very once in a great while, a book comes along that you absolutely adore. You devour every word and are terribly misty-eyed when it ends. Then, miracle of miracles, the author decides to pen a sequel to that brilliant book and you're again enraptured. Big Cherry Holler is the follow-up to Big Stone Gap, Adriana Trigiani's best-selling debut novel. In the sequel, Trigiani takes her readers back to the small town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, where we catch up on the lives of those quirky and fascinating townfolk who so intrigued us before.
In the eight years since town pharmacist Ave Maria Mulligan married her true love, coal miner Jack MacChesney, the couple has had a daughter, Etta, and a son, Joe, who died at the tender age of four. They have settled into the comfortable routine of family life. But even with her joy at being a mother and wife, Ave Maria begins to feel something is missing in her life. She and Jack Mac are just not as happy as she thinks they should be, and bit by bit she feels him slipping away. As things begin to fall apart, Ave Maria takes her daughter to Italy to spend the summer with relatives. While there, she meets a handsome stranger who offers her an eye-opening look at life beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains. Stunned at her reawakened feelings of passion, Ave Maria is forced to define what is truly important to her her marriage, her family and her home.
This time around, Trigiani tells the heart-wrenching story of a marriage with all its deep dark secrets, struggles for equality and whispers of unfulfilled expectations that often exist between husband and wife. She also tells the story of a community that must reinvent itself as it comes to grips with the closing of the coal mine that has always provided employment for the town. Big Cherry Holler is an intricate tale of two people who have temporarily forgotten the reasons they came to love each other in the first place, and their journey to find that spark again. Readers will find a little bit of everything in this heart-warming novel humor, romance, wisdom and drama are all represented in the beautiful mountain settings of Virginia and Italy. Trigiani has created another keeper.
Sharon Galligar Chance is a book reviewer in Wichita Falls, Texas.