Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Feature Characters from Appalachia

Posted September 26, 2017 by meezcarrie in Kentucky, Top Ten Tuesday / 53 Comments

Happy Tuesday! Today’s topic from the gals at The Broke & The Bookish is about books that feature characters of some sort of type of our choosing. I debated a few ideas but finally settled on characters from Appalachia, an area that’s close to my heart – and my roots.

According to Wikipedia, Appalachia is a cultural region of the United States that stretches from Mississippi to southern New York. The image below gives you an idea of the wide swath that makes up this region of mountains, folklore, and often isolation and poverty.

Image Source: Wikipedia

I was born in the eastern part of Tennessee in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, and I currently live just to the west of Appalachia in Kentucky. So the Appalachian region has definitely influenced my own culture and even my vocabulary. At this point you may be wondering how in the world you say ‘Appalachian’. My buddy (and author of Britallachian romance) Pepper Basham gives us a little lesson:

I’m always drawn to stories set here and I even have a separate bookshelf on Goodreads to record Appalachia-set books as I find them. Below are some of my faves, and of course we have to start with probably the most famous (which turns 50 this year!). Yes…. I know there are way more than 10 … but … I just couldn’t leave any of these out!

Links take you either to my review or to the book’s Amazon listing.









Even with these umpteen-many books, I know I left something out!! What about you? What are some of your favorite books with Appalachian characters?


53 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Feature Characters from Appalachia

  1. Paula S.

    I have read one Pepper Basham book……. more to follow I’m sure. I absolutely loved Ann Gabhart’s These Healing Hills! I have a few others on this list on my kindle waiting for me! This is great stuff! Love historicals! Yes, I noticed some contemporary I’ll have to check out! Thanks!

  2. This will probably be the most unique post I see today! I would never have thought to break the area down to Appalachia. I like reading about different areas of the country, so I think I would to read some of these. 🙂

  3. Bhriv

    When I saw where they were coming from I wondered how many you’d actually come up with…Just finished These Healing Hills the other day…and of course, love those Pepper ones 😉 Great list!

  4. Andi

    These are great choices! I haven’t read them all, but most. Be still my heart for all of Pepper’s, The Lady and the Lionheart, Denise Hunter’s, and Wonderland Creek which is featured on mine today for bookworms.

    Xoxo, my friend!

  5. List list…….who took my list?? I need to write these down!! Awesome post Carrie, I love love love reading about these wonderful mountains and the people who live there! Thank you so much!

    My favorite post of the day, hands down!!

  6. If I’m repeating myself, which I feel like somehow I am, Leslie Lynch’s Appalachian Foothills series is among my favorites. Especially Opal’s Jubilee, which I think is the best of the bunch.

  7. Oh my goodness! I love so many of these stories. And I didn’t realize how prevalent Appalachia is as a setting in the books I read. There is just something mystical yet warmhearted about this area of the world.

  8. Rebecca Maney

    What a great topic for this Appalachian girl with roots deep into North Carolina, southern Virginia and West Virginia! Great job with the lists! “The Last Sin Eater” is one of my favorite books ever!

    I am thinking perhaps Lori Benton and Laura Frantz have both explored these territories! I know that “The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn” centers on the temporary “state” of Franklin between Tennessee and North Carolina. And I am thinking “Moonbow Night” is in that area as well?

    Lisa Wingate has also written about this area in “The Carolina Chronicles”, even though she also skirts over to the coastal Carolinas.

    • Carrie

      you are so right about both Lori Benton & Laura Frantz. I was just telling another commenter that I hadn’t considered Laura’s books as being set in Appalachia but I suppose they are!

  9. Mandy Bentley

    I live in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky. Thank you for this blog. I love reading about my beloved mountains. My favorite Appalachian author is Laura Frantz. She is an amazing writer and person. She truly loves the Lord and she portrays that in her books. Her descriptions of Appalachia are matched by no one. If you haven’t read anything by her, please do. You won’t be disappointed. God bless you!

  10. Winnie Thomas

    Wow! What a lot of amazing books! I’ve even read some of them! Guess I’ll be adding to my TBR list today again! Thanks, my BFFF! Hugs to you!

  11. Valerie S

    Amazing list, Carrie! Especially appropriate after Pepper Basham’s quip at the ACFW awards banquet, offering an interpreter for her Appalachian accent. LOL

    I just saw glowing reviews for “If the Creek Don’t Rise” by Leah Weiss, a general-market debut novel featuring Appalachia – wanted to put it on your radar.

  12. Great list! I’m glad you included The Last Sin Eater. That was the first book I read by Rivers. Carrie Stuart Parks set When Death Draws Near in Kentucky, but I’m not sure if it was in Appalachia. It did have snake-handlers though!

    • Carrie

      oh! I forgot about When Death Draws Near – I think that was in Western Kentucky though. And The Last Sin Eater is still one of my very fave Rivers books!

      • Oh, my, Carrie, Pikeville, KY is deep in Appalachia! It has the Hatfields and McCoys, squirrel stew, and of course, serpent handling! 🙂 AND it finaled in the Christy’s and won the Carol award. I taught a forensic art class in Pikeville for the KY State Police. I loved it there!

  13. Andrea Stephens

    There are so many great books! I see my list growing 😉
    I recently got Christy on audible, narrated by Kellie Martin! I read the book so long ago, I think it will be a good listen this winter.


    Thanks so much, Carrie!! Though, I’ve recently been ‘corrected’ that those in the New York region of Appalachia (Alleghenies) DO pronounce Appalachia differently – but since there are more southern states in Appalachia than northern, I believe majority rules on pronunciation 😉

    Sooo many great ones listed here!! Denise Hunter, Laura Frantz, Christy!!! Laurie Alice Eakes!! Wow!!! YaY!!!!

  15. carylkane

    WOWZERS! I love Lynn Austin, Pepper Basham and Heather Gilbert! Thanks for sharing this amazing list! 🙂

  16. Tracey Hagwood

    In addition to the great ones you’ve listed, there’s also Tamera Alexander’s
    A Note Yet Unsung. The Whitcomb mountain family was one of my favorite parts of the book.

  17. emilee

    Wonderland Creek really takes you into the setting. Laura Frantz’s books, especially Courting Morrow Little and Moonbow Night have that Appalachian feel to them.

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