Big Cherry Holler, the extraordinary sequel to Big Stone Gap, takes us back to the mountain life that enchanted us in Adriana Trigiani's best-selling debut novel.
It's been eight years since the town pharmacist and long-time spinster Ave Maria Mulligan married coal miner Jack MacChesney. With her newfound belief in love and its possibilities, Ave Maria makes a life for herself and her growing family, hoping that her fearless leap into commitment will make happiness stay. What she didn't count on was that fate, life, and the ghosts of the past would come to haunt her and, eventually, test the love she has for her husband. The mountain walls that have protected her all of her life cannot spare Ave Maria the life lessons she must learn.
Big Cherry Holler is the story of a marriage, revealing the deep secrets, the power struggle, the betrayal and the unmet expectations that exist between husband and wife. It is the story of a community that must reinvent itself as it comes to grips with the decline of the coal mining industry. It is the story of an extended family, the people of Big Stone Gap, who are there for one another especially when times are tough - including bookmobile librarian and sexpert Iva Lou Wade Makin, savvy businesswoman Pearl Grimes, crusty cashier Fleeta Mullins, and Rescue Squad captain Spec Broadwater, who faces the complications of his double life. Ave Maria's best friend Theodore Tipton, now band director at the University of Tennessee, continues to be her chief counselor and conscience as he reaches the pinnacle of marching band success.
When Ave Maria takes her daughter to Italy for the summer, she meets a handsome stranger who offers her a life beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ave Maria is forced to confront what is truly important: to her, to her marriage, and to her family. Brimming with humor, wisdom, honesty, and the drama and local color of mountain life from Virginia to Italy, Big Cherry Holler is a deeply felt, brilliantly evoked story of two lovers who have lost their way and their struggle to find each other again.
©2002 Adriana Trigiani (P)2012 Random House Audio
"Charming.... Readers would do well to fall into the nearest easy chair and savor the story." (USA Today)
"Delightfully quirky...chock-full of engaging, oddball characters and unexpected plot twists, this Gap is meant to be crossed." (People )
"As comforting as a mug of chamomile tea on a rainy Sunday." (New York Times Book Review)
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
This is the second of the Big Stone Gap stories. Ava Maria and Jack have been married about ten years and have the sweetest little girl, Etta. Their marriage is facing "growing pains" . . . they've lost their precious four year old son, Joe to leukemia three years earlier, and grief does horrible things to people. When the coal mines close, Jack loses his sense of identity and Ava Maria doesn't help things by having no clue as to how men tick. In my opinion, neither Jack nor Ava Maria help the situation much . . . both retreating to their own corners and flirting with disaster . . . as humans sometimes do . . . I could have done with a little more depth and wisdom at that point . . . but all and all, I love the characters in this series. The narration is perfect, and by the author. I'm listening to next book already, Milk Glass Moon.
Wow, this was so real and so true to married life. We could all learn a few lessons from this story. But honestly, all her books have messages and they're so true that they touch you deep down inside your soul. Adriana has a way of really getting deep inside someone and creating all of these feelings and emotions. Her journeys are more emotional and not full of action and predictable problems. I always find myself crying through the majority of every book.
In every one of her books, she paints pictures so vivid and realistic that the pictures stick with you. This story was about the loss of a child and it's affect on marriage. A marriage that necessarily wasn't strong to begin with. Add in a husband stealing woman and a handsome mysterious man in a foreign country and that could spell more disaster for their marriage.
I found myself wondering throughout the whole book how they'd make it and if they'd make it. I think it ended the way it should have and some of those lines ... "I didn't choose you. You chose me. But now I choose you!" Something like that, but it had a huge impact on the resolution. There was a lot of soul searching and it made me look into my life. I just couldn't help it. The story was so relatable because it could happen to any married couple.
Another great book by Adriana Trigiani.
The second book finds Ave Maria MacChesney married to Jack. They’ve been married about ten years. They have a daughter, Etta, about eight years of age, and they lost a son, Joe, four years ago. He died suddenly and quickly of leukemia, and Ave can’t get over the grief. She and Jack can’t talk about it, so the feelings are just there in the background. In the meantime, the coal mine closed and Jack no longer has a job. He feels Ave isn’t supporting him because her immediate response is to take on more work at the pharmacy, as if he isn’t capable of providing for the family. Then he and a couple of friends start a construction business, but at the same time, Ave is offered a partnership by Pearl in the pharmacy because Pearl wants to open another store. And, to top it off, the dealer Jack and his friends are buying lumber from is a woman, and Ave sees signs of interest between this woman and Jack. Ave attempts to deal with this problem by being as nice as she can be, but finally Jack suggests that she go off to Italy with Etta for a month so they can have time to think apart. Ave goes to Italy, has a wonderful time, and has the opportunity, if she wants it, to have a fling of her own. Ultimately, she and Jack come together to save their marriage. A wonderful book with all the same characters and more of Ave’s family history in Italy. No one could read this book better than the author herself. I can’t imagine these books read by anyone else. It’s just like sitting in the kitchen over a cup of coffee with Ave gossiping. There’s one more book in this series. This was Trigiani’s first set of books, and she has enjoyed after all this years reading them aloud, as she says in an interview at the end of the book.
No. Too many other books to read. But I did enjoy it.
Read Big Stone Gap and it was fun to have a continuance.
Italy and her temptations and feelings unraveled.
A good listen.
Honest, funny and redeeming
Iva Lou a true friend
She reads with inflections that I wouldn't get reading it myself - which adds
to the real feeling behind the characters
I laughed through out the entire book!!!! I got choked up when Jack
and Ave renewed their love
Can't wait for book three!
I have listened to a lot of audiobooks, I have completely enjoyed most. But this one drew me in and I couldn't wait to start the next book.
All of the characters have their way of charming me. My favorite? The combination of all of them just makes me smile.
The characters - taking you through day-to-day life with people I am growing to admire.
I actually bought the audio book - not read by Adriana - and, I had to buy another one with her reading. She makes the difference for me. I know there are reviews about her accent or being slow, but I feel her voice & her passion. Love her!
All of these books make me laugh and smile often. I love Iva Lou, Freeta, and Pearl! I love the stories of these women - the strength and beauty of friendship and commitment to marriage. Life is not easy and I love hearing how these women are there for each other and I love that Adriana shows a woman and a man dealing with pain and finding love, again, and again. There is actually so much I love about this book series - I hope you do, too.
I loved this book even better than the first one and can't wait to continue the series. This book doesn't sugarcoat love and marriage, rather it reminds you that relationships take work (sometimes a lot) in order to last. It actually made me look at my own marriage and ask myself if I was doing enough, if he was doing enough, and what we could do better in hopes of having the strongest relationship possible. The story shows that we're all human, capable of mistakes, and deserving of love and forgiveness. It's not just about their marriage, but events that happened with everyone in the town kept my interest going from start to finish. I can't wait to read the next one!
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