Gap Creek is the book that I finished reading while sitting in the waiting room of St. Vincent's hospital a couple of days ago.
In January, 2000, Oprah named Gap Creek her book club selection. I picked up Gap Creek at *Half-Price in Indianapolis for $1. Amazon carries copies for half of that. I have become a Half-Price book snob, as I head for the clearance section and rarely venture beyond.
It may be helpful to know that Gap Creek follows The Truest Pleasure. I did not know that, so now I will read them backwards. No bother. I studied Brit Lit II before Brit Lit I and that didn't do any damage.
As the title states, Gap Creek is the story of a marriage. Personally, I was prepared for a sappy love story, but that isn't the case at all. Robert Morgan who grew up in North Carolina, near the Blue Ridge Mountains, writes what he knows. Seventeen year old Julie Harmon lives in the Appalachian Mountains. She grew up on the mountain and until she marries Hank Richards, she had never ventured off of the mountain. Julie and Hank move to Gap Creek where Hank is employed. Hank and Julie marry rather quickly with stars in their eyes, but are shocked into reality in a short amount of time. Life in the Appalachian Mountains is hard. Julie had grown up working, working like a man. She could split wood and slaughter hogs and about anything that needs to be done. She works, in her opinion, out of necessity. The work is there, it needs to be done, there is no one else to do it, so she does.
Robert Morgan writes with great, colorful descriptions. He describes the first time that Hank and Julie have sex, childbirth, a flood and an ice-storm vividly using colors to express what the characters experience.
When Hank and Julie marry, Hank is immature and selfish. It is amazing how quickly he matures as he and Julie process all of the travails that is poured upon them. This book is about marriage, and it is about life. This story captures how life goes on and there isn't anything that any of us can do to stop it. We are swept up and survive. Some of us fight harder than others, but we work our way through.
Morgan has written prolifically, see his website for a complete listing of his publications. When I choose a book randomly, I have to admit the first thing that grabs me is the cover (I know..."don't judge a book by it's cover"). Then I will read the back, the description of the story, the comments and then I open the book and begin to read the first paragraph or so. A truly good book will "grab you" immediately. Gap Creek did that for me. Another book that I chose at Half-Price was "Hinterlands," also by Morgan. I didn't realize that until I looked at his web page. Now, I'm looking forward to reading that. And, the book that precedes Gap Creek, The Truest Pleasure.
*no endorsement for Half-Price books, it is a place I frequent as often as possible, in my opinion, a little bit of heaven.