Ballad Novels

The Ballad Novels are a series of award-winning novels set in the Appalachian Mountains. These books lyrically weave together the legends, natural wonders, and contemporary issues of Appalachia, each focusing on an event or era in North Carolina history. Through the Ballad Novels, Sharyn McCrumb celebrates her own ancestors and the land of the mountain south, crafting stories rich with tradition and the true character and spirit of that breathtaking region.

BOOKS IN THIS
SERIES

King's Mountain
King's Mountain
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John Sevier had not taken much interest in the American Revolution. Homesteading in the Carolina mountains, Sevier was too busy fighting Indians and taming the wilderness to worry much about a far-off war, but when an arrogant British officer sends a message over the mountains, threatening to burn the settlers' farms and kill their families, the Revolutionary War becomes personal.

That abrasive officer is British Army Major Patrick Ferguson, who is both charmingly antagonistic and surprisingly endearing. The younger son of a Scottish earl, Ferguson suffers constant misfortunes, making his dedication and courage count for nothing. When he loses the use of his arm from an injury at Brandywine, his commander sends him south, away from the war—which, in 1780, George Washington and the Continental Army are losing. Ordered to recruit wealthy Southern planters to the British cause, Ferguson courts disaster by provoking the frontiersmen, and suddenly the far-off war is a sword's length away. The British aristocrat on a fine white horse is the antihero to Sevier's American pioneer spirit. Two Tory washerwomen, Virginia Sal—whose lucid voice lends humor and mysticism to the pages—and Virginia Paul, a mysterious woman too well-acquainted with death, portray the human side of the king's army. With a regiment of British regulars and local Tory volunteers, Ferguson believes he's an indomitable force.
 
Threatened by the Loyalists with invasion and the loss of their land, Sevier knows that Ferguson has to be stopped. In response, Sevier and his loyal comrades—many of whom would play key roles in later parts of American history—raise an unpaid volunteer militia of more than a thousand men. Bringing their own guns, riding their own horses, and wearing just their civilian clothes, the Overmountain Men ally themselves with other states' militias and march toward Charlotte in search of Ferguson's marauding army.

On a hill straddling the North and South Carolina lines, in what Thomas Jefferson later called "the turning point of the American Revolutionary War," the Overmountain Men triumph, proving that the British forces can be stopped. Their victory at King's Mountain inspired the colonies to fight on, ending the war one year later at Yorktown.

Peppered with lore and the authentic heart of the people in McCrumb’s classic Ballads, this is an epic book that paints the brave action of Sevier and his comrades against a landscape of richly portrayed characters. Harrowing battle descriptions compete with provoking family histories, as McCrumb once again shares history and legend like no one else. Both a novel of war and family, crafted with heart and depth, King's Mountain celebrates one of Appalachia's finest hours.

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Ballad Novels

Sharyn McCrumb

St. Martin's Press

John Sevier had not taken much interest in the American Revolution. Homesteading in the Carolina mountains, Sevier was too busy fighting Indians and taming the wilderness to...

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The Rosewood Casket
The Rosewood Casket
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“Eloquent, lyrical, and richly textured . . . There is no one quite like [McCrumb] among present-day writers. No one better either.” —San Diego Union-Tribune

With a career spanning decades, and superlatives from reviewers nationwide--whose bestselling novels have been named Notable Books by the New York Times and the LA Times--this is a unique opportunity to publish one of Sharyn McCrumb's most cherished novels. Now in trade paperback for the first time, fresh on the heels of McCrumb's return to the bestseller list!

The stage is set for family drama when Randall Stargill lies dying on his southern Appalachian farm, and his four sons come home to build him a coffin made from the special cache of rosewood he has saved for this purpose.  Meanwhile, mountain wisewoman, Nora Bonesteel, prepares another box—to be buried with him.  Among them, a real estate developer is hovering over the family's farm bringing secrets and tensions to the surface.

In a style both lyrical and beautifully detailed, with a narrative that flows from Native American lore and the burnished tales of Daniel Boone—up to the sharpest, and keenly realized landscapes of Appalachia today, The Rosewood Casket is a novel as hauntingly beautiful as the mountains that gave it charge--and a stunning addition to our collection of McCrumb Ballad novels.
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Ballad Novels

Sharyn McCrumb

St. Martin's Press

“Eloquent, lyrical, and richly textured . . . There is no one quite like [McCrumb] among present-day writers. No one better either.” —San Diego Union-TribuneWith...

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The Ballad of Frankie Silver
The Ballad of Frankie Silver
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The New York Times Bestseller

Set in the Appalachian wilderness and blending legends and folklore with high suspense, this stellar novel, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, is considered one of McCrumb’s crowning achievements.

In 1833 Frankie Silver was an eighteen-year-old girl convicted of murder in Burke County, North Carolina. Through a detailed investigation, the local sheriff, and soon all the townsfolk, discover reason to question her guilt---but the wheels of justice were mercilessly unstoppable, and she was hanged. 

Now, more than a century later, another woman is convicted of murder in the lush hills of Tennessee. Her life is in the hands of Spencer Arrowood, a man who begins to discover that the convictions of these two women have deep and haunting parallels.  Although Frankie’s fate cannot be changed, there is still time to alter the fate of another innocent woman.

In a voice that could only be Sharyn McCrumb’s, the worlds of these two murders, these two women, intersect in this densely plotted and lyrical novel—and characters, generations, and history are breathlessly painted against an Appalachian canvas.


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Ballad Novels

Sharyn McCrumb

St. Martin's Press

The New York Times BestsellerSet in the Appalachian wilderness and blending legends and folklore with high suspense, this stellar novel, The Ballad of Frankie...

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The Ballad of Tom Dooley
The Ballad of Tom Dooley
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A literary triumph—what began as a fictional re-telling of the historical account of one of the most famous mountain ballads of all time became an astonishing revelation of the real culprit responsible for the murder of Laura Foster

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley…The folk song, made famous by the Kingston Trio, recounts a tragedy in the North Carolina mountains after the Civil War. Laura Foster, a simple country girl, was murdered and her lover Tom Dula was hanged for the crime. The sensational elements in the case attracted national attention: a man and his beautiful, married lover accused of murdering the other-woman; the former governor of North Carolina spearheading the defense; and a noble gesture from the prisoner on the eve of his execution, saving the woman he really loved. 

With the help of historians, lawyers, and researchers, Sharyn McCrumb visited the actual sites, studied the legal evidence, and uncovered a missing piece of the story that will shock those who think they already know what happened—and may also bring belated justice to an innocent man. What seemed at first to be a sordid tale of adultery and betrayal was transformed by the new discoveries into an Appalachian Wuthering Heights. Tom Dula and Ann Melton had a profound romance spoiled by the machinations of their servant, Pauline Foster.

Bringing to life the star-crossed lovers of this mountain tragedy, Sharyn McCrumb gifts understanding and compassion to her compelling tales of Appalachia, and solidifies her status as one of today's great Southern writers.

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Ballad Novels

Sharyn McCrumb

St. Martin's Press

A literary triumph—what began as a fictional re-telling of the historical account of one of the most famous mountain ballads of all time became an astonishing revelation of...

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The Devil Amongst the Lawyers
The Devil Amongst the Lawyers
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In 1935, when Erma Morton, a beautiful young woman with a teaching degree, is charged with the murder of her father in a remote Virginia mountain community, the case becomes a cause célèbre for the national press.

 Eager for a case to replace the Lindbergh trial in the public’s imagination, the journalists descend on the mountain county intent on infusing their stories with quaint local color: horse-drawn buggies, rundown shacks, children in threadbare clothes. They need tales of rural poverty to give their Depression-era readers people whom they can feel superior to. The untruth of these cultural stereotypes did not deter the big-city reporters, but a local journalist, Carl Jennings, fresh out of college and covering his first major story, reports what he sees: an ordinary town and a defendant who is probably guilty.

This journey to a distant time and place summons up ghosts from the reporters’ pasts:  Henry Jernigan’s sojourn in Japan that ended in tragedy, Shade Baker’s hardscrabble childhood on the Iowa prairie, and Rose Hanelon’s brittle sophistication, a shield for her hopeless love affair. While they spin their manufactured tales of squalor, Carl tries to discover the truth in the Morton trial with the help of his young cousin Nora, who has the Sight. But who will believe a local cub reporter whose stories contradict the nation’s star journalists? For the reader, the novel resonates with the present: an economic depression, a deadly flu epidemic, a world contending with the rise of political fanatics, and a media culture determined to turn news stories into soap operas for the diversion of the masses.

A stunning return to the lands, ballads, and characters upon which she made her name, The Devil Amongst the Lawyers is a testament to Sharyn McCrumb’s lyrical and evocative writing.


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Ballad Novels

Sharyn McCrumb

St. Martin's Press

In 1935, when Erma Morton, a beautiful young woman with a teaching degree, is charged with the murder of her father in a remote Virginia mountain community, the case becomes a...

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