Meagan Church is the author of The Last Carolina Girl, an historical fiction novel now available from Sourcebooks. After receiving a B.A. in English from Indiana University, Meagan built a career as a storyteller and freelance writer for brands, blogs and organizations. A Midwesterner by birth, she now lives in North Carolina with her high school sweetheart, three children and a plethora of pets. Her second novel will be available in spring 2024.
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Meagan Church, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Cone-Gorham, RXD Agency, email@example.com
Molly Waxman, Sourcebooks, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL Synopsis
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…
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.
Praise for THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL
“[A] dynamic and wrenching tale of family secrets and eugenics. Church effectively dramatizes historical injustice in this searing tale… This author is off to a strong start.”
“[A] stirring debut, THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL, follows the newly orphaned 14-year-old Leah Payne, highlighting the true meaning of family in this Carolina-set coming-of-age novel… An affecting and excellent depiction of family corruption and lies, THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL challenges Leah to remember who she is, where she came from, and get where she wants to go–back home.”
–Shelf Awareness STARRED review
“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 is a powerful debut to savor.”
–Kim Michele Richardson, New York Times bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
“Meagan Church has written a compelling and aching debut. The Last Carolina Girl is both a story of love and a tale of abuse set in the shadow of the Depression. There, a girl’s blind obedience to her circumstances—a kind girl uprooted by her tender daddy’s death—comes with a devastating price. Leah’s life as an orphan takes her far from the comfort of sand and sea, yet she is armed with tenuous hope and a plan. Gradually, she puts together the puzzle pieces of her fractured life and uncovers truths: family can deceive and betray, but love offers salvation.”
– Leah Weiss, bestselling author of If the Creek Don’t Rise and All the Little Hopes