Caroline McAlister, college professor and life-long skeptic, is reeling from the loss of her father and her marriage. Her once promising career has come to a standstill. When her father bequeaths the family cabin to her, it comes with a ghost who haunted her childhood. When she discovers a century-old journal in the attic, she awakens the voice of Carson Quinn. The journal reveals Carson’s love for the same hollow that enthralled Caroline growing up. A little sleuthing uncovers rumors that the kind, curious boy in the journal grew up to murder his brother. Caroline plunges into the project of exonerating Carson, only to find herself in the throes of a personal past she’s spent her life trying to avoid. Hemlock Hollow is about how we forever haunt the places we love and how they haunt us in return.
Love is sometimes a cruel and hypnotizing mistress. Carson Quinn and Marinda fell in love at first sight. Carson was tongue-tied every time he got around her but she kissed him once and the rest was history. They became inseparable and a long-loving future was surely theirs.
Taylor, Carson’s older brother, also took a shine to Ms. Marinda! There was no question as to who she was interested in, but Taylor was never far out of the picture. Then Carson went away to college and became a revered educator and publicist. Completing his education, he came back to Hickory Nut Gap to marry the girl he loves and is betrothed to.
Her parents hold him back and his brother cannot be found. He discovers Taylor has taken his place with Marinda. Carson leaves his beloved Hickory Nut Gap.
The tale weaves a lovely setting of Henderson County, North Carolina, and the conflict that was the “War of Northern Aggression.” That is the title the South has named the American Civil War. Carson becomes an officer in the northern army because he and his family do not believe in secession.
Carson does not return to North Carolina for over ten years. Taylor has won the girl and totally split the family. There is no peace in Hickory Nut Gap after this revelation. He and Marinda wind up living within a mile of each other but never talk or share their existence.
This book is well written and engenders many of the wild and lovely places that is North Carolina. The description of the woods, mountains, and hollows paints a gorgeous picture of an enchanting country. Read and enjoy this tale! 4.5 stars – CE Williams
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Southern United States Fiction, Southern Fiction, Historical Mysteries
Publisher: Regal House Publishing
Print Length: 303 pages
Publication Date: December 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Hemlock Hollow [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
The Author: Culley Holderfield learned to love storytelling on the porch of a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, he ventured to South America, Africa, and Europe. When not writing or working in community development finance, he spends his time hiking, paddling, and wandering the outdoors. His short stories and poetry have appeared in a variety of publications. Hemlock Hollow is his debut novel. He lives in Durham, NC.
©2022 – CE Williams – V Williams