Home to Big Stone Gap
The delightful Blue Ridge Mountain town of Big Stone Gap, Va., once again comes to life through the voice of Ave Maria MacChesney in Trigiani's fourth entry in the series. Ave has just returned from an emotional trip to daughter Etta's wedding in Italy with her husband, Jack. As Ave learns to juggle empty-nest freedoms with the ache of loss, Jack's sudden health problems send Ave into a quiet panic. She struggles to be supportive while imagining the worst. Her fears allayed, she ends up directing the town's annual winter musical, a production of The Sound of Music that would send the Von Trapp family heading for the hills. Adding to the mix, Ave's close buddy, Iva Lou, becomes distant when a long-held secret surfaces, threatening their friendship. Thankfully, Theodore Tipton, the town "rock star," returns from New York City for a holiday visit. Memorable characters and smalltown magic (including recipes) continue to have appeal, but unwanted pregnancies, mountain strip-mining, the rearing up of old griefs and a trip to Scotland (given short shrift) have a kitchen-sink feel.