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book review blogs
This month I'm reviewing Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani. This book is the fourth in a series of books, Big Stone Gap, Big Cherry Holler, and Milk Glass Moon that I read--and truly enjoyed--several years ago. On a quick mission in the library, I noticed Home to Big Stone Gap--I love, love, love the cover, by the way--and simply had to pick it up.
Although she doesn't write the type of books I typically read (my tastes run mostly to Victorian-era mysteries, humorous women's fiction, and romantic comedy), I am drawn to Ms. Trigiani's writing. These books are like mini-sagas, and include all of life's little joys and tragedies. Personally, I don't much care to read about tragedies, and certainly not dramas, but Ms. Trigiani writes them with such simple honesty that they appeal even to my sheltered literary requirements.
While it is not necessary to read the other Big Stone Gap books to enjoy this one, I recommend all of them. There are hints and subtle flashbacks to the previous books, and they work as subtle teasers to encourage you to read all that you've missed. The main character, Ave Maria MacChesney is an Italian-American, living in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and the book (set in 1998) chronicles this next chapter in her life now that her teenage daughter (eighteen) has gotten married and moved a world away, to Italy.
Her husband is having heart problems, her best friend has been keeping a BIG secret, and her whole life may be about to change. But she's also directing a community theater production of The Sound of Music, planning a trip to Scotland, and dealing with the quirks of everyday life in a rural mountain town.
There are characters aplenty in this book, and all of them are characters in the true sense of the word--kookiness abounds, on nearly every page, and right beside it are some impressive insights on life, love, and self-awareness. The writing is easy to read and feels, at times, almost like a diary, and at others, as if you are sitting at the local cafe, overhearing these conversations first-hand. The imagery is often wonderful. I'd even go so far as to add Big Stone Gap to the list of places I'd like to visit, inspired by books I've read.
This is a cozy book to curl up with, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for medium weight women's fiction.