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Carolina Harmony [Kindle Edition]

Marilyn Taylor Mcdowell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $7.59
You Save: $0.40 (5%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Carolina’s a runaway hiding out at Harmony Farm. Mr. Ray and Miss Latah treat Carolina as their own. For 10 years she lived easy with her parents in the North Carolina mountains. But it feels risky speaking about the accident that claimed them and her baby brother. And Carolina won’t reveal the year of living with Auntie Shen, her surrogate grandma who took ill and was taken away or how she, Carolina, had to live in foster homes. Then Russell, a troublemaker from the foster home Carolina ran away from, secretly comes to Harmony Farm. Believing he’s a friend, Carolina sneaks him food and takes the blame for his pranks, until one night, when something so terrible happens that Carolina runs away again.

Marilyn Taylor McDowell has been bringing children and books together for over 25 years as librarian, storyteller, teacher, and proprietor of a children’s bookshop. This is her first novel. She lives in North Chittenden, Vermont.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—The early 1960s might be pretty turbulent everywhere else, but for 10-year-old orphan Carolina and the self-sufficient mountain woman she calls Auntie Shen, life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is homegrown, hand-preserved, and intrusion-free. After Carolina is orphaned, Auntie Shen takes her in, knowing full well that things are changing even in their remote piece of the world. Meddling do-gooders and social services overpower informal, off-the-grid arrangements like theirs with increasing ardor. But Auntie Shen and Carolina manage just fine—until Auntie Shen suffers a stroke. The situation is quickly declared unacceptable, and Carolina is forced away from her home. Desperate with worry for Auntie Shen, and indignant at being handed around against her will, the child flees two foster situations. She seeks refuge anywhere she can before finally stumbling onto Harmony Farm. There, Miss Latah, Mr. Ray, and Lucas gently help Carolina rebuild her trust. She isn't sure why or even whether the Harmony family wants her. But in the end, her happiness—and her beloved makeshift family—are finally made whole. McDowell's prose reads easily and creates a wonderful sense of place. The author occasionally jolts readers awake with jarring reminders that Carolina lives in a particular time, as well. Odd references to the civil rights struggle and the war in Vietnam are strangely, startlingly incongruous with the rest of Carolina's surroundings. Or perhaps they're a fitting complement to the startling strangeness of the child's entire world.—Catherine Threadgill, formerly at Charleston County Public Library, SC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* After Carolina’s beloved Auntie Shen suffers a stroke, Carolina escapes from an unpleasant foster placement. The orphaned 10-year-old finds love at Harmony Farm, but the web of lies she spins almost leads to losing that home, too. The summer of 1964 stretches out as only a child’s summer can, filled with defining moments: swimming, star-gazing, square dancing, learning to milk a cow and gather eggs, and hopping a train. This third-person narrative unwinds leisurely, with plenty of backtracking to fill in details of Carolina’s life and the glories of her world in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The reader aches for the red-headed child, who copes with far more than her share of trouble; she is reflective, resilient, and certainly deserving of the helping hand she gets from strangers and friends alike. McDowell offers a range of secondary characters that represent the peoples of western North Carolina—descendants of Scottish-Irish immigrants, slaves, and the Cherokees—and explores their frictions and reactions to the Civil Rights Act signed that summer. In her first novel for children, McDowell reveals her love for this part of the world, savoring the language, the environment, and the traditions of mountain culture. Thoughtful readers will come to love it, and Carolina, too. Grades 4-7. --Kathleen Isaacs

Product Details

  • File Size: 630 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 5, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001UMCA1E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,713,002 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book. January 30, 2010
Here is what my 9 year old daughter has to say............

I enjoyed this book very much because it was not girly. The author did not over describe stuff like in some books. I could sit there for hours reading this book and I highly recommend it. I think any age could enjoy this book and it was easy to read (it did not have fancy language). Oh and I love reading historical fiction books, so if you do, you will want to read this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Justin March 10, 2009
After reading Carolina Harmony I was taken back to the days where I was a child in North Carolina. Marylin Taylor McDowell has created a beautiful story. I couldn't put it down. I look forward to the next book from Marylin Taylor Mcdowell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful first novel! June 23, 2011
By Katya
I am an adult and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were richly developed and the book made me feel Carolina's emotions. I thought it was a very nice mix of plot and description, action and reflection. Perhaps it was a little too coincidental that Carolina ran into people she knew while miles from "home," but otherwise it was well-written. I look forward to more from McDowell and will pass this on to my 13-year-old daughter. This type of book is so much better than all of the fantasy books that are out these days. It is hard to find good literature for kids, and I'd say this one is a good find.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Destined to become a classic! June 21, 2011
This charming, engaging novel seems destined to become a multi-generational classic, like a cross between "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "Pippy Longstocking." I did not want the book to end. . . and look forward to the next work by this gifted author. The story is at once meditative and riveting, with a dramatic plot that leaves room to savor a summer pace of an earlier time, when people of all ages found satisfaction in the work of their hands and the abundance of the natural world. Especially moving to me is the way that the narrative invites the reader into the homes and hearts of characters of different cultures, races and social classes, creating trust and a spirit of inter-dependence before divulging identifying characteristics that could evoke prejudice or fear. The novel deals with difficult issues of loss, fear and meaninglessness and has left me feeling more hopeful and courageous. The protagonist is richly drawn, with a complex inner life. While her day to day struggles are familiar, her vitality and courage are extraordinary and invite the reader to grow in faith and courage. This book feels like a treasure, with many insights that can sustain young girls moving toward the challenges of adolescence in an increasingly complex society.
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More About the Author

Marilyn Taylor McDowell, children's book author, has been connecting children with great books for over twenty-five years. She worked as an elementary school librarian and later booked cultural arts events for a rural middle school. She has performed as a storyteller, was proprietor of a children's book shop, and has taught writing workshops for children. She now makes her home in Vermont where she writes stories for children, tends big organic gardens and volunteers in her community, mostly involved in reading initiatives for children.

To learn more about Marilyn, visit her website:


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