Jul 12, 2012

Summer Reads: Set in the South

by Jackie Mohan

The past two books, both winners of the South Carolina First Novel Award, featured in Summer Reads blog posts are set in South Carolina.  The award is held by the South Carolina Arts Commission and each year the winner is given a book contract with the Hub City Press, which largely publishes books that have a strong emphasis on locations in South Carolina.  Below are some more books, many of them bestsellers from a variety of genres, set in South Carolina that draw on South Carolina history, pride, and charm:

  1. Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs – This mystery novel is the ninth book in the series starring Dr. Temperance Brennan, on which the TV series Bones is based.  While teaching at an archaeology field school in Charleston, Dr. Brennan stumbles upon a modern homicide in an ancient Native American burial ground.  Another book by Kathy Reichs, Virals, the first in a series centering on Dr. Brennan’s grandniece, Tory Brennan, is also set in Charleston.
  1. Isle of Palms by Dorothea Benton Frank – Dubbed the queen of the beach books by many, Frank has written several novels set in the Carolina lowcountry including Isle of Palms, Bulls Island, and Pawleys Island.  In Isle of Palms, Anna Lutz Abbot deals with a host of challenges from the characters in her life, including her daughter’s rebellious makeover, her ex-husband’s return to her life, and a fling with Arthur, a man from up north.
  1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares – This young adult book is the first part of the Traveling Pants series, a staple among teenage girls and the basis for the movie starring Blake Lively and America Ferrera.  Carmen, one of the four girls, embarks on a summer trip to South Carolina to visit her newly engaged father.
  1. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd – This second novel from the author of The Secret Life of Bees, also set in South Carolina, tells the story of Jessie Sullivan who travels to Egret Island for her mother.  While there, Jessie spends more and more time with Brother Thomas, a monk from a Benedictine monastery that houses legendary carved chair dedicated to a saint who rumor claims was once a mermaid.
  1. South of Broad by Pat Conroy – From the author of The Prince of Tides, The Lords of Discipline, The Great Santini, and The Water is Wide, all set in South Carolina, South of Broad is the story of Leopold Bloom King.  After Leopold’s brother commits suicide, he finds solace in a circle of friends whose adventures span decades.