Here is a list of some good (and not-so-good) books in which Charleston is one of the main places. There are a lot of books I won’t read. Make your own list and send it to me!
WHAT TO READ
THE PRINCE OF TIDES & THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE by Pat Conroy.
The Prince of Tides tells the story of Tom Wingo, a teacher and football coach who doesn’t want to help his twin sister’s psychiatrists solve their family problems. When Tom’s sister tries to kill herself, he goes to New York to help her. As the psychiatrist pulls the family history out of Tom, he learns more and more about his own family. In the same way that calling James Patterson a “hack” is bad for him, calling the Wingo family dysfunctional is bad for them. It’s true, but it’s not enough.
A lot of people in Charleston were angry when Discipline came out because it was a little too close to the truth for them to like. People in Charleston like to be in charge of the mirror, and they get defensive when someone else says what they see in the mirror. Both of the books, Tides and Discipline, are great reads. Conroy, at the very least, is a writer who makes you feel and think.
Great Mischief / Josephine Pinckney.
A creepy little book that isn’t in print. My Amazon account didn’t let me buy it new. I had to buy it used. 1895: Gas is still used to light a lot of Charleston, which is a sleepy town in the South. Timothy Partridge runs a run-down apothecary shop where things haven’t changed much since the glory days of Romeo and Juliet. Drugs like bat wings, hummingbird feathers, and strange, fiery potions still hang from nails on the walls. Timothy is supporting his shrewish sister Penelope, and he has a best friend who is always telling him to live a little, stop being such a fussy person, and enjoy life. In the middle of the night, a young woman runs into the shop and begs for some solanum. Tim knows right away that there’s something wrong with the girl. He doesn’t know that she’s a witch from hell who will change his life forever.
Carrion Comfort / Dan Simmons
Horror is like War and Peace for the scary kind of thing. One of my favorite books. It’s December 1980, and a small group of vampires, who aren’t the fanged blood drinkers of legend, but monsterous, cruel humans with the psychic ability to possess and control others, meet in Charleston for a reunion. They score points by comparing the most recent acts of extreme violence that were done on their command. It’s a page-turning wonder that combines multiple plot lines and over-the-top action scenes into a story that has real, lasting power. One of them, Nina, is very proud of getting a faceless nobody to kill the Beatle John Lennon. This quickly turns into a power struggle that is even worse than the game at first. When the mind controllers turn on each other, innocent people are taken from their daily lives and killed in a bloodbath.
Bobby Joe Gentry, the sheriff of Charleston, is no one’s favorite action hero. An overweight, soft-spoken failed historian, who is baffled and angered by the sudden eruption of madness that has left Charleston littered with nine bodies in a single night. Gentry is out of his depth when he starts to find out about superpowers and government cover-ups at the highest levels of power. It doesn’t take long for him to be joined by Saul Laski, an old Jewish psychiatrist, and Natalie Preston, a young black photographer whose father was killed in Charleston. These three outnumbered people take on a global conspiracy on their own in a world where anyone can be possessed and turned into a murderous assassin without warning.
Melanie Fuller is one of the creepiest characters in modern literature. She is called “sweet little old Charleston lady” because she lives in Charleston.
Porgy / Dubose Heyward
When a beggar can’t walk, he sees a murder happen while the beggar is playing dice. The beggar later gives shelter to the murderer, the beautiful and haunted Bess. Porgy and Bess make each other happy, and their happiness only grows when they take in a child who was left alone by a hurricane. The Catfish Row community is against the union. It is short, though. The killer, Crown, comes back for Bess, and Porgy, protecting his family, kills him. They take him in for questioning, but they don’t think he could have been the killer. Porgy returns to the Row with a smile on his face. Triumph turns to tragedy when Sporting Life, the drug dealer, wooed Bess with “happy dus'” while he was away and took her to New York City, where she was supposed to work as a prostitute again. The book, even though it has a lot of drama, is very well written.
North & South – Love & War – Heaven & Hell / John Jakes
History as it should be: It was well written and well researched, and there was a lot of forbidden love, illicit sex, double crosses, and other things going on. When two young men from Pennsylvania and South Carolina meet on the way to West Point, they don’t even know each other. These two people are brought together in bonds that neither man thinks can be broken. Then the War starts.
Love and War: This is a huge five-year picture of the Civil War. It starts with the first Union victory in Virginia and ends with the last tragic moments of surrender. A war has broken up the Hazards and the Mains, putting their loyalty to each other to the test. This is more important than family ties. Strong-willed men fight for their beliefs with their lives on the battlefields of Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Antietam. In Washington and Richmond, where there is a lot of intrigue, strong-willed men and beautiful women try to satisfy their lusts with schemes that could hurt both their friends and their enemies.
There is no peace in Heaven and Hell for the Hazards and Mains in a country that is still angry and bitter. Schemers and people who move to the South after they lose are all over the place. People in the North don’t want to deal with people like Charles Main, who has been scarred by war and is trying to rebuild his life in the Plains cavalry. Then, a killer nemesis comes after him, looking for both families. It’s a fascinating look at Reconstruction America, and a fitting end to the story of two powerful families!
Celia Garth: A Story of Charleston in the Revolution / Gwen Bristow
This is the story of Celia Garth, a 20-year-old seamstress who lived in Charleston, South Carolina, during the Revolutionary War and tried to make a living by sewing clothes for people. Celia and her friends are able to live through the constant shelling and lack of food until the British leave. The British go back on their promises, and Celia has to start over with a new life. For the colonials, she is also a little bit of a “spy.”
Galilee / Clive Barker
Clive Barker is known as a horror writer who thinks about what he’s writing. His books are a mix of fantasy, psychology, and sheer creepiness. As far as the ghoulish goes, Barker softens the gothic in favor of the spooky in Galilee. As the author puts it, “romance,” his book tells the story of two warring families caught in a web of corruption, illicit sex, and star-crossed love. There’s also a little bit of the supernatural thrown in, too. People who are rich and famous, like the Gearys and the Kennedys, are on the one side, and people who are mysterious and black are on the other. They have been around since Adam.
Galilee tells the story of this long-running family feud, which is centered on the magical Barbarossa matriarch Cesaria and her son Galilee. As it turns out, it’s the latter figure, which is a mix of Heathcliff and Christ, who sets the whole thing on fire. Baker made a “intelligent and shameless potboiler” by mixing romance clichés with Southern gothic and making it taste like fried chicken.
Settling Accounts: In at the Death/ Harry Turtledove
This is the last book in the Settling Accounts tetralogy, which is about a different history of World War II. It brings to a close the compilation of multiple series that is sometimes called “Timeline-191.” A war between the United States and the Confederate States of America in the 1880s is also won by the South. In the end, the United States blows up an atomic bomb in Charleston, which wipes the city off the map. This is because the United States started the War Between the States in 1861.
Forbidden / Rebel Sinclair
The author of this book is my wife, and she wrote it. This means… It’s fair to say that I have a lot of personal bias. Still, it’s a good book to read.
Following a murder plot in London, Lady Madeline Winchester flees to Charleston, South Carolina, where she is protected by Nicholas Gales, a Magistrate Exchange Agent for the Magistrate Court. Madeline is afraid and alone except for her stiff lady’s maid. She is drawn to her dark, moody guardian and the plantation home of Myrtle Downs, even though she is disgusted by the prejudice and slavery in the society he lives in and the people who live there.
He doesn’t have a future with her in a world where breeding and birthright are important. Even more so, since Madeline is already married to a duke in her home country. They are drawn together by passion, but they are also torn apart by social differences and dreams of the past. Nicholas and Madeline only have one thing that can protect them from a dark force that has been orchestrating their lives in this dangerous 19th century tale of intrigue and betrayal: each other.
The Fallon Saga / Reagan O’Neal (Robert Jordan)
As good as North and South, which is a great book about history, It was written by James Rigney Jr., better known as Robert Jordan, the author of the best-selling fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. When Jordan died in September of 2007, people were shocked. People who were looking for him on the tour often saw him walk down Tradd Street.
In The Fallon Blood, 1760s Irishman Michael Fallon flees brutal English overlords and becomes an indentured servant to Charleston merchant Thomas Carver, where he falls in love with Carver’s sensual daughter, Elizabeth. This causes a lot of problems in Fallon’s life. He is the son of Michael Fallon, and in The Fallon Pride, his son, Robert Fallon, fights Barbary pirates and survives the siege of Tripoli for years on the sea. When he comes back to the United States with an Irish wife, Moira McConnell, they start a business in Charleston, South Carolina. He then raises a family that isn’t always easy. Fallon Legacy tells the story of how James Fallon, who is the last member of the Fallon line, moves south and west. He goes to New Orleans, then to Missouri, and finally Texas (then still part of Mexico). He loves and loses women, runs a ranch and breeds horses, and gets caught up in the schemes of shady men and women. The enemies that Michael and Robert made while they were alive come together against James. He has to find out whether or not his strength is enough for him to stand against them.