From Publishers Weekly
Morgan follows up his bestselling Gap Creek with another tale of the Carolina wilderness in the 1920s. Muir Powell is three years younger than his brother, Moody, but the two are light years apart in temperament and attitude. Muir is his widowed mother Ginny's clear favorite, a position he earns by being unselfishly supportive of the family's needs. A callow youth who dreams of building, he tries his hand at preaching, trapping and a variety of other occupations, only to fail miserably and return home in frustrated disgrace every time. Moody, who's wild and undisciplined, hardly works at all and spends his time in the company of bootleggers and prostitutes. Jealous of Muir's favored position in the household, he derides his younger brother's efforts to find his way and support the family. Told in a gentle, flowing prose that shifts unevenly between Muir's and Ginny's points of view, the novel maps out life in a remote, tradition-bound region. Underscoring all is the family's fundamentalist religion and their devotion to old-fashioned family values. Muir's capricious decision to build a church on the family land forces matters to a crisis that tests the family's faith and commitment to one another, and in the final chapters, Muir's discovery of his true calling sustains and validates their belief in the strength of love and the ties that bind. Although the novel suffers from overdetailing, episodic pacing and seemingly pointless anecdotal tangents that leave many loose ends dangling in the mountain breeze, it's an entirely pleasant read and a testimony to the power of faith and integrity in the face of life's severest hardships. (Sept. 28)Forecast: It's unlikely that sales of Morgan's latest will match Gap Creek totals Gap Creek was an Oprah selection and an international bestseller but This Rock is in much the same vein, so new and old fans should be satisfied.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Morgan here continues the story of the Powell family, begun in The Truest Pleasure (LJ 8/95) and continuing with the best-selling Gap Creek (LJ 9/1/99), an Oprah selection. Some 20 years after the events in Gap Creek, Muir and his ornery older brother, Moody, struggle with each other; with their widowed mother, Ginny; and with the rural Southern community where they live. Muir, not yet 20, is on a quest to find his life's work: does he have a true calling as a preacher? Ultimately, through the catalysts of two seemingly unrelated deaths, he conceives of a project that in turn reveals his life's true purpose. Though Morgan still pursues his favorite theme, the redeeming power of work, his new book is both more ambitious and more uneven than Gap Creek. Not a lightweight Bildungsroman, this novel instead illuminates the painful movement from boy to man. As such, it might not satisfy earlier Morgan readers, but libraries will definitely want this. Rebecca Sturm Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.