10 Love Stories with North Carolina Roots

Whether you like your romance with a side of mystery, grit or North Carolina scenery, immerse yourself in one of these loves stories this month.
by Sarah Goddin and Mamie Potter 

Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner

Written by a beloved Raleigh author, this book is set during the Vietnam War and is the love story of Seiji, who survives the bombing of Hiroshima, and Barbara Jefferson, an American teaching in Japan.  

Sugar Run by Mesha Maren

If you like a gritty love story with lots of fighting and drinking, this novel is for you. Set in the rugged countryside of West Virginia, we find Jody and Miranda paying for past mistakes and trying to get through many obstacles to create a future together.

Even as We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

Unrequited love, an illicit affair, mystery and betrayal are all in this novel. The period is WWII and the setting is Grove Park Inn, where enemy dignitaries are interned and all the smitten lovers are employed.

If I Had Two Wings by Randall Kenan

When Kenan died unexpectedly in August, he left behind this just-published, highly acclaimed book of ten short stories. It’s a love letter to Chinquapin, where he was born and raised, which he renames Tim’s Creek. 

The Best of Me by David Sedaris

This is a love story about the author’s relationship to his family, the folks who provided — willingly or not — the material for his work. Sedaris proves our theory that funny bones and tear ducts are connected!

Sunday Dinner: A Savor the South Cookbook by Bridgette Lacy

Consider it a love affair with food: when you finish this combination of beautifully written family stories and traditional recipes, you’ll feel completely sated. 

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

Carly, living in Nags Head in 1970, loses her beloved husband in Vietnam, then discovers their unborn daughter has a heart defect. Saving her requires an unimaginable act — and an adventure through time and place. 

Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle

In this novel, Lil and Frank marry young, connected by each having lost a parent. A lifetime later, moving to North Carolina to be near their daughter and grandchildren, they reflect on how their love has grown, shifted and been challenged over the years. 

Maranatha Road by Heather Bell Adams

Tinley Greene loved Mark Caswell, but maybe not as much as his mother Sadie. When Tinley shows up pregnant after Mark’s death, Sadie refuses to believe the baby is his. Set in the North Carolina mountains, this story is about learning to love after loss.

Serena by Ron Rash

In the North Carolina mountains in 1929, we find a chilling tale of love gone bad, with  tragic consequences. Serena is a heroine/villain to rival any in literature, in a story with Shakespearean plot twists.

This article originally appeared in the January 2021 issue of WALTER magazine.