: The Flying Cashier; Animal Adventures in North Carolina; Winston & Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem; and Moravians in North Carolina.

Jennifer's book list on North Carolina murders, mysteries, and legends

Jennifer Bean Bower Why did Jennifer love this book?

Once the first page has been turned, Judge Whedbee’s book (much like Roberts’ and Wellman’s) cannot be put down. His lively tales of shipwrecks, pirates, murders, and ghostly occurrences, are a must-read when visiting a North Carolina beach. In his book you will learn about ships like the Crissie Wright that sank near Beaufort, North Carolina, and a ghost ship that sails the waters of Ocracoke. After my first read of the book, I visited the common grave of the Crissie Wright victims inside Beaufort’s Old Burying Ground and it was there that Whedbee’s words—and my imagination—truly brought the story to life. I can’t imagine going to a North Carolina beach and not being aware of these intriguing tales.

By Charles Harry Whedbee, Virginia Ingram (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Flaming Ship of Ocracoke and Other Tales of the Outer Banks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Every September, on the first night of the new moon, there are those who vow they see a flaming ship sail three times past the coast of Ocracoke. No matter the direction or velocity of the wind, this fiery vessel moves swiftly toward the northeast, they say, always accompanied by an eerie wailing sound. The story of this ship is but one of the colorful legends intrinsic to the charm of North Carolina's historic coastland. From the northern tip of the Outer Banks to the lower end of the sweeping shoreline, there are stories to be found . . .…


Book cover of Mountain Ghost Stories and Curious Tales of Western North Carolina

Jennifer Bean Bower Author Of Winston & Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem

From my list on North Carolina murders, mysteries, and legends.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jennifer Bean Bower is an award-winning writer and native Tar Heel. A passionate student of North Carolina history, Bower seeks to document the lesser-known people, places, and events of her state's past. She is the author of four books: North Carolina Aviatrix Viola Gentry: The Flying Cashier; Animal Adventures in North Carolina; Winston & Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem; and Moravians in North Carolina.

Jennifer's book list on North Carolina murders, mysteries, and legends

Jennifer Bean Bower Why did Jennifer love this book?

If you are going to visit the North Carolina mountains, Russell and Barnett’s book Mountain Ghost Stories and Curious Tales of Western North Carolina is a must-read. In it, you will learn about the mysterious lights that appear and disappear over Brown Mountain and the phantom voices that seem to sing atop Roan Mountain. The book, like my other recommendations, is not only a fun read, but it effectively preserves the state’s oral legends; legends that will hopefully continue to be passed from one generation to the next. I have spent many hours trying to catch a glimpse of the Brown Mountain Lights and have hiked Roan Mountain in a quest to hear the ethereal voices. Although I did not hear or see anything, maybe you will. Be sure to read the book and set out on your own adventure. 

By Randy Russell, Janet Barnett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mountain Ghost Stories and Curious Tales of Western North Carolina as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For centuries, the mountains of western North Carolina have inspired wonder and awe. It was only natural that man, after gazing at such scenic wonders, would turn some of the mystery he felt into legend. Sometimes these legends attempted to explain natural phenomena, sometimes they attempted to explain an occurrence that appeared to be supernatural, and sometimes they grew up around the eccentric characters that were drawn to the isolation of these mysterious hills. This collection of eighteen stories presents some of the mystery and awe that the mountains convey, and it may alter your perception of the Blue Ridge…


Book cover of The Bondwoman's Narrative

Bettye Kearse Author Of The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President's Black Family

From my list on notable enslaved women.

Why am I passionate about this?

According to the eight generations of my family’s oral historians, I am a descendant of an enslaved cook and her enslaver, and half-brother, President James Madison. I am also a writer and a retired pediatrician. My essays, personal narrative, and commentaries have appeared in the Boston Herald, River Teeth, TIME, and the New York Times Magazine.

Bettye's book list on notable enslaved women

Bettye Kearse Why did Bettye love this book?

Though not published until 2002, after Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. purchased and authenticated the manuscript, the autobiographical novel The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts is widely considered the first book known to have been written by a fugitive enslaved woman. Crafts was the author’s pseudonym, and the novel, estimated to have been written in 1858, parallels the life of Hannah Bond, a woman who is documented to have escaped enslavement on a North Carolina plantation and who, like the novel’s protagonist, eventually settled in New Jersey. The preface and introduction of the published book read like a mystery adventure as Professor Gates reveals his multifaceted strategies to identify the real-life author and the real-life characters of her book.

By Hannah Crafts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bondwoman's Narrative as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Possibly the first novel written by a black woman slave, this work is both a historically important literary event and a gripping autobiographical story in its own right.

When her master is betrothed to a woman who conceals a tragic secret, Hannah Crafts, a young slave on a wealthy North Carolina plantation, runs away in a bid for her freedom up North. Pursued by slave hunters, imprisoned by a mysterious and cruel captor, held by sympathetic strangers, and forced to serve a demanding new mistress, she finally makes her way to freedom in New Jersey. Her compelling story provides a…


Book cover of A Barefoot Tide

Myra Johnson Author Of The Soft Whisper of Roses

From my list on Christian true-to-life women dealing with life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a native of Texas who loves bluebonnets, big skies, and barbecue! With 25+ books in print, I write about imperfect characters who discover their inner strength as they lean on God and learn to trust each other and themselves. I’m fascinated by the dynamics of personalities and relationships, as well as the backstories that made the individuals who they are now. If you’re looking for stories of true-to-life characters growing deeper in faith while dealing with all the messiness human relationships entail, here are some novels you may enjoy.

Myra's book list on Christian true-to-life women dealing with life

Myra Johnson Why did Myra love this book?

Grace Greene writes the ultimate “beach read”—endearing characters, descriptions that put you right there at oceanside, and a poignant blend of emotion and humor. I love how Lilliane, the heroine, discovers courage she never thought she had. A temporary job as a live-in caregiver begins merely as a way to earn money for much-needed home repairs. But her stay in Emerald Isle, NC, becomes a life-changer, not only for her but for the elderly gentleman who soon becomes both friend and mentor. It’s a book about stepping out of your comfort zone and opening your heart to new possibilities no matter your age. And if this novel stirs your heart as it did mine, you won’t want to miss the sequel, A Dancing Tide.

By Grace Greene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Barefoot Tide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Grace Greene, USA Today Bestselling author, and author of Beach Rental, The Memory of Butterflies, and The Wildflower House Series, brings us A Barefoot Tide ~ a standalone novel set along the crystal coast of North Carolina, in the small town of Emerald Isle. From rural Virginia to coastal Carolina ~ Lilliane Moore leaves the forests and rolling hills of her rural Virginia hometown, Cub Creek, to accept a temporary job as a companion to an elderly man who lives at the beach. It’s a risky move that’s out of character for her, but her thirties are passing quickly—she feels…


Book cover of The Last Song

Suzanne Goodwyn Author Of Wrightsville Beach

From my list on smart women trying to figure it all out.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing all my life, but was never able to find my voice until I had my daughters. It was for them I wrote “Wrightsville Beach”. I wanted to show them what a good relationship should look like and how their decisions make a difference in where they will go. I want my readers to relive that feeling of falling in love and to be sent in unexpected directions, as life so often does to us. I want you to enjoy it so much, you don’t want to put the book down until it’s finished and once you do, to sit and reflect on it, savoring the feeling it has left behind.

Suzanne's book list on smart women trying to figure it all out

Suzanne Goodwyn Why did Suzanne love this book?

Ronnie is everything a teenage girl should be—independent, sharp, and fierce. Will, the local guy who has it all, is drawn to her unique spirit. He sees through her defiance as they bond over Ronnie’s desire to save a sea turtle’s nest from predators. Over the course of their summer romance, Ronnie learns that Will’s life is not what she expected. In return, Will helps Ronnie make some discoveries of her own. This book is close to my heart in that you see how Ronnie learns how to channel her spirit from being rebellious to guiding her life in a more positive direction. She is similar to Jess in that she rises to the challenges presented to her and we see what a difference her decisions make in getting her to where she belongs.

By Nicholas Sparks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seventeen-year-old Veronica 'Ronnie' Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father . . . until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.

The tale that unfolds is an…


Book cover of Look Homeward, Angel

Beverly A. Li Author Of The Elbow Grease Legacy

From my list on seeking to unravel dysfunctional family cycles.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took a career as a librarian to help me understand my need for order, instead of the emotional chaos I grew up with in a large family. Being the child of an alcoholic father and a codependent mother gave me little personal value. After gaining some sense of worth in college, I wanted to give my kids the stability and support every child deserves, but I had to learn how to do this. I used my resources: education, self-scrutiny, honesty, art, nature, and the good Lord of the universe.

Beverly's book list on seeking to unravel dysfunctional family cycles

Beverly A. Li Why did Beverly love this book?

As a leader in autobiographical fiction, Wolfe writes of a large family dominated by an alcoholic, authoritarian father who is highly dramatic in words and behavior.

His wife’s determination to survive by running a boarding house and investing in real estate leaves little time for parental attention to the needs of their children.

While most grow to repeat the dysfunctional family habits that hinder healthy development, the youngest child, with the help of his teachers, struggles enough to finally take steps away from the pain, and out of the cycle, as I did with my own life.

By Thomas Wolfe,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Look Homeward, Angel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The spectacular, history-making first novel about a young man’s coming of age by literary legend Thomas Wolfe, first published in 1929 and long considered a classic of twentieth century literature.

A legendary author on par with William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Wolfe published Look Homeward, Angel, his first novel, about a young man’s burning desire to leave his small town and tumultuous family in search of a better life, in 1929. It gave the world proof of his genius and launched a powerful legacy.

The novel follows the trajectory of Eugene Gant, a brilliant and restless young man whose…


Book cover of The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas

Andrew Waters Author Of To the End of the World: Nathanael Greene, Charles Cornwallis, and the Race to the Dan

From my list on the "Race to the Dan" and the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I’ve been an avid reader of histories and biographies all my life, I didn’t become passionate about the American Revolution until moving to South Carolina in 2013. That’s when I began to learn about the South’s rich American Revolution history and become fascinated with Nathanael Greene’s role in it. So far, this fascination has inspired me to write two histories on Nathanael Greene, and I hope to keep going. Today, we tend to think about the American Revolution in terms of its northern battles, but if you want to understand the war’s end game, you need understand what happened in the South. These books are a great place to start.

Andrew's book list on the "Race to the Dan" and the American Revolution

Andrew Waters Why did Andrew love this book?

Anyone who wants to learn about the American Revolution in the South should start here.

Buchanan not only weaves a thrilling narrative of the events beginning with the British capture of Charleston and ending at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, he does it in a literary style, perfectly weaving primary accounts with his own insights and observations.

This book changed my life! Not only did it introduce me to events of the Race to the Dan, it convinced me to write my own version of it. Anyone who wants to compliment me as a writer of histories, please compare me to John Buchanan.

By John Buchanan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Road to Guilford Courthouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliant account of the proud and ferocious American fighters who stood up to the British forces in savage battles crucial in deciding both the fate of the Carolina colonies and the outcome of the war.

""A tense, exciting historical account of a little known chapter of the Revolution, displaying history writing at its best.""--Kirkus Reviews

""His compelling narrative brings readers closer than ever before to the reality of Revolutionary warfare in the Carolinas.""--Raleigh News & Observer.

""Buchanan makes the subject come alive like few others I have seen."" --Dennis Conrad, Editor, The Nathanael Greene Papers.

""John Buchanan offers us…


Book cover of The Kudzu Queen

Steven Mayfield Author Of The Penny Mansions

From my list on funny and not-so-funny truths about small towns.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a small, Midwestern town where people sinned Monday through Saturday, then went to church on Sunday to stock up on absolution for the coming week. It was also a place where people wanted to be well-thought of, if thought of at all, and could be at their best when things were at their worst. I wanted to escape as soon as possible, yet now as old memories become more accessible than recent ones, I realize that I never escaped at all. I write about small towns, perhaps to avenge, perhaps as homage; perhaps because it is still, after all these years, what I best know.

Steven's book list on funny and not-so-funny truths about small towns

Steven Mayfield Why did Steven love this book?

Another book that uses humor to get at the truth of things, in this case a dark truth that author Mimi Herman expertly negotiates. Plus, The Kudzu Queen has characters with great names (Mattie Lee Watson, James T. Cullowee).

I love characters with odd names, probably hearkening back to a childhood love of O. Henry, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain. Best of all, the bad guy gets his comeuppance in this book.

That’s one of the best things about writing fiction. You can make villains drown in their villainy. It beats reading the newspaper where the villains get page one attention, while the golden retrievers who save babies are on page six.

By Mimi Herman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Kudzu Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Funny, sad, and tender... Mimi Herman has written a novel that possesses a true and hard won understanding of the South." -David Sedaris, author of Happy-Go-Lucky

Fifteen-year-old Mattie Lee Watson dreams of men, not boys. So when James T. Cullowee, the Kudzu King, arrives in Cooper County, North Carolina in 1941 to spread the gospel of kudzu-claiming that it will improve the soil, feed cattle at almost no cost, even cure headaches-Mattie is ready. Mr. Cullowee is determined to sell the entire county on the future of kudzu, and organizes a kudzu festival, complete with a beauty pageant. Mattie is…


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