Published: April 3, 2001
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the tiny town of Big Stone Gap is home to some of the most charming eccentrics in the state. Ave Maria Mulligan is the town's self-proclaimed spinster, a thirty-five year old pharmacist with a "mountain girl's body and a flat behind." She lives an amiable life with good friends and lots of hobbies until the fateful day in 1978 when she suddenly discovers that she's not who she always thought she was. Before she can blink, Ave's fielding marriage proposals, fighting off greedy family members, organizing a celebration for visiting celebrities, and planning the trip of a lifetime—a trip that could change her view of the world and her own place in it forever.
This is a book that has been on my TBR list forever, but I pushed it up the queue when I found out the movie version (written and directed by Trigiani herself) would be out soon. Considering that I now have the following 3 books in the series waiting for me, you can guess that I liked this one!
Big Stone Gap is the sort of book that is a bit meatier than a "beach read" but definitely not as taxing as literary fiction. In other words, my ideal summer read.
There is a definite down-home, folksy feel to this book which appealed to me, but might not to everyone. The town of Big Stone Gap is chock full of characters, enough that I worried that I would start to get them mixed up. Luckily, Trigiani does an excellent job of developing even the secondary characters so that none of them are forgettable. I especially enjoyed the main character of Ave Maria. I could completely understand why she felt stuck in her life and her plans of leaving town made complete sense to me.
While one or two of the plot twists seemed to be a little too out of the blue for me, overall I found this a completely engrossing novel. And now I'm ready to start on Big Cherry Holler!
I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.