Meagan Church, The Last Carolina Girl
Some folks will do anything to control the wild spirit of a Carolina girl...
For fourteen-year-old Leah Payne, life in her beloved coastal Carolina town is as simple as it is free. Devoted to her lumberjack father and running through the wilds where the forest meets the shore, Leah's country life is as natural as the Loblolly pines that rise to greet the Southern sky.
When an accident takes her father's life, Leah is wrenched from her small community and cast into a family of strangers with a terrible secret. Separated from her only home, Leah is kept apart from the family and forced to act as a helpmate for the well-to-do household. When a moment of violence and prejudice thrusts Leah into the center of the state's shameful darkness, she must fight for her own future against a world that doesn't always value the wild spirit of a Carolina girl.
Set in 1935 against the very real backdrop of a recently formed state eugenics board, The Last Carolina Girl is a powerful and heart-wrenching story of fierce strength, forgotten history, autonomy, and the places and people we ultimately call home.
"A dynamic and wrenching tale of family secrets and eugenics. This author is off to a strong start." ― Publishers Weekly
"The Last Carolina Girl is a heart-wrenching and authentically rendered glimpse into the portal of a state’s secret dark culture, family ties, and the fierce strength of a young girl’s grit and resilience. Church is electric in her delivery of loss, longing and place. Unforgettable, this a powerful debut to savor."
― Kim Michele Richardson, New York Times bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
"Leah's story is both humbling and inspiring. Church's ode to the natural world, to the often elusive feeling of home, and to the friends who become family provokes profound reflection. A dark spot in history warps Leah's path, but her resilient and unassailable character prevails. The Last Carolina Girl is a breathtaking read and Leah Payne an unforgettable character."
― Lo Patrick, author of The Floating Girls
Meagan Church is an author, wordsmith, and storyteller by trade. She received a B.A. in English from Indiana University, and her work has appeared in various print and online publications. A Midwesterner by birth, she now lives in North Carolina with her high school sweetheart, three children, and a plethora of pets. To follow her storytelling, visit MeaganChurch.com.