After Sadie Caswell’s son, Mark, is gone, she doesn’t have much use for other people. The last person she wants to see is Tinley Greene, who shows up claiming she’s pregnant with Mark’s baby. Sadie knows Tinley must be lying because Mark never would’ve betrayed his fiancé. So she refuses to help and she doesn’t breathe a word about Tinley’s visit to anybody, including her husband. But in a small, southern town like Garnet, nothing stays secret for long. Once Sadie starts piecing together what happened to Mark, she discovers she was wrong about Tinley. And when her husband is rushed to the hospital, Sadie must hurry to undo her mistake before he runs out of time to meet their grandchild.

Short stories based on MARANATHA ROAD appear in Pembroke Magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, Hermeneutic Chaos, and The Bluestone Review, and were selected as finalists for the Reynolds Price Fiction Prize, Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Prize, Touring Theatre of North Carolina Short Story Contest, Southern Literary Contest, and North Carolina State University Fiction Prize. The manuscript won the Knoxville Writers’ Guild contest.

flourishPublished by Vandalia Press, the creative imprint of West Virginia University Press

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“It is a special pleasure to welcome this novel of kinship, loss, and love, set in the mountains of North Carolina. Heather Adams is an exciting new voice in Appalachian fiction.” Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek and Chasing the North Star

Maranatha Road is an ode to beauty and suffering, grief and hope in a small mountain town. Within its pages, Heather Bell Adams brings to vivid life two strong, Southern women, at odds yet bound by love’s saving grace. I’ll be thinking of Sadie and Tinley for a long time to come, and waiting eagerly for more to read from this gifted new writer.” Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot and Long Man

“In prose as pure and clear and resonant as a mountain ballad, Adams takes us directly into the hearts of her characters.” Kim Church, author of Byrd

“Rare is the book that has the power to change our way of thinking, and ever rarer is the writer who can blow the dust off our hearts and remind us what it means to feel, to love, and to rediscover the pathways to our own humanity. You are well advised to follow what will undoubtedly be the rapid rise of this stunning new voice in the literary arena.” Wil Mara, author of Frame 232 and The Nevada Testament

“Moving and deeply satisfying. Two strong, remarkable women in Tinley and Sadie. Their voices, both so real and genuine, contrast and magnify one another’s in the alternating sections. I fell in love with Tinley at once, in the way she did Mark; but grudging respect turned to love for Sadie, too. Their interactions early and late are beautifully done, as well as the in-betweens when they are far apart, separately grieving the one who connects them, the one who is gone.” Gregg Cusick, author of My Father Moves Through Time Like a Dirigible

“The prose in Heather Adams’ exquisite novel Maranatha Road sparkles with honesty and vitality—both poetic and musical in the way of the best southern writing. Her characters crackle with humanity and their alternating voices tell a sweeping story of love, compassion, and the timeless bonds of family. Tinley is a compelling heroine—lost and lonely but sparkling with life, sensuality, and hope. Mark is a troubled hero, confused by conflicting desires and dark moods that he struggles to control. The stories of the small town they share flow beneath their story like the waters of a river tumbling over stones, compelling one to listen and believe in the power of place and the ties that bind.” Mary Akers, author of Bones of an Inland Sea

“Heather Bell Adams’ story of loss touched me to the core. She captures the human struggle in her clear intent to render what follows us from our pasts even as we move forward. Filled with the poetry of shattered lives, Maranatha Road is the novel of the desperado, a haunting debut.” Harriet Levin Millan, author of How Fast Can You Run

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“…[T]akes a seemingly standard setup of Southern poverty literature and burnishes it into a memorable, quietly compelling page-turner … [T]he story transcends expectations … Each character emerges as distinct and minutely detailed, and the book’s ability to elicit realistic sympathy for their disparate voices is an achievement worth savoring … Every time the book seems to settle into a predictable story line, a new plot twist explodes like a tiny bomb … Accomplished, knowing, and memorable, MARANATHA ROAD by Heather Bell Adams is a book to be enjoyed on many levels, not the least of which is that it is a darned good read.” Foreword Reviews

“[A]n exquisite story with characters so real they could step off the pages into your living room …  [A] poignant debut novel … The story opens with a bang, but may well close with a whimper–yours–the story is really that moving … [Sadie Caswell is] reminiscent of Olive Kitteridge, the titular character that earned a Pulitzer for Elizabeth Strout. The portrait Adams draws of Sadie is just as fine and unforgettable.” Southern Literary Review

“Maranatha Road is brimming with hushed secrets that will seem familiar if you’ve ever caught wind of the quiet gossip that flows around a small town. Debut author Heather Bell Adams delivers an emotional punch in this moving tale of two strong-on-the-outside-but-tender-within women individually trying to figure out a way forward after tragedy strikes. I fell in love with the deeply-drawn characters and wanted to give their hands a reassuring squeeze. The gorgeous prose and rich description of life in the NC mountains may inspire you to pack your bags for a road trip.”  Staff Pick, Quail Ridge Books

“In Maranatha Road, Heather Bell Adams’ first novel, her plot is so tightly woven and her characters so multifaceted that she deserves space on the Appalachian literary shelf alongside Robert Morgan and Sheila Kay Adams.” WNC Woman

“I loved this story about small town secrets, complicated family relationships, and the domino effect of one chance encounter. Highly recommended for fans of Susan Gregg Gilmore’s THE FUNERAL DRESS, another Southern small-town story about love, unlikely friendships, and hope in the midst of loss.” Modern Mrs. Darcy

Fall/Winter Reading List, Deep South Magazine

Recommended Read, “Sizzling Sunflower of September,” A Novel Bee

 Recommended Read, Women Writers, Womens Books

Recommended Read, Bloodroot Mountain

“[A] new debut author to add to my list … southern fiction at its best.” Girl Who Reads

“Rich in setting details … ordinary people who struggle to make sense of the past and make a life for the future” Belle Magazine