Big Stone Gap

Big Stone Gap

A Novel

Book - 2000
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Random House, Inc.

It's 1978, and Ave Maria Mulligan is the thirty-five-year-old self-proclaimed spinster of Big Stone Gap, a sleepy hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She's also the local pharmacist, the co-captain of the Rescue Squad, and the director of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, the town's long-running Outdoor Drama. Ave Maria is content with her life of doing errands and negotiating small details-until she discovers a skeleton in her family's formerly tidy closet that completely unravels her quiet, conventional life. Suddenly, she finds herself juggling two marriage proposals, conducting a no-holds-barred family feud, planning a life-changing journey to the Old Country, and helping her best friend, the high-school band director, design a halftime show to dazzle Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed Hollywood movie star who's coming through town on a campaign stump with her husband, senatorial candidate John Warner.

Filled with big-time eccentrics and small-town shenanigans, Big Stone Gap is a jewel box of original characters, including sexpot Bookmobile librarian Iva Lou Wade; Fleeta Mullins, the chain-smoking pharmacy cashier with a penchant for professional wrestling; the dashing visionary Theodore Tipton; Elmo Gaspar, the snake-handling preacher; Jack MacChesney, a coal-mining bachelor looking for true love; and Pearl Grimes, a shy mountain girl on the verge of a miraculous transformation.

Comic and compassionate, Big Stone Gap is is the story of a woman who thinks life has passed her by, only to learn that the best is yet to come.

Baker & Taylor
Town pharmacist and local spinster Ave Maria has been keeping the secrets of Stone Gap for a long time, but now a skeleton is about to tumble from her own family closet

& Taylor

Town pharmacist and local spinster Ave Maria has been keeping the secrets of Stone Gap for a long time, but now a skeleton is about to tumble from her own family closet. A first novel. 150,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c2000
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375504037
Branch Call Number: F TRI
Characteristics: 272 p. ; 25 cm


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esmom1 Jul 16, 2019

I love this tetralogy! I fell in love with these characters after the first reading and have read it many times over. The characters are zany and wholesome; it most definitely is a feel good book! All of them are great, easy reads that you will want to share with your friends and family!

IndyPL_SteveB Mar 23, 2019

A great novel for women (and for men willing to try a little harder to understand women). First of a popular series. There is a lot of comedy and romance and deep emotion, combined with true insight on what makes a family fit together.

Ave Maria Mulligan has lived in Big Stone Gap, Virginia all her life, but still feels like an outsider – because her mother was an outsider. Her mother Fiametta was from Italy but married her very non-Italian father when she came to America. Her father died several years ago and her mother has just died. Ave Maria runs her father’s old pharmacy, is the head of the local rescue squad, and is the director of the local summer play which celebrates the history of the area. But she is 35 years old, unmarried, and restless. A letter from her mother, left with the attorney handling the estate, throws her life into confusion and overturns everything she thought she was.

Big Stone Gap is a real town, where Adriana Trigiani grew up. This novel has a place and characters so real you feel like you grew up there, too. You feel you could move there and know just where to go for the best views and the best food. Ave Maria’s best friends are the brilliant high school band director and the sexy, life-and-man-enjoying bookmobile librarian. But every maintenance man and clothing salesman and car repairman and secretary comes alive as Trigiani describes them.

Dec 09, 2017

I think I liked it most because of the reader in the audio version. The story was a bit silly and predictable but it was a good commuting book and I'll likely check out the rest of the series.

Jul 20, 2016

this was ok - some parts were very engaging, and others not so much.

Jan 28, 2016

Well done. There is a certain mysticism relating to Appalachia. I guess I am subject to this romanticized folklore. Enjoyable -

Dec 18, 2014

Big Stone Gap is one of those novels that makes you feel like you actually live in the blue mountains of Virginia and all of the residents are your friends and family. Humor, romance, family secrets and even a visit from Elizabeth Taylor (based on a real life visit to Big Stone Gap where she choked on a chicken bone while campaigning with then husband John Warner) make this novel a memorable one. This is the first in a series of 4 books - I highly recommend it!

Jun 14, 2012

This is such a sweet enjoyable read, chalk full of great humour and wonderfully eccentric characters. The main one, Ave Maria Mulligan is okay but I prefer the supporting cast. Her best friend Iva Lou, a bookmobile driver & God's gift to men for one. Another is Fleeta, the chain-smoking pharmacy cashier who loves pro wrestling, such a hoot. The author’s choice of locale adds the perfect ambiance.

deborah2252 May 20, 2012

Quite lively, but predictable plot. Why is it listed as "teen" category book. Ms. Trigiani is wearing entirely too much lipstick in her author photo.

prkmbc Sep 10, 2011

May 2006

lilmisslibrary Jul 16, 2009

This is a really good series of books - they deal with life and love - and are just a good cozy read.


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