A Short Time to Stay Here by Terry Roberts

short timeIn 1917, the U.S. government placed about 2300 German sailors and officers in an internment camp in Hot Springs, North Carolina.  The officers lived in the Mountain Park Hotel and the sailors in nearby barracks.  This novel is a fictional look at this little-known (not known to me, anyway) part of N.C. history.  North Carolina authors Doris Betts, Robert Morgan, and John Ehle all praised the book highly!

The narrator is the former manager of the Mountain Park Hotel, who is now in charge of the internment camp.  The novel’s characters have different ideas on how to run an internment camp; some don’t even consider the Germans to be human, while others are working to provide them, not only decent quarters and food, but productive activity and good medical care.  The plot also includes a love story and a murder trial!

Roberts’ ancestors came to Madison County in the N.C. mountains in the 1700s.  He grew up near Weaverville, N.C., and is a graduate of three North Carolina universities: UNC-Asheville, Duke, and UNC-Chapel Hill.

(Helen Snow, retired from Information Services)

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