photograph by Matt Hulsman

Extraordinary Adventures by Daniel Wallace (St. Martin’s Press, 2017)
At 34 years old, Edsel Bronfman is used to going through life unnoticed. So when he gets a call offering him a free weekend in Destin, Florida — the only thing he’s ever “won” — it seems too good to be true. But, of course, there’s a catch: He has just 79 days to find a companion to go with him. In this quirky and heart-warming novel by Chapel Hill author Daniel Wallace, Bronfman must step out of his comfort zone and into the world of women, finally opening himself to the possibility of love.

Lovie by Lisa Yarger (UNC Press, 2016)
When author Lisa Yarger first meets Lovie Beard Shelton during the course of her research for the North Carolina Museum of History, she finds an unlikely friend in the 71-year-old midwife from Beaufort County. Over the next 17 years, despite deep religious and political differences, the two form a bond as Yarger explores Lovie’s more than 50-year career delivering babies in rural eastern North Carolina. In this biography filled with touching moments of faith, family, life, and loss, Yarger and Lovie prove that friendship transcends barriers.

The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs (Simon & Schuster, 2017)
In her poetic memoir, published posthumously, Greensboro author Nina Riggs watches her mother fight a losing battle with cancer, only to be diagnosed herself. She soon faces unthinkable questions about what she’ll leave behind when she dies: her husband, her two sons, a world of to-dos left undone. Drawing inspiration from philosopher Michel de Montaigne and her great-great-great-grandfather Ralph Waldo Emerson, Riggs explores what it means to live and die, and finds that every moment is worth cherishing.

Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan (Algonquin Books, 2016)
When Jonah escapes slavery on a South Carolina plantation, he begins the perilous journey north with nothing but a knife and some stolen coins. He’s soon joined by Angel, a fellow escaped slave who follows him like a lovesick puppy, and the two face starvation, deadly weather, and the constant fear of being captured. In his latest historical novel, best-selling author and Hendersonville native Robert Morgan tells a story of love and hope in a world where neither comes easy.

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Katie King is the assistant editor at Our State.