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Home to Big Stone Gap    by Adriana Trigiani order for
Home to Big Stone Gap
by Adriana Trigiani
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2006)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Ave Maria Mulligan MacChesney still lives in Big Stone Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I am drawn to Adriana Trigiani's books about this area for two reasons. I'm familiar with that part of Virginia and enjoy traveling there by way of the written word. Also, her novels are darn good reading.

Ave Maria has still not come to grips with the death of her four year-old son Joe, who died of leukemia over a dozen years before. The added loss of her mother simply compounds her determination to cling to her daughter Etta and her husband Mac. She is devastated when Etta marries an Italian and moves to Italy. Grudgingly realizing she must move on, Ave Maria accepts the role of director for the community's production of Sound of Music. That should keep her busy. Christmas is approaching and she invites her old and dear friend Theodore to Big Stone Gap to bridge the gap left by Etta's marriage.

This is a simple story of everyday people who live their lives quietly in their beloved mountains. However, like a deeply running mountain stream, life lessons must be acknowledged. The most precious of these, Ave Maria learns, is how to let go. By acquiescing to Etta's wishes to marry and live far away from home, she loses her cold demeanor and acquires a softer, easier to communicate with persona. Her loving husband helps her to look forward and enjoy what she has rather than to mire herself in what she has lost - or might lose - and cannot replace. When Mac's health is threatened, she can hardly breathe with worry about losing him. And when she and her best friend Iva Lou have a falling out, Ave Maria learns that all is rarely as it seems.

Adriana Trigiani gives advice - in the gentlest of words, without preaching - for all of us to live by, easily and with great rewards. She looks at life with all its glories, and imparts her wisdom and joy of living to her legion of readers.

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