Gap Creek

by Robert Morgan

Book list Whatever trials Job suffered were nothing compared to the tribulations that befall Julie Harmon Richards. Following the deaths of her younger brother and father, 17-year-old Julie takes one look at 18-year-old Hank Richards and falls in love. Following their marriage a month later, the two move from their North Carolina homes to Gap Creek, South Carolina, where Hank works at a cotton mill and Julie cooks and cleans for a Mr. Pendergast in exchange for room and board. Pendergast is fatally injured trying to rescue his hidden savings during a devastating fire, and Julie, now pregnant, gives all of Pendergast's money to a man who tells her he is the lawyer for the bank that holds the mortgage on the house. Gap Creek floods and the house is ruined. Julie's baby lives only for a few months. Finally, Pendergast's heirs show up, so Hank and Julie, now pregnant again, leave Gap Creek for an uncertain future. Although Morgan, author of The Truest Pleasure (1995), has written better novels, even readers numbed by the seemingly endless series of disasters will respect Julie's strength of character and wish her well. (Reviewed September 1, 1999)1565122429Nancy Pearl

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Hard work and suffering seem to be Julie Harmon's lot in life. The ablest bodied of her family and in her teens, she works like a man in the fields to support the rest. After her younger brother dies in her arms, and her father follows, little wonder that she jumps at the chance to marry handsome Hank. He hits her and proves unable to hold a job, though their lovemaking sometimes becomes a rare respite from her life's misery. A fire during a vividly described hog-rendering scene kills their landlord, throwing their future into doubt. By the eviction scene, many listeners will be rolling their eyes. Authenticity redeems the novel, along with Julie's first-person narrationDsimple, uneducated, but ringing true. Reader Jill Hill captures Julie's voice wonderfully, adding a nervous little giggle that endears. She sometimes stops between sentences, though, slowing the narrative flow. Morgan's novel was Oprah Winfrey's January 2000 selection, so patrons will want this title.DJohn Hiett, Iowa City P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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