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Home to Big Stone Gap: A Novel Hardcover – October 31, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400060087
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400060085
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (546 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia is Big Stone Gap, the bucolic backdrop for Trigiani's popular series. In this fourth entry, Ave Maria Mulligan MacChesney and her husband, Jack, must come to terms with the absence of daughter Etta, newly married and living in Italy. (The country holds a special place in Ave Maria's heart: her biological father, Mario, whom she learned of and met only after her mother's death, is Italian.) Ave Maria has plenty to keep her mind off missing her only child (the MacChesney's son, Joe, died of leukemia at age four). She's a full-time pharmacist and the newly appointed director of the town's annual musical. Then comes news that her longtime friend, glamorous librarian Iva Lou, has been keeping a startling secret for nearly 20 years. Other developments, including a health scare for Jack and a Christmas visit from a colorful former resident, move the plot along briskly. With her original cast of characters, playwright and television writer Trigiani blends playfulness and pathos in this evocative portrait of a small southern town. Fans of the Big Stone Gap series can look forward to a feature film; Trigiani has written the screenplay and is slated to direct. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Great story, Great characters.
Amazon Customer
While not exactly standard the plot isn't a font of originality The first half of the book doesn't seem quite sure where it is going, much like the main character.
Amazon Customer
You will get captured by page 10, you will not want to put the book down!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Dianna Setterfield on May 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If Jan Karon, Billie Letts and Fannie Flagg could be made into one person, they would create Adriana Trigiani. All the essentials are present: Jan Karon's quaint community charm, Billie Letts's honest and triumphant storylines, and Fannie Flagg's quirky and one-of-a-kind characters. A lively mix, to say the least....
According to the Chinese art of face-reading, something extraordinary is supposed to happen in the 35th year of Ava Maria Mulligan's life. Well, it's been 35 years -- and Ava Maria is getting impatient! Being the town spinster, town pharmacist, and all-around good gal just isn't good enough anymore. Even though Ava Maria tries to convince herself that she likes being alone and predictable, fate has another scenario in mind. With the discovery of a very big family secret, the entire world and life as Ava Maria has come to know and depend on is turned upside down. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing...
Plenty of surprising things and supressed feelings come to the surface during the course of Ava Maria's 35th year, which makes it one that will never be forgotten. Readers will fall in love with the town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia and all it's wonderful residents: Sexy bookmobile driver and jewelry peddler Iva Lou Wade, who has sampled many of the town's male appetizers; Theodore Tipton, director of the high school band and Ava Maria's very best friend; Jack MacChesney, the big, burly coal-miner who lives with his momma out in the holler; and Pearl Grimes, a 15-year-old mediocre mountain girl with potential that's just starting to crack the surface. Readers will see themselves in one or many of these characters, which makes this novel so appealing. A must read for Southern fiction fans and those who enjoy down-home humor and characters with heart.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was born and raised in Big Stone Gap, and this book captures the essence of life in that town. As I read the book, I could smell the mountain air, hear the bookmobile coming around the street corner at the Post Office, and See the town merchants placing their wares on the sidewalks. What memories it brings back! The characters are real, the talk is true, and the honor and chivalry depicted in the book are still a part of that town. If you want a romantic novel that makes you yearn for the traditional values of yester year, this is the one to read. Big Stone Gap is real, refreshing, and a wonderful read to get lost in!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Janis Dibart on April 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book--the characters became your friends and neighbors. Ms Trigiani has created a wonderful character in Ave Maria Mulligan--one that I hope will reappear in subsequent novels. Ave Maria may be an oddity in the little town of Big Stone Gap but she shares the hopes and disappointments of all women. She comes from a warm and loving mother and a father who could not show emotion though later in the story we find out that Fred Mulligan was a very good man--he left his business and his home to Ave's mom thus insuring that they would be passed on to her. Surprises and twists abound and true love wins the day in this great "chick" book. Ms Triagiani can create characters and give them such life you take them home with you--I shall miss Jack Mac Theodore Iva Lou and Pearl. Rita Mae Brown has a definite rival for best Virginia storyteller.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Nancy R. Katz VINE VOICE on July 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Quite often, opening lines of a book may beckon to a reader and hold onto them for the duration of the book. As an avid reader I couldn't help but feel this way when I read the following opening lines from Big Stone Gap by Adiana Trigiani, "This weekend will be a good weekend for reading." And I felt my fingers skipping to turn the pages and begin reading more of this book. Now that I've finished the novel by Ms. Trigiani , I too must add my kudos along with the many other readers who have also recommended and enjoyed this title. Like the authors Fannie Flagg and Rebecca Wells, Ms. Trigiani has assembled a cast of Southern characters who are homespun, fun loving and just quirky enough to appeal to reading audiences everywhere.
Ave Marie Mulligan at 35 is an unmarried pharmacist in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. The product of an Italian mother and Scotch Irish father, who died some years before has come to accept her father's cruelty when she was younger. She also has come to accept that her life most likely will never change either. Running the local pharmacy, which she inherited, making deliveries to the hollers, working with the ambulance squad and directing the Outdoor Drama musical every summer fill her days and years. But when Ava reads a letter from her recently deceased mother, she is left with some revelations and unsettling questions. Now Ava must find out the answers and we as readers fully realize that Ava's life will never be the same again.
Ms. Trigiani offers her readers a delightful book which will surely be read and reread by her many fans. And the best part is that once you finished reading Big Stone Gap you can return to the area and people once again by reading the second book in this trilogy, Big Cherry Holler, and the recently published third and last book, Milk Glass Moon. Take it from me, spending time with Ave Marie Mulligan with her friends in Big Stone Gap is a perfect way to spend any weekend.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Corinne H. Smith VINE VOICE on November 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Most of us last spent time with the MacChesneys four years ago, when "Milk Glass Moon' was released. "Home to Big Stone Gap" gives us a chance to catch up with our old friends in southwestern Virginia. Now that her daughter Etta is married and living in Italy, Ave Maria experiences all manner of mid-life empty-nest worries: about health, about mortality, about marriage, about family, about friends. At the same time that she thinks she's lost her daughter, a dear friend discovers hers. And who knew that Jack Mac dreamed of visiting Scotland? This is another satisfying read from Ms. Trigiani, one that's sure to provoke readers into reconsidering some of their own views of Life. Though it can be read as a stand-alone title, those new to the series may want to go back and read the first three: "Big Stone Gap," "Big Cherry Holler," and "Milk Glass Moon." Then they will know "the rest of the story."
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More About the Author

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for her hilarious and heartwarming novels. Adriana was raised in a small coal-mining town in southwest Virginia in a big Italian family. She chose her hometown for the setting and title of her debut novel, the critically acclaimed bestseller Big Stone Gap. The heartwarming story continues in the novel's sequels Big Cherry Holler, Milk Glass Moon, and Home to Big Stone Gap. Stand-alone novels Lucia, Lucia; The Queen of the Big Time; and Rococo, all topped the bestseller lists, as did Trigiani's 2009 Very Valentine and its 2010 sequel Brava, Valentine.

Trigiani teamed up with her family for Cooking with My Sisters, a cookbook coauthored by her sister Mary, with contributions from their sisters and mother. The cookbook-memoir features recipes and stories dating back a hundred years from both sides of their Italian-American family.

Adriana's novels have been translated and sold in more than 35 countries around the world. Trigiani's latest blockbuster Brava, Valentine (Very Valentine's sequel) debuted at number seven on the New York Times bestseller list following its February 2010 debut. Valentine Roncalli juggles her long-distance romance, as she works to better the family's struggling business. A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Val from the winding streets of Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires, where she finds a long-buried secret hidden deep within a family scandal.

Trigiani's first young adult novel, Viola in Reel Life--the first in a series--debuted in September 2009. Fans fell in love with fourteen-year-old filmmaker Viola Chesterton, who moves from Brooklyn to a South Bend, Indiana, boarding school. In Spring 2011, readers will delight in Trigiani's follow-up novel Viola in the Spotlight, as Viola and friends spend an adventure-filled summer vacation in Brooklyn.

Readers will take a peek into the lives of the women who shaped Adriana, with her November 2010 nonfiction debut: Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from my Grandmothers. The book makes a lovely gift for family (or yourself!), as Trigiani shares a treasure trove of insight and guidance from her two grandmothers: time-tested common sense advice on the most important aspects of a woman's life, from childhood to old age.

Fans everywhere will soon see Adriana's work on the big and small screens! She wrote the screenplay for and will direct the big screen version of her novel Big Stone Gap. Adriana has also written the film adaptations of Lucia, Lucia and Very Valentine--which will be made into a Lifetime Original Movie in 2011!

Critics from the Washington Post to the New York Times to People have described Adriana's novels as "tiramisu for the soul," "sophisticated and wise," and "dazzling." They agree that "her characters are so lively they bounce off the page," and that "...her novels are full bodied and elegantly written."

Trigiani's novels have been chosen for the USA Today Book Club, the Target Bookmarked series, and she's now officially a regular with Barnes & Noble Book Clubs, where she has conducted three online book clubs. Adriana speaks to book clubs from her home three to four nights a week.

Her books are so popular around the world that Lucia, Lucia was selected as the best read of 2004 in England by Richard and Judy.

After graduating from Saint Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana, Adriana moved to New York City to become a playwright. She founded the all-female comedy troupe "The Outcasts," which performed on the cabaret circuit for seven years. She made her off-Broadway debut at the Manhattan Theatre Club and was produced in regional theatres of note around the country.

Among her many television credits, Adriana was a writer/producer on The Cosby Show, A Different World, and executive producer/head writer for City Kids for Jim Henson Productions. Her Lifetime television special, Growing Up Funny, garnered an Emmy Award nomination for Lily Tomlin. In 1996, she wrote and directed the documentary film Queens of the Big Time. It won the Audience Award at the Hamptons Film Festival and toured the international film festival circuit from Hong Kong to London.

Adriana then wrote a screenplay called Big Stone Gap, which became the novel that began the series. Adriana spent a year and a half waking up at three in the morning to write the novel before going into work on a television show.

Adriana is married to Tim Stephenson, the Emmy Award-winning lighting designer of The Late Show with David Letterman. They live in Greenwich Village with their daughter, Lucia.

Perhaps one popular book critic said it best: "Trigiani defies categorization. She is more than a one-hit wonder, more than a Southern writer, more than a woman's novelist. She is an amazing young talent

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