Simon and Schuster, 326 pages.

There’s something special about this book that made me read it once again. I first read it when I was 18 years old and now almost 10 years later, I am still mesmerized the second time around.

Set in the Appalachian high country towards the end of the 19th century, 17 year old Julie Harmon is facing hard truths of life–hard toil, death, and poverty. She marries Hank Richards and they move to start their married life at Gap Creek.

But things do not get remotely better in Gap Creek, as one tragedy after another strike the newlyweds.

On a plain birds eye point of view, this whole novel may be wrongly tagged as dark, depressing and morbid.  But the overall feeling that it leaves in the end is eternal hope.  You wouldn’t think that raw and simple words would successfully bring out Julie’s admirable character.

Gap Creek: The Story of a Marriage.  Admirable. Is a perfect word to describe this novel.

A future classic must read for everybody.

Author Robert Morgan is a professor of English at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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