Book Review: Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

Gap CreekGap Creek by Robert Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First of all, to call this incredible novel "chick lit" is insulting. It should not be placed in that category.

I can't express adequately the deep feeling this book engendered in me. I have never loved a character in a book the way I love Julie. Mr. Morgan is so good at bringing life from words. His novels are pieces of poetry. The story is a life of hard work and tragedy, with small bursts of joy. This is one of those books that I never wanted to end. I kept wanting more and more for Julie and was so frustrated with the hard times she faced, and the people who were treating her badly. My stomach was in knots over some of the situations.

The way Robert Morgan writes his characters, you really feel like you know the person. How a man can speak so eloquently in the voice of a woman is amazing. Julie Harmon is a 17 year old girl living in Appalachia near the turn of the 19th century. She has already suffered tragedy in her young life when she falls in love with Hank. Julie is described as a hard worker (works as hard "as a man"), who think she is plain, and has some resentfulness towards all the work she is forced to do to keep the family going. Hank is a wonderment to Julie, and after they marry, she goes with him to live in a house in Gap Creek. The novel progresses through their young lives, and we see how Julie is much more strong and resourceful than her young husband. At one point Julie says, "Human life don't mean a thing in this world...People could be born and they could suffer, and they could die, and it didn't mean a thing.... The world was exactly like it had been and would always be, going on about its business." She has an innate dignity that isn't ruined by all the hardship she withstands. A few of the characters that Julie deals with are, Mr. Pendergast, the old curmudgeon the couple lives with when they move to Gap Creek, Hank's crabby old mother, Julie's mother, and assorted others, both kind and wicked.

Just a great work of fiction.

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