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The book’s main character, Belle McKenzie is obsessed with finding the best apple anyone ever bit into and determined to rekindle the love this obsession has nearly destroyed.
Woven throughout Carolina Belle is the fascinating history of Henderson County, North Carolina’s, apple orchards that endlessly unfold on the county’s horizons and still bear the same names as the early settlers to the area. Senehi, known for her historically accurate novels, sprinkles the book with stories of the development of the Southern apple that started when countless settlers planted seeds all over the South and kicked off one of the biggest evolutionary experiments this nation has ever seen.
Part mystery, part family saga, part love story, this novel tells of the movement to keep the South’s heirloom apple trees from disappearing from the face of the earth. Senehi’s heroine, Belle McKenzie, risks her life rescuing the four hundred antique apple trees her neighbor has collected from farms and fields all over the South. From them, Belle, a botanist, is hell bent on creating a “billion dollar” apple she’ll call the Carolina Belle.
Her grandfather, Pap, who owns the biggest apple orchard in North Carolina, thinks of his orchard manager, Matt, as a son, but Belle as the man whom she loved and who betrayed her. Can Belle mellow from a bitterly unforgiving young woman, to one willing to swallow her pride to win back the man she never stopped loving? Will the missteps of their past keep them from trusting each other, or will their suppressed love bloom and overcome unfounded suspicions?
Carolina Belle is a contemporary novel rich in emotion and driven by suspense, and Senehi’s fifth book in her Blue Ridge series of “stand alone” novels that take place in Western North Carolina’s mountains where she lives.