Published: January 9, 2002
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Recommended if you've read Big Stone Gap and Big Cherry Holler
Milk Glass Moon, the third book in Adriana Trigiani's bestselling Big Stone Gap series, continues the life story of Ave Maria Mulligan MacChesney as she faces the challenges and changes of motherhood with her trademark humor and honesty. With twists as plentiful as those found on the holler roads of southwest Virginia, this story takes turns that will surprise and enthrall the reader.
Transporting us from Ave Maria's home in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Italian Alps, from New York City to the Tuscan countryside, Milk Glass Moon is the story of a shifting mother-daughter relationship, of a daughter's first love and a mother's heartbreak, of an enduring marriage that contains its own ongoing challenges, and of a community faced with seismic change.
All of Trigiani's beloved characters are back: Jack Mac, Ave Maria's true love, who is willing to gamble security for the unknown; her best friend and confidant, bandleader Theodore Tip-ton, who begins a new life in New York City; librarian and sexpert Iva Lou Wade Makin, who faces a life-or-death crisis. Meanwhile, surprises emerge in the blossoming of crusty cashier Fleeta Mullins, the maturing of mountain girl turned savvy businesswoman Pearl Grimes, and the return of Pete Rutledge, the handsome stranger who turned Ave Maria's world upside down in Big Cherry Holler.
In this rollicking hayride of upheaval and change, Ave Maria is led to places she never dreamed she would go, and to people who enter her life and rock its foundation. As Ave Maria reaches into the past to find answers to the present, readers will stay with her every step of the way, rooting for the onetime town spinster who embraced love and made a family. Milk Glass Moon is about the power of love and its abiding truth, and captures Trigiani at her most lyrical and heartfelt.
So, yeah, I gave this book 3 stars--but I feel I have to explain that rating a bit. I actually liked this book more than I enjoyed any other 3 star book, but I just didn't feel I could give it 4 stars. I gave he two books that precede this one the series (Big Stone Gap and Big Cherry Holler) 4 stars each and, despite the fact that I enjoyed this book, it just wasn't as good as the other two.
First off, this is not a stand alone book. If you haven't read the two previous books, this one will make no sense. I'm not counting that against Milk Glass Moon, but I do feel I should say that. However, for those of you who have read (and enjoyed) Big Stone Gap and Big Cherry Holler, Milk Glass Moon will feel like coming home. The characters are still as lovable and quirky as ever .... which is both good and bad.
It's great if you want something familiar. Yes, the fact remains that no one has really changed--including Ave Maria. Because of that, this book felt a bit stalled as the characters haven't really developed since the first and second books. Ave Maria is still dealing with the same feelings that she doesn't belong that she did in the first book, feelings that I felt had been (or should have been) resolved already.
This book also seemed to lack any real plot. It takes place over about 4 or 5 years and at times it really feels like Trigiani is just skipping through time. Without a strong plot to hold such a long time period together, an author has no choice but to write only on the topmost layer of things.
I guess what I'm saying here is that it was like visiting old friends who are always the same, but it wasn't a satisfying read. I'm glad I read it, but I think I could only recommend it to people who are fans of the first 2 books and want a "check in" with the characters. There is one more book in the series, which I will be reading at some point in the not-so-distant future, and I hope that Trigiani returns to storytelling with the conclusion to this series.
I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.