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A return to Mitford, and more of N.C. interest

By Dannye Romine Powell
Dannye Romine Powell
Dannye Romine Powell has published three collections of poetry (University of Arkansas Press) and a non-fiction book, "Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers" (John Blair).
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Jan Karon’s new Mitford novel is “Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good.”

OK, all you Jan Karon fans. It’s here: Karon’s first Mitford novel in nearly a decade. “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good” (Putnam, $27.95) is dedicated to “the young men and women of Grandfather Home for Children,” a Christian ministry in Banner Elk “providing love and healing” for 500 abused and neglected children each year. The glamorous jacket photo of Karon was taken by her daughter Candace Freeland, a former Observer photographer. Karon, who lives in an 18th century farmhouse near Thomas Jefferson’s house Monticello in Virginia, spent her teenage years in Charlotte.

• Once there was a young woman who for months called the Observer every Friday at noon. “Hire me!” she begged. Paige Williams turned out to be an innovative, energetic and prize-winning reporter. Now she’s landed a major deal with Hachette Book Group for an expansion of her January New Yorker story, “Bones of Contention.” Due in the fall of 2016, “The Dinosaur Artist” will tell of the global fascination with the fossils of deep time and one maverick’s quest to bring the illicit skeleton of a Mongolian Tarbosaurus bataar into the United States and to auction in Manhattan.

“Seasons of the Dragonflies” (Morrow, $25.99) is a first novel for Sarah Creech of Charlotte, who teaches English and creative writing at Queens University of Charlotte. The novel concerns a family of women who run a perfumery in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With their particular sensory gifts, they have created a mysterious scent that sells for millions and magnifies a woman’s talents. No surprise that Creech dedicates this novel to her mother, Chareatha. How could you not write a novel about perfume with a mother with such a romantic name? Says Publishers Weekly: “By turns charming and suspenseful, this is a memorable first novel.”

Novelist Ron Rash calls Mark Powell “the best Appalachian novelist of his generation.” Powell’s “The Sheltering” (University of South Carolina Press, $29.95) is the second novel in Pat Conroy’s Story River Books Series. Billed as a literary thriller, “The Sheltering” is set in the battlefields of the Middle East, the South and the American West and tells the “ill-fated story of two soldiers, their families, and the realities of war, terror and violence.” Conroy calls this August release “a hallucinatory work of visions for our visionless world.”

Poets with books

•  Maureen Sherbondy of Raleigh with “Beyond Fairy Tales: Poems in Concrete & Flesh” (Main Street Rag, $14).

•  Michael Chitwood of Chapel Hill with “Living Wages” (Tupelo Press, $16.95 paper), with audio version, $12, due in October.

Powell: dpowell@charlotteobserver.com
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