Cover Image: The Last Carolina Girl

The Last Carolina Girl

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Such a heart-breaking, beautiful story of a teenage girl who has so much taken away from her, yet she was still able to get up each day and fight for her happy ending.
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The Last Carolina Girl was so good my mind is still reeling. 
This reads as Leah telling us her story from the future. Her story is tragic though Leah keeps her hope and continues to see the good in everything throughout. She is 14 and living with her father in a small cottage on the edge of a forest in their small town. When a tragic accident takes his life, Leah finds herself living with a family hours away acting as a helpmate. 
While Leah seems to get along with the children, no matter what she does the mother will not accept her or even be nice. 
The mother starts inviting an "up and coming" doctor around and asking him about his "revolutionary" new teachings of eugenics. When Leah suddenly finds herself the victim of a horrific act of violence, she has to figure out how to get her life back on her own terms. 
This was gut wrenching and so sad. But it was also gripping, and I could not put it down. The writing was like a friend telling you a story you have never hear before. I sat there wanting to bring the book to life so I could slap the mother of the family across the face for how awful she was. To protect Leah. (I went through a lot of emotions with this read.)
While this is historical fiction, the examples of how dangerous an ideology like eugenics is still show up in present day. I recommend this book as far as fiction but definitely keep reading up because I had no idea how this still permeates America to this day- and in vicious, awful ways.
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The Last Carolina Girl is a beautifully written story.  The story takes place in North Carolina during the 1930s. It is a heartbreaking story of pain and loss but also hope and strength of courage and resilience.  Leah is the main character and she is a young free spirit. She loves nature and dreams of living on the beach. At 14 her life has been filled with many hardships including losing her mother at birth and now her father. She temporarily moves in with their landlords until they can find a place for her to go. From there her story moves on to her new ‘family’ the Griffins. I say family loosely as this was not a family type situation she had hoped for.  She does make friendships and finds ways to cope with what she has been dealt with. I am inspired by Leah’s courage and strength. 
I think everyone should read this book.  It will be a fantastic book for book clubs as it inspires tough conversations of the hardships and historical events that took place during the eugenics movement during the 1930s. Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for the digital review copy of this novel. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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The Last Carolina Girl by Meagan Church. Pub Date: February 28, 2023. Rating: 5 stars. Set in the 1930s in North Carolina, this is the story of a young girl who is faced with adversity and rises to be a fierce, strong and courageous woman. Growing up poor by a single parent due to her mother dying in childbirth, she loses her father at a young age and is ultimately housed with an unfamiliar family. There, she is faced with tough times and treated as a "less than." Through her struggles, she fights for her freedom and maintains a steady heart and head. I absolutely loved this novel and felt the imagery of the location, time and place were spot on. Pick this one up if you love historical fiction. Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for this e-arc in exchange for my honest review.
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This is the story of Leah, a young 14 year old girl whose mother died at birth. Her father is a caretaker on a large estate where they live in a cabin. The estate owners and housekeeper treat Leah kindly. But when her father is killed in a work related accident, kLeah is sent to a foster family. The foster family is far from what she knew or expected. The mother of the family appears to have deep secrets. And she seems to have a hidden agenda.

Leah is a nature lover and a free spirit. She loves living creatures, the beach, watching clouds in the sky.   She experiences life with a positive attitude. She is a young girl who deserves so much more from life.

A very ugly part of history lurks in the background of this story. North Carolina created a State Eugenics Board for the obvious purpose of creating a pure race. It was active from 1933 until the 1970s, forcing sterilization of “imperfect” people. I was afraid of where this might lead.  

This is a heartbreaking story about a young girl who lost her way. It was not of her own accord but because of circumstances that were forced on her. I found myself getting very emotional toward the end. Life is not fair, and certainly not for Leah. 

I appreciated one of Leah’s final observations: “Sometimes family's not who you've been given. It's who you choose.” Very wise words. 

Well written, well researched story. Great character development even though there was one character that was despicable. But realistic. 

The author added her own notes at the end of the book. She revealed that this story is related to an incident in her own family. I have found that stories that have a personal connection to the author are the most heart felt.   

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advance Readers Copy.
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This is the story of Leah Payne, a 14-year-old who lives near a small town in coastal Carolina.  Her mother died giving birth to her, and a the novel begins, Leah he is living a simple and free life with her lumberjack father, appreciating and really being one with the nature around her.  Unfortunately, her father is killed in an accident and her home basically becomes unlivable because of a giant tree that fell on it.  She is sent to live with a foster family several hours away inland, where she is becomes the family “maid” and is treated horrendously by the female head of the house.  

Leah’s story is a heartbreaking one of pain and loss, but also one of hope and the strength of the human spirit.  It is a glimpse into not only some of the horror that existed at that time but also into the remarkable bonds that develop between family members and those close.  Reading the author’s notes after finishing the novel adds a great deal of perspective to her work and really completes the story.  All in all, this was an enjoyable but heartrending read.  Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC.
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There were so many times I wish I could have reached inside my kindle and given Leah a hug.  She had my heart from the very first page! I definitely appreciated the Author's Note at the end of the book and I hope more stories come out about the eugenics programs. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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Lots of triggers in this read:  parental loss, broken youth, forced sterilization, loss of home.

This was a beautifully written, gut wrenching coming of age tale.  I truly felt for Leah, the main character in this story as my heart literally hurt for her.  The terrible events that take place in this book are sadly things that did occur in US history.  While I think everyone should read this book, I do not want to give many details away.  I will tell you though that this is a must read.  It has a Crawdads feel to it, with a completely different plot, but very similar setting.  Your emotions will run far and deep.

The Last Carolina Girl is due to come out in late February, 2023.  Thank you to NetGalley, Sourcebooks and Meagan Church for the arc.
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Wow. If I had one word for this book, that’s it—wow! I absolutely loved this book. I read that it was similar to Where The Crawdads Sing, which I also really enjoyed and honestly, I thought it was much better. It was multilayered and had so much heart in it. This story about Leah, a country girl living with her father in Carolina country, is heart wrenching. After her father dies, her life is upended and the novel follows her from there and as heart breaking as it is, it’s a beautifully written book!
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The Last Carolina Girl 
by Meagan Church 
Pub Date: February 28. 2023
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. A searing book club novel for fans of Where the Crawdad's Sing and The Girls in the Stilt House following one girl fighting for her family, her body, and her right to create a future all her own

Some folks will do anything to control the wild spirit of a Carolina girl..
This was a new author for me, but I found the book to be very well written. I will be looking forward to reading more from this author. 
4 stars
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“The Last Carolina Girl” should have worked far better than it actually did. I feel like the story has been told many times before — there are definite similarities to “Where the Crawdads Sing.” I did feel that the introduction of eugenics was a heartbreaking and unique twist, but the story just felt like familiar territory!
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Fourteen year old Leah Payne becomes an orphan and is moved to a foster family to be their maid. She's given a cold room and is treated terribly by the missus, but not the family's children who seem to love her. This is a coming of age novel with lots of dark secrets, so if you don't mind a book with a sad storyline this book isn't for you. Overall, things do work out in the end, but it's a long hard road ahead. I received this book for my honest review.
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The Last Carolina Girl

Meagan Church’s writing is like poetry, with the interconnectedness and use of each word creating an immersive ethereal world. Leah, 14, and her father live in a small hut in the Carolina wilderness on the Barna’s property. A delicate world, for her mother died in childbirth even as Leah herself lived and thrived.  Ethereal in its rightness with her father.  And ethereal in its fragility and inability to move or stay unchanging even as tragedy strikes. My heart ached for Leah throughout for the loss and heartache she’d already suffered and ached for the pain and heartache that was inflicted through no fault of her own. Leah seems wise beyond her years and yet she was also so very innocent with courage and inner strength.  

I love her father’s tradition of three birthday gifts: one to honor the past, one to honor the future, and one a story of a memory of her mother. When she turned 17 she would hear them all, whichever one she wanted to learn, but alas, her father dies shortly after her fourteenth birthday. Left an orphan with only the Barna’s, Tulla and best friend Jesse, Leah’s fate is suddenly in the hands of the state as the Barna’s try to do what’s right for sweet Leah. Alas, things go awry in her placement in a home that, while promising to look after Leah, instead finds her as a helpmate with little more than a tiny back room to call her own space. And even that never fully belongs to her.  In a world where appearances seem to matter more than the people around you Leah is not given the opportunity to be herself and is constantly reminded that she is not enough. 

Haunting, lyrical, heartbreaking, and hopeful, this is a story that brought me to tears and one that I am so glad I had the opportunity to read.  

Thank you, Sourcebooks Landmark for this digital advance reader’s copy on NetGalley.  

#meaghanchurch #sourcebooks #netgalley #sourcebookslandmark
#sourcebookslandmarkpublishing #influencerprogram #advancereadingcopy #arc #influencer #debutauthor #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #bookgeek #booknerd #1935 #historicalfiction  #southernfiction  #eugenics #femalewriter  #femaleauthor
@sourcebooks @mchurchwriter @bookmarked @netgalley
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Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for a free digital copy of The Last Carolina Girl in exchange for an honest review. This book was equally sad and very interesting. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot from reading it. Anyone who loves reading historical fiction would love this book.
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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Bittersweet story about a young girl who loses her parents tragically and is mistreated due to epilepsy.   Sweet ending.
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Four friends have stolen aboard the Titanic. They're after the Rubaiyat - a book inlaid with priceless jewels. Josefa is a charismatic thief, Hinnah a daring acrobat, Violet an outstanding actress and Emilie a talented artist.

It is Josefa's plan, but she needs all of their skills. Despite their very different backgrounds, in a world of first-class passengers and suspicious crew members, the girls must work together to pull off the heist of their lives.
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Leah Payne lives a simple and mostly carefree life with her logger father in coastal woods of North Carolina. Leah loves nature, with the forest being her literal backyard.  She feels most herself when outdoors lying in the grass or mucking about exploring.  She attends a small country school with Jack, whose father owns the land she lives on.  Despite the gap in their financial circumstances, the two are friends. Leah never knew her mother as she died in childbirth, but her father has done his best to raise his daughter the way his wife would have wanted.  Leah and her father are a tight-knit duo and when a tragic accident takes him from her she is devastated.  

Much to Leah’s dismay Jack’s family won’t take her in, and instead finds a willing family.  As she is driven across the state to her new home, she dreams of fitting in with the new siblings she is told she is joining.  But, life hands her another blow as she ends up finding herself working as a helpmate for the well-to-do family instead being welcomed to join them.  Leah’s new life is not for the faint of heart, and she fights to retain her identity in this world that is so different from her own upbringing.  

Leah’s coming of age story is a tragic one, but one that should be read as she deals with poverty, grief, and a fight for autonomy over her own life.  She possesses such a positive outlook on life despite everything she has dealt with in her short years.  This is a fantastic addition to the Southern fiction genre.  If you were a fan of Where the Crawdads Sing or The Girl in the Stilt House, this book needs to be added to your TBR pile! My only complaint is that the book wasn’t longer.

Thank you to Netgalley, Sourcebooks Landmark, and of course Meagan Church for the advanced copy of the book.   The Last Carolina Girl is devastating read, but so engrossing. Look for it on bookshelves March 7th!
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This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and it kept me guessing throughout, which is difficult for most books to do. I felt like I connected with the characters and really enjoyed the plot!
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This book was not what I expected. I picked it up because the author is a North Carolina author and I like to read stories about my home state.  I kind of expected something light from the title, but this book was nothing like that.

Leah's story is heart-breaking and traumatic.  She lost her mother when she was born. Her Dad died when she was fourteen.  They had been living at Holden Beach.  When Leah was left on her own she was take to live with a family in Matthews, North Carolina.  She thought she would be part of the family, but that was not the case.  The events that happened to Leah were tragic and scarred her for life. 

This is a coming of age story, but it also explores a dark spot in American history that should never have happened.  I can't imagine how the women would feel when it happened to them.  Leah was strong and courageous throughout.  She tried her best to maintain her sense of self, and I admired that about her.  

Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark through Netgalley for an advance copy.  This book will be published on March 7, 2023.
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1935-Rural NC beach... country girl...seclusion...
When her father passes away, Leah is an orphan. The family in 'the big house' must decide what to do.
Sent to live with another family, she thinks all will go well. However this family is full of secrets.

This book is full of descriptions of the natural world and backwoods life. It is also a depiction of a time in our US history you may not know anything about. 
Be sure you read the authors note!!

Thank you to netgalley for the eARC!
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