Kentucky in Fiction--an Annotated Bibliography (1951 to 1980)


Adult Fiction


1A. Aeby, Jacquelyn. THE SIGN OF THE BLUE DRAGON. New York: Dell
Publishing Company, 1976. 172 p. pbk.

"The mansion of Oakhurst was a haven of rare elegance in the still primitive Kentucky of 1806 -- but Rowan Chandler traveled there with dread. Recently orphaned, she was coming to live with relatives she barely knew. . . ."(1) At Oakhurst, Rowan finds herself mixed up in a conspiracy against the United States government, involving Aaron Burr and a new nation west of the Allegheny Mountains. "In a nearby town, the sinister Inn of the Blue Dragon held the answers to Rowan's questions about the man she loved and the danger her country was in. . . ."(1) This is a Candlelight Historical Romance.

2A. Arnow, Harriette Simpson. THE KENTUCKY TRACE; A NOVEL OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. New York: Knopf, 1974. 288 p.

Leslie Collins, a surveyor who has been serving with the rebel colonists, is captured by bandits and rescued by "over-mountain men." Leslie then makes his way home only to discover his farm deserted, his wife and baby gone. Following the only clue he has, he sets out in pursuit of his family, down the Kentucky Trace. While trying to track down his vanished wife, Leslie befriends and Indian brave, helps an old woodsman make saltpeter, and most important of all, adopts and baptizes an unwanted bastard baby.(1)

3A. Baugher, Ruby Dell. THE LONG BRIDGE. Evansville, Indiana: Kincaid Publishing House, 1963. 342 p.

The life of a twenty-five year old man, who had everything except for God, finds his life drastically changed one July day in 1925 when a runaway automobile throws him through a glass window. Due to his helplessness Peter loses his girl, his job, and finds nothing the same. He is a stranger in Greenbluff, Kentucky, but with the help of a new friend Peter brings God into his life and discovers faith and hope.

4A. Berry, Wendell. THE MEMORY OF OLD JACK. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1974. 223 p.

"Ninety-two-year-old farmer Jack Beechum moves slowly through his last day of life, hobbling along the streets of small Port William, Kentucky, sitting in the general store, visiting the barbershop, and gently falling asleep in his rocker in the old folks hotel. During that 1952 day, Old Jack, in a series of intense dreams, experiences again his lonely childhood, his lustless marriage, a sad love affair, and long days working the earth."(2)

5A. Berry, Wendell. NATHAN COULTER. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960. 204 p.

The setting of this novel is Henry County, the boyhood home of the author. It is the story of Nathan and his brother, Tom, growing up in Kentucky's tobacco region. Both boys finally have to leave home because of disagreements with their father.

6A. Berry, Windell. A PLACE ON EARTH. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967. 550 p.

"The setting for this novel is the hill country of northern Kentucky, during the last six months of World War II. The central figure, Mat Feltner, is a strong and good man whose life is disrupted by the news that his only son is missing in action. Some passages of this novel first appeared in THE MAD RIVER REVIEW and THE TEXAS QUARTERLY."(2)

7A. Bertram, Marshall. A TIME OF GENERATION. New York: Pageant Press International Corp., 1969. 326 p.

Beginning in the early depression and spanning the years to World War II, this novel tells of three generations of women living under one rood in Cave Hill, Kentucky. The main scene of the novel takes place in the Pennyrile section of the state.

8A. Bolton, Stanley, and Bolton, Jeanette. BLACK BLOOD IN KENTUCKY. New York: Vantage Press, 1957. 230 p.

"A novel based upon the struggle of miners in southeastern Kentucky to unionize the million dollar coal fields."(3)

9A. Borden, Leigh (pseud.). LEGEND OF THE BLUEGRASS. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1977. 207 p.

Leslie Talant left a career in New York to come to the Bluegrass country around Lexington to care for Mary Ben Ashe, a woman left crippled by a riding accident. She walks into a world seemingly ruled by the curse of a black ghost stallion and finds herself torn between love and loyalty, reality and madness at Manford Manor.

10A. Brooks, Maysie. A SEED WAS SOWN. New York: Vantage Press, 1957. 215 p.

This is the story of Sarah Garvinn, a teacher, a wife and mother, a welfare worker, and a good neighbor, who lived in the central Kentucky hills. The book opens in 1910 with Sarah's marriage to Liff and covers her life until death. Her story is told against a background of farm life and community activities.

11A. Buchanan, Patrick (pseud.). A MURDER OF CROWS. New York: Pyramid Books, 1970. pbk.

"Ben Shock and his lovely partner, Charity Tucker, had been called to Kentucky by a girl's terrified telephone plea. The mystery began with the first corpse--he had been burned to death, and his clothes weren't even singed."(1)

12A. Burke, James Lee. TO THE BRIGHT AND SHINING SUN. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1970. 241 p.

The Cumberland Mountain range of eastern Kentucky--its hills scarred by the mines, its towns by violence--is the scene of this novel of a young man's efforts to set himself free from the grip of the mines and to conquer the violent side of his own nature. Perry Woodson Hatfield James is a third generation miner, related to "Devil Anse" Hatfield and Jesse James. He is only seventeen but has been working in the mines for two years. Perry is relentless in his pursuit of "the bright and shining sun."(1)

13A. Burton, Carl D. SATAN'S ROCK. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1954. 262 p.

This is the story of a wild young girl who appears every summer in a valley in the Kentucky hills. "It is also the story of two brothers, both of whom were intoxicated with the hunt for this wild and beautiful girl who at times seems more like an animal than a human being, but one brother wants her as a man wants a woman, and the other one chases her as a hunter stalks a deer."(4)

14A. Caudill, Harry M. DARK HILLS TO WESTWARD--THE SAGA OF JENNIE WILEY. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1969. 197 p.

Around the year 1789, Jennie Wiley was carried off from her cabin in eastern Kentucky by a band of hostile Indians. She did not return to her husband until a year later when she finally escaped. The book tells of her year in captivity. It is a fictionalized account of a true story.

15A. Caudill, Harry M. THE SENATOR FROM SLAUGHTER COUNTY. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1973. 308 p.

Doctor Tom Bonham, from Slaughter County in eastern Kentucky, built a political machine that controlled the county for over three decades. He went from a coal company doctor to a United States Senator even though he made Slaughter County dependent on government aid and encouraged strip mining.

16A. Cochran, Louis. RACCOON JOHN SMITH, A NOVEL BASED ON THE LIFE OF THE PIONEER KENTUCKY PREACHER. New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pierce, 1963. 370 p.

John Smith from Cumberland County was "a stout-hearted, independent man who was a pioneer in two ways. His life on the frontier was one of hardship, high adventure, frequent danger, and tragedy, tempered with deep happiness and achievement. But Raccoon John Smith was also a pioneer in the movement toward Christian unity--a century and a half before today's ecumenical movement."(1)

17A. Crabb, Alfred Leland. HOME TO KENTUCKY. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1953. 339 p.

This novel covers the life of Henry Clay from 1797 to 1825. "It gives us a picture of the political events of our nation as they appeared in the thinking of Mr. Clay from the beginning of his career as a young lawyer until he became of Secretary of State."(4) It also portrays the early days of Lexington and his home there which he named Ashland.

18A. Crabb, Alfred Leland. PEACE AT BOWLING GREEN. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1955. 328 p.

This book tells the story of Bowling Green as a pioneer community up to the time it becomes a city. The story starts with Jacob Skiles and his family moving from Virginia to Bowling Green. The book covers the Skiles family from 1803 through 1865.

19A. Crane, Frances. DEATH IN LILAC TIME. New York: Random House, 1955. 231 p.

"When Pat and Jean Abbott boarded a plane in New York for a holiday in the Bluegrass country, they could hardly think of anything except the impending Kentucky Derby and of once more having the opportunity to visit Dr. Seth Godwin, a friend of Pat's from World War II. But there was a woman who intrigued them on the plane--she was beautiful and she was very upset. They could scarcely have guessed, however, that a couple of hours after landing in Lexington, their help would be asked because this lovely woman had been accused of committing a murder."(1)

20A Creekmore, Betsey B. DARK AND BLOODY GROUND. New York: Frederick Fell, Inc., 1967. 283 p.

The story of the assassination of William Goebel on the steps of the Kentucky State House on January 30, 1900 is told through the fictional character of Will Harris, a hardware drummer caught up in the web of the murder. Political upheaval followed the shooting with innocent men being arrested, riots and federal troops at the capitol, prominent Kentuckians fleeing the state, and a leading Republican charged with the murder even though he was not in Frankfort at the time of the shooting.

21A. Cress, Marie. MAGGIE AND THE WITCH. New York: Carlton Press, 1968. 117 p.

This novel follows Maggie's maturation from a mischievous tomboy to a beautiful sensitive woman. In her eastern Kentucky hills, where witchcraft still abides and is believed in, Maggie meets and befriends an old woman well advanced in the occult arts. Even though her parents move to Lexington, she finds a way to stay at her beloved childhood home.(1)

22A. Deal Borden. BLUEGRASS. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1976. 468 p.

"Maude Sauvage, an attractive, middle-aged nurse, inherits a small fortune from a rich old man for whom she had been caring. She buys a rundown horse breeding farm in the bluegrass country of Kentucky and sets out to become a power in the world of horse breeding."(5)

23A. Dyer, Diana Smith. BEFORE I SLEEP. New York: Pageant Press, 1958. 189 p.

Vena Merriweather fled from a traumatic episode in her childhood. She ran from her home, from her parents, and from Mike, the boy who loved her. She was driven by panic and guilt into the arms of one man after another. When Vena returns to Fair Granada in the Kentucky coal fields for her father's funeral, she is finally able to bury her bitter past and greet the future with Mike at her side.(1)

24A. Echard, Margaret. I MET MURDER ON THE WAY. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1965. 240 p.

"This is the story of 14 year-old Betsy Foster, and her shattering attempt to separate right from wrong. She had been with her grandmother at Twelve Oaks, the stately Kentucky home where everyone lived in fear of old George Pomeroy for two years, when two members of the family died under suspicious circumstances. . . . The terror began after she was the star witness for Dr. Grieg at the murder trial."(2) The setting is a small Kentucky town in 1915. The paperback edition of this novel was a Doubleday Crime Club selection.

25A. Eckert, Allan W. THE COURT-MARTIAL OF DANIEL BOONE. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1973. 309 p.

This novel is based on a true, little known episode in Daniel Boone's life: the trial for his life at Boonesborough in 1778. He faces court-martial and hanging for high crimes such as betraying his command to the Indians, conspiring to surrender Boonesborough, consorting with the enemy, and accepting favors from the British. Boone pleads guilty to all actions but treason and proceeds to defend himself.(1)

26A. Forman, James. A BALLAD FOR HOGSKIN HILL. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, Inc., 1979. 230 p.

David Kincaid leaves Detroit and comes to Hogskin Hill in the Kentucky mountains to help his family stop the strip mining that threatens their home. David is torn between two girls, one of which has followed him from Detroit. With the help of an illiterate "Creeker" girl, David continues the fight after his father's and grandmother's effort fail. Slowly his own desperate plan takes shape."(1)

27A. Franzee, Steve. MANY RIVERS TO CROSS. New York: Fawcett Publications, 1955. 175 p. pbk.

"He was of the woods and of the plains, this Bushrod Gentry, crafty as the Indians he stalked, courageous as a tiger on the prowl."(1) Stuee, a lovely redhead, had to prove she loved Bushrod, loved him enough to gamble her life for him. She tracked him into the Kentucky wilderness, although she knew its perils as well as he. "More than just the taming of a proud man, here is a powerful novel of all the fearless people who surged westward, conquering hardship with courage, bringing history and greatness with them."(1)

28A. Friermood, Elizabeth Hamilton. BALLAD OF CALAMITY CREEK. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1962. 214 p.

Ann Todd of Indianapolis, resenting the fact that her father will only allow her one year of college, accepts a job to teach at the Stoney Hill School in the southeastern highlands of Kentucky. In her first year of teaching in 1905, Ann finds she has much to learn from the mountain people. She discovers not only romance, but also their beautiful ballads and unique handicrafts. "The chief interest of this book is the language and ballads of the Kentucky mountain people."(6)

29A. Gabhart, Ann. A HEART DIVIDED. New York: Warner Books, 1980. 316 p. pbk.

Kentucky is caught between north and south as the Civil War rages and a beautiful girl, Shannon Marsh, like her state, is torn between two loves. Shannon had her future all planned: she would marry Jett, the handsome heir of the neighboring estate, raise the best horses in the nation, and live forever on Marshland where she belonged. All this changed in June 1863 when a guerrilla band killed her father and the war invaded her world.(1)

30A. Garth, John. HILL MAN. New York: Pyramid, 1954. 190 p. pbk.

Rady Cromwell, a Kentucky mountaineer, hungered for land and the love of three women. "He married the widow Annie for her farm. He became the lover of a rich city woman to increase his property. And to bear his children, he took a young mountain girl called Flary. But Rady Cromwell surrendered his soul to none of them. His fierce ambitions and fertile dreams made his life a lusty struggle, dedicated to the fulfillment of his manhood."(1)

31A. Giles, Janice Holt. THE BELIEVERS. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957. 286 p.

This is the story of Rebecca Fowler Cooper, daughter of Hannah and Tice, wife of Richard. "When she was seventeen she married Richard Cooper, the boy she had always loved and trusted. They were, at first, happy, but when their first child was still-born, Richard became a religious fanatic, believing the unfortunate birth of the child was a punishment from God. While in this mood, he joined the Shaker sect. Rebecca followed him as an obedient wife, hoping through her love and loyalty to win him back to their past way of life. She became outwardly a part of this strange world for a period of time, but her stubborn honesty finally gave her courage to reject this way of life and follow the dictates of her own mind."(4) Rebecca divorces Richard and later remarries. The book gives the reader a good insight into a Shaker community.

32A. Giles, Janice Holt. HANNAH FOWLER. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1956. 288 p.

In May of 1778, Samuel Moore and his daughter are on the way to Boone's Fort from their home in Virginia. Samuel cuts himself with an ax and dies before they can reach the fort. Hannah meets Tice Fowler in the woods while hunting, and he takes her to Logan's Fort which is near his cabin. Hannah and Tice marry and move into the cabin. This book tells of their life together and the hardships they endured in the wilderness.

33A. Giles, Janice Holt. THE KENTUCKIANS. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1953. 272 p.

"A historical novel of the pioneer days when Kentucky was a part of Virginia, especially the years from 1769 to 1777. It deals with the opening up of this territory, the purchase of the land known as Kentucky by North Carolina speculators, and trouble with the Cherokee Indians. The central character is David Cooper, who settled on the frontier, fought for his land, and finally won the girl he loved."(2) David and his woman, Bethia, belonged to a generation that never knew of expected security, and the background of their story is one of violence and struggle.(1)

34A. Giles, Janice Holt. THE LAND BEYOND THE MOUNTAINS. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1958. 308 p.

"Fourth in the author's series of books about life on the Kentucky frontier, this novel focuses upon a critical post-Revolutionary period from 1783 to 1792. The historical narrative, dominated by James Wilkinson and the treasonable attempts to win an empire in the West, dramatizes Kentucky's struggle to achieve statehood."(2) Interwoven with it runs the fictional story of Major Cassius Cartwright and his settlement of Cartwright's Mill on the Green River. He remains loyal to Kentucky and eventually finds personal happiness in the love of his second wife.

35A. Giles, Janice Holt. RUN ME A RIVER. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1964. 337 p.

Bohannon Cartwright, a Kentuckian and a river man, makes runs from Bowling Green to Evansville carrying merchandise and livestock from one town to another with his boat, The Rambler. Bo finds it difficult to determine which side he supports during the Civil War. The main part of the story concerns the last trip The Rambler makes before the river traffic is closed. Bo falls in love with a girl he picks up out of the river after his boat runs over her skiff.

36A. Giles, Janice Holt. SHADY GROVE, A NOVEL. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1967. 260 p.

The local inhabitants of Broke Neck, Kentucky, are descendants of the men and women who settled the country in Revolutionary War times and their ways have not changed much in the past two hundred years. The story is mainly concerned with the descendants of Muley Fowler, especially Sudley, a leading citizen of the community. Sudley has many problems with the new preacher from up north. The title of the book comes from an old mountain fiddle tune.

37A. Giles, Janice Holt. TARA'S HEALING. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1951. 253 p.

This book concludes the Piney Ridge Trilogy that started with THE ENDURING HILLS. When Doctor Tara Cochrane, who had been Hod Pierce's captain during the war, has a severe nervous breakdown, Hod persuades him to go home with him to Piney Ridge in hopes that the peace of the hill country will effect a cure where medicine has failed. "On Piney Ridge Tara meets Jory, a minister of the Church of the Brethren of Christ, a sect popularly known as the White Caps because of the little caps worn by the women members. Jory's selfless love for humanity helps Tara to rise above his despair and even to accept his hopeless love for Mary Pierce. Tara's work with the Piney Ridge people opens a path to a life of service and fulfillment and serenity."(1)


The life of Paul Sawyier of Frankfort, in spite of surpassing talent and genius, was one of many sacrifices and disappointments mixed with times of happiness and joy. Fate would not permit his almost lifelong romance to end in marriage.

39A. Hamill, Ethel. BLUEGRASS DOCTOR. New York: Airmont Books, 1953. 128 p. pbk.

"Lovely Danielle Belden, a miniature and feminine counterpart of her beloved father, 'Doctor Dan,' had followed in his footsteps in becoming a veterinarian--her patients, the racing thoroughbreds of the Kentucky bluegrass. Years before, the Beldens had been honored guests in the mansions whose stables Danielle now visited on her rounds of duty, but this fact did not disturb her. The disturbance was Clive Gaynor, the attractively redheaded owner of the most beautiful house of them all, returning home after a long absence and acting like a stranger to Danielle--a stranger who had seemingly forfeited his birthright."(1)

40A. Hamilton, Carl. KING OF THE FOREST. New York: Vantage Press, 1978. 173 p.

"The Eastern Kentucky hills in the Thirties, as they are being lumbered out, are the backdrop for the novel of Kyle Mercer growing into manhood, seeking his father's murderer."(8)

41A. Hansen, Robert P. RITES OF SUMMER. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1961. 380 p.

Tom Parsons returns to Fox Creek, Kentucky in June 1960 to attend his father's funeral. He encounters "a community in which early loves and hate were still restive; a community exacerbated further by the demands and displacements of a changing way of life. It seemed almost predestined that with his coming, deep-seated conflicts should flare to resolution."(1)

42A. Harvey, Frank. NIGHTMARE COUNTY. New York: Bantam Books, 1964. 275 p. pbk.

The Fletcher brothers ran Nightmare County in eastern Kentucky like it was their kingdom. They owned coal mines, timber stands, and Judge Floyd Cooper; they raped the land. Coal was like a curse upon the mountains of Kentucky. Half-a-million men and women were hungry and ragged in the midst of plenty. They were ground in the jaws of neglect, folly, and greed.(1) The book is divided into four time periods covering from 1900 to 1964.

43A. Hayes, Joseph. WINNER'S CIRCLE. New York: Delacorte Press, 1980. 435 p.

This novel is plotted around the drama of Derby Week, "a nerve-shattering week that will see the Derby's strongest entries mysteriously eliminated--one by one. . . . For Clay Chalmers, owner-trainer of the long-shot contender Hot Spur, this Derby Week is a last chance at life--the end of an unfair seven-year exile from racing--and also a last chance at love."(1)

44A. Hazel, Robert. EARLY SPRING, A NOVEL. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1971. 222 p.

This novel involves the telling of two concurrent love stories, that of "a twice-divorced college professor in love with the daughter of a socially prominent physician, and of a black basketball player in love with a white girl from one of Kentucky's most powerful families. This is a strong story of emotional physical violence, about love for the wrong reasons and hate for the right reasons. It is about the chronic disease of ignorance overcoming conscious good will."(1)

45A. Hazel, Robert. THE LOST YEAR. New York: The New American Library, 1953. 192 p. pbk.

Dick Lawrence was the son of a tenant farmer, an ex-marine, and ex-resident of a psychiatric ward. His strange and secret impulses brought destruction to all about him, even to those he loved. The setting is in a Louisville boarding house.

46A. Hess, Norton. CALEB'S BRIDE. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1978. 315 p. pbk.

In 1776, Roxanne Sherwood is sent to her uncle's place in the primitive Kentucky wilderness in order to escape the typhus epidemic in Boston. She is captured by Indians and rescued by Caleb Coleman who claims her as his wife and forces her to submit to his every desire. Roxanne "was not prepared to face the hardships of the primitive Kentucky wilderness or the roughness and easy familiarity of the backwoodsmen who pursued her."(1)

47A. Holt, Felix. DAN'L BOONE KISSED ME. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1954. 248 p.

Pappy Duke was a pioneer who hewed himself one of the best houses and tobacco farms in the Jackson Purchase country of Kentucky in the 1840s. The title comes from some words of Granny, whose mind has been wandering lately. Her thoughts return to her girlhood when she was once kissed by Dan'l Boone. A paperback edition was published under the title MOUNTAIN BOY.

48A. Leonard, Elmore. THE MOONSHINE WAR. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1969. 236 p.

Son Martin not only made the best moonshine in Broke-Leg County, Kentucky, "but it was rumored that he had hidden somewhere in his hill farm his daddy's cache of 150 barrels of 8 year-old corn whiskey."(1) The passage of a Federal law called the 18th Amendment, or Prohibition, made the whiskey very valuable. A moonshine war breaks out when a crooked Prohibition agent, Louisville gangsters, and the local moonshiners fight each other to learn the location of Son's secret cache.

49A. Lewis, Clarence and Kellner, Esther. CRY TO THE HILLS. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1966. 327 p.

When Slim Clyde comes home after four years in the penitentiary for running whiskey, he brings with him a new awareness that there is something else in the world besides desolate, dirty coal mining communities such as his home in Sarvis Hollow, located in the red clay hill country of eastern Kentucky. He is determined to get his family out of Sarvis Hollow, but cannot get his parents to move. Slim and his new young wife, along with his brother and family, try to escape their dead-end existence by moving to Cincinnati; but the odds there prove to be too much for them. There they felt the humiliation of being ignorant hillbillies, and in frustration, fear and defeat, they move back.

50A. Litsey, Sarah Selecman. INTIMATE ILLUSION. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1955. 311 p.

The Revingtons, a Kentucky family, had been the merchant princes of Bloomtown for some years when the novel opens. "Essentially this is the story of the store's head, Joseph Revington, and his daughter Josephine, who was his dearest possession after his wife died in giving her birth. Josephine's love of her father very nearly ruined her own chances of happiness, and when the one man for her appeared it brought tragedy."(2)

51A. McDowell, Charles Rice. THE IRON BABY ANGEL. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1954. 274 p.

"The iron baby angel was an ornament on the horse-drinking fountain in Danville, Kentucky back in 1909. That was the year Harold Hines, Jr., from Chicago, aged nine going on ten, came to spend his vacation with his grandmother. This novel of adolescence is filled with Harold's experiences in the sleepy little town, where he learned that playing with children his own age was more of a hazard than climbing in a standpipe two hundred feet high."(2) Through Harold's eyes we learn about the town's leading loafers and others of equal stature.

52A. McDowell, Robert Emmett. THE HOUND'S TOOTH. New York: M. S. Mill Co., 1965. 288 p.

The scene is Edmonson County, Kentucky where Deputy Sheriff Floyd Bowman, with the help of a determined young reporter, Jenny Hobbs, solve the murder of old Mattie Grigsby. Everybody knew the Grigsbys and Reeds had not spoken for years, but murder was something else. Floyd's woodsman's skill and Jenny's unerring nose for news uncover evidence as damning as it is deeply buried.

53A. McDowell, Robert Emmett. TIDEWATER SPRING. New York: Crown Publishers, 1961. 319 p.

Todd Medford, known as The Sprig, flees from Virginia's Tidewater area in 1783 to avoid the law. He is "an arrogant supercilious young gentleman, disinherited by his father, when entail was abolished by the Virginia legislature, who goes to the Kentucky wilderness to make his fortune."(4) At the saltworks he find his standing as an aristocrat means nothing. "He runs head-on into the leveling democracy of the frontier and finally his head bloody but only slightly bowed, is reduced to a common hand at the saltworks. Since he is a resilient young man and opportunities abound on the frontier, he succeeds in getting ahead, but only upon coming to terms with some of the more cherished notions entertained by his class."(4) Todd also gets mixed up with his enemy's runaway wife.

54A. McGill, John. FOR WHICH THE FIRST WAS MADE. Boston: Qualls, Hood and Co., 1974. 230 p.

"The hill country of Eastern Kentucky, in the general area of what is now Carter Caves State Park, furnishes the locale for this novel of romance, adventure and regional history."(1) It is basically the story of twin boys, at the turn of the century, from their birth to adulthood. "Especially fascinating is the story of Matthew Sellers, who wanted to be the first man to fly an airplane. A vigilante group known as The Regulators recalls some of the violence that has plagued the region in the past."(3)

55A. McMeekin, Clark. THE FAIRBROTHERS. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1961. 288 p.

"Three years after the close of the Civil War it was still hard to make any kind of money in Kentucky. The school for girls in the big old house outside Louisville was important in many ways to all the Fairbrothers. . . ."(1) Mrs. Fairbrothers sends to Mobile for a French teacher but the teacher turns out to be Zion, a bile for a fourteen-year orphan, who quite innocently manages to end the Fairbrothers' school. Zion stays on with the family becoming the daughter they needed and could love, and who was most helpful when the house was turned into a health spa. "It is a delightful family novel of Kentucky just before the beginning of the Kentucky Derby."(4)

56A. McMeekin, Clark. THE OCTOBER FOX. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1956. 310 p.

This is a novel of the Thornberry family of the Bluegrass country in the 1890s. The father, Judge Thornberry, dominates his sons and daughters, and miscellaneous relatives while ruling his big bluegrass farm, Clover, in an almost feudal fashion. His word was law on his farm, but toward the close of the nineteenth century, changes come to the Thornberrys that even the judge cannot prevent. "Throughout the story runs the legend of the Tod, the October Fox, the biggest, wisest strongest dog-fox that ever was--no dog nor trap nor silver bullet could kill him."(4) The author attempts to create a sense of impending tragedy, symbolized by this mythical fox, whose appearances foretell calamity.(2)

57A. McMeekin, Clark. ROOM AT THE INN. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1953. 124 p.

When a little mountain boy's mother is injured and hospitalized on Christmas eve, he is taken to Miss Carrie Carter's boarding house where he finds himself unwelcome. He is rescued by the black maid and makes Miss Carrie's Christmas party a success.

58A. McMeekin, Clark. TYRONE OF KENTUCKY. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1954. 310 p.

After the Civil War, David Tyrone, a Confederate soldier, returns with his attractive Alabama bride to his ravaged Kentucky farm. He strives to make a living from the soil and to resolve the strained relationship with his former fiancee.

59A. Maggard, Ella. WEEP FOR THE DAWN. New York: Carlton Press, 1969. 170 p.

When two motherless children, Cindy and Stephen Dobbs, lose their father, their selfish, sadistic uncle Carl nefariously gains custody of them. "Misused and abused, before they were ten years old they were subjected to every savagery--from drunkenness and bloody beatings to incest. However, some spark from their past, plus their own love as brother and sister made them keep fighting to rise above the enervating hopelessness which shadowed them."(1) The setting is in eastern Kentucky.

60A. Mally, Emma Louise. ABIGAIL. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1956. 307 p.

Abigail, a bluestocking and a Yankee, was an alien at the Waverly Plantation and the Louisville town house. She found "decadence hung like a cloud over everything the Harrisons touched" and an unrest stirring among the slaves. Only after Abigail married Randolph Harrison did she "fully recognize the depravity of the Harrison household, and her own helplessness."(1)

61A. Markey, Gene. KENTUCKY PRIDE. New York: Random House, 1956. 305 p.

This is a "novel of property, fighting and romance in Kentucky just after the Civil War. The principal characters are Major Aidan Kensal, late of the Confederate Army, Major Veach Doucain, who tried to steal Kensal's estate and his girl, and the Kentucky belle they both loved."(2)

62A. Matthews, Patricia. LOVE'S SWEET AGONY. Los Angeles: Pinnacle Books, 1980. 368 p. pbk.

Rebecca Hawkins, disguised as a male driver, and her grandfather, Henry Hawkins, are in the harness racing business. Henry, known as the Hawk, was one of the best-known names in American horse racing, and had, in fact, been awarded a charter membership in the Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association, the sponsoring organization for a new race to be called the Kentucky Derby. Rebecca, only used to horses, soon finds "two men would challenge each other in a race for her heart, while still another man's lust would cruelly attempt to entrap her. . . ."(1) The story ends with Rebecca's horse being scratched from the first running of the Kentucky Derby in 1875 because she, a woman, was to be the jockey. She loses the race because of her sex but gains a husband.

63A. Mayhall, Jane. COUSIN TO HUMAN. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1960. 252 p.

Lacy Cole is a fifteen-year-old talented musician who lives in Louisville in the mid-1930s. This novel covers "a decisive year in Lacy's life, a year of breaking through the restrictions and limitations of her society, a year whose end sees her on her way toward self-realization as an individual and as a musician."(2) Cleanth, her mother, "realizes that Lacy has musical ability and is determined to give the child the advantages of a musical education."(4)

64A. Morrell, David. FIRST BLOOD; A NOVEL. New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1972. 252 p.

"Rambo, ex-Green Beret, is hitchhiking through Kentucky. Teasle, ex-Korean veteran and now sheriff, escorts him out of town. Not one to be pushed, Rambo agonizes the sheriff to the point of being arrested and booked. After he slashes and kills a guard and escapes, all hell breaks loose. The ensuing chase through the wilderness is . . . a context between exhilarated hunters."(2) A number of people are killed and much property damaged in this prolonged manhunt. "Some parts of this novel are given to introspection: why Rambo forces issues and enjoys killing, why Teasel has to prove himself. A few parts question a society that trains and honors military killers, but is not really concerned with their rehabilitation to a nonsanguinary life. . . ."(2)

65A. Poe, Nan Trantham. BEAUTIFUL UPON THE MOUNTAIN, THE STORY OF A KENTUCKY MISSIONARY. Roanoke, Virginia: the author, 1952.

"Kentucky mountain mission setting. Trite plot and predictable ending."(3)

66A. Sandburg, Helga. THE WHEEL OF EARTH. New York: McDowell, Obolensky, 1958. 396 p.

"Ellen Gaddy, a sixteen-year-old Kentucky hill girl, is got with child by an intinerant farm worker. She leaves home, has the child, comes back, raises it, eventually meets her lover again and marries him. On this axis the wheel turns. There is old Anton Gaddy, the stern sadistic father; Garland, the successful city-corrupted uncle; Ellen's flight from home and return; her years as a hired girl, and her love for Dan Wasilewski, cut short by his accidental death; and always the servitude to the earth with which these people make their peace."(2)

67A. Schuster, Richard. THE SELFISH AND THE STRONG. New York: Random House, 1958. 440 p.

In 1861 Kentucky was in a unique position at the beginning of the Civil War because of its refusal to commit itself. Nevertheless, the people of the state often took violent sides, and probably nowhere was the feeling more intense than in the little mountain town of Piketon in the Big Sandy region of the state. "Here brother had turned against brother, and lifelong friends met at gun-point. People like Judge Cole Lumsden, in their search for local power, stood for the South--but they were bitterly opposed by men like Hort Carey, who became a dedicated avenger after Lumsden caused the death of Hort's father."(1)

68A. Seelbach, Jerry. THE HOTELMAN. Louisville, Kentucky: Bookworld Communications Corporation, 1976. 245 p. pbk.

John Broker, "son of a wealthy Lexington hotel owner is driven from home to seek his fame and fortune in the Horse Racing Capitol of the world, Louisville. Amid the splendor and vices of the River City, he meets the beautiful Michelle and rubs elbows with the noted celebrities of the fashionable Galt House. Misadventure drives him from position and power to a lowly existence in the cellars of Cincinnati hotels."(1) He finally works his way back to being a manager of the best hotel in Ohio. The story covers his life from 1898 until 1917. From a hand written note in the book from the author: "Much of this story takes place in areas of Pulaski County where I visited many times as a boy when my father managed the Beecher Hotel in Somerset."

69A. Sherburne, James. HACEY MILLER; A NOVEL. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971. 306 p.

"Hacey Miller, the young Kentuckian who gives his name to this story, is an adventurous thirteen-year-old in 1845 when the book begins."(1) He is at Berea during the Civil War and being a staunch abolitionist must side against his southern family and neighbors in the war.

70A. Sherburne, James. STAND LIKE MEN. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973. 268 p.

This is a novel of the Kentucky coal war of 1931 in Harlan County and of the people involved in the unionization of the county. Two unions were involved in this reign of terror, the National Miners' Union and the more familiar one, the United Mine Workers of America. "Action centers on 'Yellow Dog' Mine and on the Hord family who first settled on Dead Dog Branch."(3)

71A. Stafford, Clifford T. STARLIGHT FURNACE. Hicksville, New York: Exposition Press, 1979. 252 p.

Richard Wiltshire had become so successful as an ironworker in Pittsburgh that in 1839 he decided to head west to set up an ironworks of his own. In the Kentucky hills he has to battle with a murderous renegade, Wiles Sinder, and fight a war within himself for the love of two beautiful women.

72A. Steward, Davenport. THEY HAD A GLORY. Atlanta: Tupper and Love, 1952. 311 p.

This historical novel is of the Kentucky frontier during the early post-Revolutionary War years. The hero, Munro Dunbar, is a veteran of Marion's Brigade. He finds himself cheated of his inheritance when he returns to his South Carolina home and so joins the train of westward migrants. He comes to Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap and on the Wilderness Trail meets Alison Kent. This is the story of some of the first Kentuckians, "the people who came there seeking a better life for themselves and their children."(1)

73A. Strachan, Margaret Pitcairn. TROUBLE AT TORRENT CREEK. New York: Ives Washburn, Inc., 1967. 183 p.

This is the story of Terry Langley who is starting her first teaching job in Kentucky. She is the teacher at a small one-room, eighth grade school. She has many troubles and trials, but comes out the winner in all she attempts.

74A. Stuart, Jane. YELLOWHAWK. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973. 178 p.

Rhoda Miller is in her first year of teaching at Yellowhawk School in eastern Kentucky in the 1960s. Through her thoughts and observations we learn about her fellow teachers, students, and people of the community.

75A. Stuart, Jesse. THE GOOD SPIRIT OF LAUREL RIDGE. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1953. 263 p.

Theopolis Akers--Old Op to his friends--is the hermit and squatter of Laurel Ridge, and a steadfast believer in the world of spirits. He lives a simple life with a hound dog for company and various spirits to commune with. Old Op's life is upset when "the Outside World" in the form of his citified daughter and her friends invade his world. They begin to corrupt his world with their city ways, so he has to think of a plan to get rid of them.

76A. Stuart, Jesse. MR. GALLION'S SCHOOL. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967. 337 p.

This episodic novel recounts the efforts of a forty-nine-year-old sick ex-teacher, George Gallion, to put Kensington High School back on its feet. As principal, his old-fashioned ideas about courage and discipline were often opposed by the faculty, parents, and the board of education, but gradually he gained the support and respect of all. Mr. Gallion does a remarkable job but has to resign at the end of the year because of his bad heart. The novel is based on the author's personal experiences as a principal and teacher.

77A. Summers, Hollis Spurgeon. BRIGHTEN THE CORNER. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1952. 217 p.

The new preacher and his family have just moved from Louisville to Sharonville, Kentucky. This novel is about their life in this rural Kentucky Baptist parsonage as seen through the eyes of the preacher's son. It covers their life up to the time father resigns, and they move to another church in Wharton, Kentucky.

78A. Summers, Hollis Spurgeon. THE DAY AFTER SUNDAY. New York: Harper and Row, 1968. 274 p.

The Watts family was considered to be of the best society in Lexington, and viewed themselves as the best people in town. The story takes place on occasional Mondays throughout a year. Maribeth Watts is frigid and spends money compulsively, her husband is an alcoholic, with her son rapidly becoming one. The son, Joe Bill, a high school boy, comes in drunk one night, stumbles into their boarder's bed, and leaves her pregnant; she is the church secretary.

79A. Thayer, Geraldine. THE DARK RIDER. New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1961. 206 p. pbk.

Julie Pendleton had grown up on her father's Kentucky horse farm, and it seemed destined that she would marry the handsome, dashing son of a neighboring horse-raiser. "But amid the excitement of the approaching Kentucky Derby, fate took a confusing and frightening turn. A good-looking Yankee stranger made Julie's heart quicken dangerously, while a mysterious and cunning criminal threatened the Pendleton Derby entry. Suddenly, beautiful young Julie Pendleton was in a race of her own--against time and sinister evil."(1)

80A. Townsend, Abby Taylor. NO TEARS FOR YESTERDAY. New York: Exposition Press, 1956. 215 p.

Amelia Lawrence "at the age of six doesn't understand why her father doesn't live with the family in their house in the poor section of Louisville. She has to compete with her four older sisters for her place in the family. This book is about Amelia growing up and blossoming into womanhood. "It brings to life the longings, the frustrations, the joys, the dreams, the aches of a girl torn between her Victorian upbringing and her desires for love and a career."(1)

81A. Walkup, Eunice and Otis, Oscar. THE RACE. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973. 446 p.

"A novel set against the glittering playground for the very rich, where millionaire jet-setters play for the highest stakes in the greatest race of all--the Kentucky Derby. Behind the scenes in furious preparation for Derby Day at Churchill Downs, the passionate men and women who seek its golden prize come face to face with sex, arson, kidnapping, and murder in the power play that threatens to prevent the running of the longest, hardest, most famous mile and a quarter in the world. . . ."(1)

82A. White, E. P., Jr. PAINTED FIRE. Boston: Bruce Humphries, Inc., 1952. 223 p.

Parson McPherson, a Methodist preacher, is a fearless, outspoken young man who "has the courage to deal with evil-doers whenever and wherever he meets them, even evil-doers of wealth and position."(1)

83A. Wilson, Emma. UNDER ONE ROOF. New York: Wilfred Funk, 1955. 238 p.

This is an account of the adventures and misadventures of a western Kentucky family from Hopkinsville during the early years of this century.


HOURS for September 23, 2021