Book review: 'Big Stone Gap' gives tale of mountain life

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Cape Girardeau Public Library's adult services coordinator Paula Fetherston, recommends you read "Big Stone Gap" by Adriana Trigiani.

"Big Stone Gap is the first in a series of four novels set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Ave Maria Mulligan is the pharmacist in this small coal mining town. She is at once kind and caring, prickly, with a dry sense of humor and pragmatic view of the world, and in inner turmoil over her sense of place and self, all against a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

As the town pharmacist and member of the local rescue squad, Ave holds a storehouse of secrets of the townspeople she serves. It is an unnerving secret of her own, however, left in a posthumous letter from her mother, that sends Ave into a tailspin and causes the above-mentioned inner turmoil. But that is not all that disrupts her comfortable, quiet, un-episodic life as the middle-aged town spinster. Besides her discovery of the shocking news in the letter, there come two marriage proposals, love advice from the bookmobile librarian and threats from a greedy relative -- all more than enough to upset and change Ave Maria Mulligan's life as she has known it.

Adriana Trigiani writes in the voice of Southern woman Ave Maria of Italian descent and does it to perfection. At the end of the story the reader will have come to know and most likely love Ave Maria Mulligan. It may be hard to let go of her. If that is the case, the happy news is that the next chapter of her life is waiting to be picked up in "Big Cherry Holler." You can find all four titles in Adriana Trigiani's saga of Ave Maria, as well as many other of her novels, at the Cape Girardeau Public Library.

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