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The Road from Gap Creek: A Novel (Shannon Ravenel) Hardcover – August 27, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


“Once again, Robert Morgan’s true landscape is, as with all great writers, the peaks and valleys, the long and winding paths, of the human heart. What a writer, and what a novel!” ―Ron Rash, author of Nothing Gold Can Stay

“In The Road From Gap Creek [Morgan] delivers another powerhouse novel of his people, with their virtues and failings, wins and losses, loves and sorrows.” ―Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone and The Maid's Version

“Morgan pens an eloquent story of stoicism and pain, endurance and courage, ending as all life will, with death and birth. A moving, lyrical saga from a time so distant, yet so near.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Robert Morgan returns to us with a much-awaited sequel to Gap Creek and the fate of the next generation of its unforgettable characters, now facing the tolls of World War II and the changing of their pocket of America. Oprah adored the original, and in this further telling in their distinctive voices, you will see why.” ―Ivan Doig, author of The Bartender's Tale

“This novel shines with a subtle brilliance . . . Morgan has produced another stellar novel.” ―Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Robert Morgan remains the consummate storyteller . . . This book must be read for its broad, sagacious wit as well as for its power to convince us of extraordinary courage seen in ordinary life.” ―Elizabeth Cox, author of The Ragged Way People Fall Out of Love

From the Inside Flap

“This is a story I seem to remember like it was yesterday . . . The day we moved to Green River, the road from Gap Creek was froze stiff as chalk. I wasn’t even five, but I remember that morning was cold. We got up in the dark and Papa built a big fire in the fireplace, burning up the things we didn’t need. All the stuff we had would fit in that one wagon, or it had to be left behind. I thought Velmer and my older sister, Effie, and me was going to ride on the wagon too, but Papa said there wasn’t no room. We’d have to walk.”

Strong-willed Annie Richards Powell, a preacher’s wife raised by hardscrabble dirt farmers, begins her story on the worst day in her family’s life: a day that arrived years after her family’s trip—by wagon and on foot—from Gap Creek, South Carolina, to Green River, North Carolina, and into the home where she would grow up with her siblings, Effie, Velmer, and, finally, Troy, the baby and golden boy. A resilient and clear-eyed narrator, she lets us watch as one-by-one the Richards children create their own histories, which include both triumphs and terrible losses in the face of the Great Depression and then World War II and its aftermath. Through the Richards family, Morgan explores modern American history as it played out in the Blue Ridge Mountains—a region cut off from mainstream life until World War II took those mountain boys to fight in far-off lands and changed their world forever. The rough-hewn beauty of the land and its people are visible on every page of The Road from Gap Creek—a tribute to an ordinary family persevering through extraordinary times. This is Robert Morgan at his finest.

The saga of the Richards family began in Robert Morgan’s 1999 novel Gap Creek, an Oprah Book Club Selection that attracted hundreds of thousands of readers to its beguiling tale of the first year and a half of Annie’s parents’ marriage at the turn of the twentieth century. Now, in a masterful weaving of fact and fiction, Morgan introduces a new generation looking ahead to the uncertainties of the future, the struggle to define oneself, and the rediscovery of enduring love.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Shannon Ravenel
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: A Shannon Ravenel Book (August 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616201614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616201616
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Spindrift VINE VOICE on September 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Late August/early September has always been a very melancholy time for me. The heat turns oppressive instead of infused with soft breezes, a foggy haze hangs in the air, beautiful, but ominous, clouds hover low in the sky, even the light dancing through my windows takes on a diffused quality. Summer is over. I am sad. I miss beach days, my night blooming jasmine and my beautiful vacation. Reluctantly, I begin to pack away my lovingly collected seashell décor and start scouting out pumpkins and bittersweet branches. This summer's reading was laced with a plethora of psychological thrillers and one 500 page anticipated new novel by a long loved author who clearly was writing for the best-seller list this time instead of me. So, along with my end of summer malaise this year, I have suffered somewhat of a literary slump. This happens to all of us from time to time. Only a true reader's heart will connect to what I am bemoaning here...but I know that those of you that feel about books the same way as I do will relate. I have been bereft.

So, when I learned that Robert Morgan had written a sequel to his 1999 masterpiece, "Gap Creek", my heart jumped a little bit. I read it over Labor Day weekend, in addition to a last trip to the beach to watch the sunset, a farewell BBQ, and a charming Mexican lunch with my husband and children...I dove in to "The Road From Gap Creek". From the very first paragraph, I instantly felt all of my sadness magically lift, I experienced the rush of great literary exaltation that only true bibliophiles know. I was totally charmed by the heartwarming voice of, protagonist, Annie Richards, the youngest daughter of the featured newlyweds, Hank and Julie, of "Gap Creek".
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Holmes VINE VOICE on September 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
At the end of 1999's GAP CREEK, author Robert Morgan's story of a young couple's struggles in the early part of their marriage, Julie and Hank Richards hope for new opportunities after suffering family losses, dire financial reversals, and harsh living conditions. Told in first person from Julie's point of view, the story led me to admire her persistence, her developing world wisdom, and her strength. One could see by the end of the story that the couple's relationship would depend on her preserving those qualities. The novel ends in hardship but not despair, and one could not help but wonder how this young couple would turn out.

In THE ROAD FROM GAP CREEK, Morgan returns to these characters a generation later. Told from the point of view of their youngest daughter, Annie, we learn that her father Hank has become a more emotionally stable man while her mother, Julie, has turned increasingly introverted over the years. Set primarily during the Second World War, ROAD focuses on the family's loss of a beloved son, Troy, and how their character and that of their community helps to sustain them. Morgan makes this novel engaging by paralleling Annie's experience with that of her mother. That is not to say that there is a one-to-one correlation between the events in GAP CREEK and its sequel. Instead, we see young women in both novels in that transition period between being daughters and moving on to their adult relationships; they grow from seeing things as "just as they are" to having a better understanding of why people behave as they do.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Williams VINE VOICE on May 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
THE ROAD FROM GAP CREEK continues the saga of Robert Morgan's 1999 novel GAP CREEK, as seen from daughter Annie's point of view.

Annie, the youngest child of Julie and Hank Richards, is now a newlywed and still living in and near Gap Creek in the southern Appalachians. The time is the Depression and World War II. We see the events of Gap Creek and the world through Annie's eyes - birth, marriage, death, even things as seemingly ordinary as going to church every Sunday and cooking Sunday dinner . Even the Sunday dinners Annie serves impress me as a little routine, but rural life in those times was probably like that. The routine adds to the story.

Taking Annie's point of view also adds a great deal to the story. As an unreliable first-person narrator, Annie helps readers see more of what is going on in her world. Sometimes there are flashbacks, almost as if Annie is storytelling about her life, past and present - from having to deal with too-forward boys when she's a teenager to dealing with a colicky newborn as a young mother.

Many times poor grammar and punctuation take away from a story, but the style Morgan uses, heavy on Appalachian dialect and grammar quirks, adds to the story. Readers can imagine Annie and her friends more clearly because of the style; refined grammar and neutral dialect simply would not work here.

I would like to see more novels of Gap Creek; perhaps Morgan would consider a third novel from Annie's daughter Angela's point of view, telling about Gap Creek in the 1950's to 1970's.
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