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Great books with local ties

The Lowcountry is full of many beautiful things, one being fantastic literature.

Get lost in these stories inspired by the land around us and the people we walk among.


For your inner detective

Bishop’s Reach

Hilton Head Island local Kathryn Wall blessed us with a whole mystery series set in the Lowcountry. This book is number six of her Bay Tanner Mystery series. It follows the complicated life of financial consultant and Port Royal resident Bay Tanner. Mystery and drama seem to follow Tanner, who cannot resist solving whatever case falls into her lap. This page turner is full of Southern charm, scandalous socialites and clever conclusions. You’ll recognize local spots from Palmetto Bay Marina all the way to Beaufort as Tanner takes you on a treasure hunt throughout our beloved Lowcountry. Kathryn and her husband Norman retired to Hilton Head in 1994. She is a founding member of Island Writers’ Network.


For the children

My Walk To The Water

Sustainability is Spartanburg local Elizabeth Belenchia’s passion. She was inspired to write this story by her time on Hilton Head where she learned about the threatened status of the loggerhead sea turtle. When serving on the turtle patrol, she realized the lack of awareness among tourists about how to share the beach with the turtles. She was determined to give the sea turtles a voice, so she wrote this story about a mother sea turtle born on a Carolina barrier island. The book informs children on how to “Put the Beach to Sleep at Night,” so that mother turtles can nest and hatchlings can make their way back to the water. Belenchia is pleased to share sustainable practices that help people incorporate ecology into their lives.


For long days with your toes in the sand
The Summer Girls

New York Times best-selling author Mary Alice Monroe wrote this environmental fiction novel set in present-day Sullivan’s Island, after moving to coastal South Carolina. This is the first book in the nationally bestselling Lowcountry Summer Series. It tells the story of three half-sisters who have drifted apart. Their grandmother lures them back to their once beloved summer house, the historic Sea Breeze, with tales of family treasure to get them to reunite. Monroe paints vivid images of the Lowcountry with ancient live oaks, palmetto trees, and beautiful beaches.


For those with wanderlust
Beach Music

Pat Conroy’s writing is full of rich emotion and humor. This story is set in both South Carolina and Rome where Jack McCall, a Southerner, is living abroad with his young daughter. He is dealing with the tragedy of his wife’s death and seeking solitude. Follow McCall as he searches for answers and revisits some of Europe’s dark history. Conroy taught English at Beaufort High School, where he once attended, and later taught underprivileged children in a one-room schoolhouse on Daufuskie Island.


For reading by the river
Untying the Moon

Bluffton local Ellen Malphrus lives and writes beside the May River. Malphrus explored her love for fiction and poetry at University of South Carolina, where she earned her MFA. She has a strong connection to the land and a passion for coastal conservation. Her debut novel “Untying the Moon” is a story of self-discovery, nature and home. Glistening views and graceful dolphins flood the pages of this enchanting story of a conflicted woman fulfilling a prophecy. The cover is a painting by Anthony Palliser, who taught with Malphrus at the School of Visual Arts in Savannah.


For your book club

The Southern Side of Paradise

Charming and witty are two words that describe the new popular voice in Southern fiction, Kristy Woodson Harvey. In the third book in her Peachtree Bluff series, a tucked-away secret threatens the strong bond that three sisters and their mother share. The women also struggle with other relationships, including those with the men in their lives. This juicy story is perfect to gush over with a book club. Harvey graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and obtained her master’s in English from East Carolina University.


Must Read

Bones of My Grandfather

Bones of My Grandfather is the full, never-before-told story of Medal of Honor recipient Alexander Bonnyman Jr. before, during and after his death in World War II. It is the remarkable account of the “lost graves of Tarawa” and the recovery of Bonnyman’s skeletal remains after they had lain hidden in the sand for nearly seven decades. The book also explores the impact of war not just on those who fight, but also on the families who must live with their sacrifices.

The book was written by Clay Bonnyman Evans, a writer who lives on Hilton Head and spends summers in his hometown of Boulder, Colo. Evans’ grandfather was killed in the Battle of Tarawa in November 1943 and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, which hung on the wall of Evans’ home growing up. Though always fascinated by his grandfather’s heroic story, his family was not aware that his remains were still missing on Betio, the tiny islet where he was killed, along with those of hundreds of other U.S. Marines. In 2009, he joined a volunteer group’s effort to find his grandfather, and six years later, they did.